Album no. 31/1001
Ray Charles is back and this time he’s taken a leaf out of Marty Robbins’ book. Ray’s got some good old country songs to sing to us, which could go either way.
Some critics consider this Charles’ best studio album. It combined country music with soul, and helped break down racial barriers in pop music. The album was a ‘crossover hit’, selling in both R&B and country (black and white) markets. The album brought him a lot of new white listeners without any fall-out from his existing black audience, which is a hell of a feat for 1961.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I haven’t. I know a couple of the songs, but not Ray’s versions.
NK: ‘Bye Bye Love’. It’s pretty fun and upbeat sounding, despite the sorrow in the lyrics. ‘Hey Good Lookin’ is also fun. He’s got a really good voice, which you can really hear on the ballads, but I still preferred the quicker numbers. ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ is the best of the slower tracks.
CL: The only reason I recognise ‘Hey Good Lookin’ is because a SUPER country version is on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas country radio station, and for some reason my sister ALWAYS used to listen to that station when she played. Why would you pick that station out of all the others?! I don’t know. Anyway, aside from that song, this album was very boring.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: When you’re watching the sunset out over the prairie.
CL: I thought Ray Charles was meant to be pretty funky? Both this and his previous album appearing on this list have been slow moving lounge type numbers? I don’t get it. There is no best time to listen to this. So don’t.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I think it’s the blending of styles. Country songs done with Ray’s R&B, and when it was a massive hit the way was opened for other people to try different things. This sounds very mild now, it’s hard to keep in mind it was pretty far out at the time.
CL: As if this was “pretty far out”. What rubbish.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Probably not, sorry Ray. It’s fine, I just didn’t get into it that much.
CL: No. I didn’t like anything on this album. It wasn’t for me.
You can’t listen to Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music on Spotify or in iTunes, but there’s a stack of other Ray Charles albums you can listen to.