Best of Ray Charles

Rating: 100%

raycharles.jpgI picked up this 1983 release “The Best of Ray Charles” on vinyl. There is good collection of songs from the many genres that Ray Charles has been known to play from Blues, Jazz, to Swing and Soul. I love hearing older music like this on my record player. To me, it sounds natural.

Anyway, he’s one of the best pianists, songwriters and performers of all time. The music he wrote was from the heart and soul. Putting out music from 1949 to the day he died. He has over 55 records and 127 singles to his name.

This record contains many of the songs from his earlier years going back to the late 1940’s and 1950’s. It’s emotional, raw and has feeling. The music is a collection of blues influences that showcase his Funk and Jazz styles to his orchestra. So, kick back, relax and just enjoy. It’s like fine wine, the older it is, the best it gets.

Track listing:

A1 Going Down Slow 2:45
A2 All Night Long 3:05
A3 I’m Givin’ Up 3:02
A4 Guitar Blues 2:32
A5 Talkin’ ‘Bout You 3:05
B1 I Found My Baby There 3:22
B2 I’m Wonderin’ & Wonderin’ 3:14
B3 By Myself 2:28
B4 Snowfall 2:51

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Electric Sandwich

Rating: 90%

R-2682333-1419760188-5671.jpeg.jpgReleased in 1972, the German Prog-Rockers, Electric Sandwich released their debut and only official record. The consisted of vocalist Jochen “Archie” Carthaus, bassist Klaus Lormann, guitarist Jorg Ohlert, and drummer Wolf Fabian.

The opening track “China” is a combination of psychedelic and space rock deeply rooted in jazz music. While “Archie’s Blues” is a very bluesy song. It’s almost as if Cream met Santana. “Nervous Creek” is the highlight on the album with it’s very strong jazzy sound. All these songs blend so many different elements of music together for a refreshing sound was needed in the early 1970’s. The blend of jazz, blues, rock and the spacey feel, helped to form one of the coolest, most improvised style of prog-rock bands of the early 1970’s. Although, today, nobody seems to recall who they were.

Musically, this album is very well structured. It consists of heavy distorted guitar riffs and tons of great leads. The guitar work itself is very complex. The scales and chords are done very well. The bass work is also very well done. Great tempos, with lots of weird offbeats. Plenty of melody which seems to go off in many directions. There is a lot of harmony to the music. The saxophone in several of the tracks adds a touch of class to the music and is not overbearing. Vocally, the band sounds decent. Shame too, that the band never got off the ground. This band could have given Rush and Yes and run for their money.

Track listing:

China 8:03
Devil’s Dream 6:15
Nervous Creek 5:00
It’s No Use To Run 4:00
I Want You 5:24
Archie’s Blues 4:40
Material Darkness 5:02

The Guitar Genius: Chet Atkins

Rating: 90%

chetatkins.jpgChet Atkins is one of those guitarists that stands the test of time. He knew how to play that guitar whether it was country to rock n’ roll. He has played with many country musicians including Jerry Reed, whom he discovered. Just like Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins seems to be a forgotten guitar legend these days. But listening to his compilation record “The Guitar Genius”, released in 1963, I can honestly say, what a brilliant guitarist. He makes it sound so easy!!! Where are the country guitarists like him these days?

The album itself includes several songs that are composed wonderfully. “Heartbreak Hotel” which is an instrumental is brilliantly done. The guitar work alone makes the entire album. “Swanee River” is another good tune. Chet uses several scales throughout this song which you normally wouldn’t hear in country music. The entire album showcases his various talents in the music genres. Lot’s of melodies and various tempos. Plenty of riffs and leads make this album great. The songs have lots of harmony between all of the instruments that help to showcase Chet’s style of playing. Vocal wise, I do not like it. Jim Atkins, Chet’s older brother is the vocalist. He is a classic 1950’s western or easy listing vocalist.

If you’re a young guitarist, then you need to listen to some of Chet’s work. It’s jazzy, bluesy, it’s progressive, but yet, it’s country, it’s pop, and it’s rock n’ roll. It’s everything thrown into the pot and it’s good. So check it out and learn some of the scales that Chet is using. You’ll be amazed!

Track listing:

A1 Heartbreak Hotel 2:24
A2 Swanee River 1:36
A3 Blackjack 2:19
A4 I’ll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time 2:06
A5 Darr’s ‘N Wind Wat Waai 2:23
B1 It’s Now Or Never 1:59
B2 Out Of Nowhere 2:56
B3 Hidden Charm 2:26
B4 Even Tho’ 3:12
B5 When Day Is Done 2:26