RAY CHARLES’ “Genius: The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection”
(Concord Records, 2009): There’s nothing new here – no lost tracks found, no unreleased alternate versions, no forgotten nuggets unearthed from deep inside the vault. Instead, you get what you came for – a 21-song collection of Ray Charles’ greatest hits spanning the years from 1955 (“I’ve Got a Woman”) to 1972 (“America the Beautiful”). It is, of course, truly magnificent, timeless music, and if your collection is lacking in Ray Charles titles, then this is a great addition. Calling him “the Genius of Soul” is too limiting. Let’s face it, like Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash and too few others, Ray Charles simply made American music.