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


Electric Slave: Black Joe Lewis

Rating: 90%

blackjoelewis-albumcover.jpgI was introduced to Black Joe Lewis by a friend after “Electric Slave” was released in 2013. When he gave me a copy of it and upon hearing it, I was blown away! It is funky, groovy, soulful, heavy, bluesy, R&B and I swear, I hear some early 1970’s punk/garage rock to it. This album almost has a certain stoner feel to it drench in heavy blues rock of the 1970’s.

The musicianship is very tight. The band, Black Joe Lewis on vocals and guitar is a brilliant musician and songwriter. How he bridges all of his influences together on this record is truly a work of art. The funky and groovy bass lines by Bill Stevenson is great. Drummer Eduardo Torres lays out some very good offbeats and timing signatures. These guys are backed by Jason Fry on Sax (Tenor), Derek Phelps on Trumpet and Saxist (Baritone) and Keyboardist Joseph Woullard.

Musically, this album is a mixed bag of goodies that again blends many genres and styles of music together. The sound is great. The lead guitar sounds great and so does the riffs. Some of the songs even feature a certain fuzzy tone to the guitar that isn’t heard much these days, unless you look into the new wave of psychedelic music coming from Europe. The vocals gives the listener a unique scratchy and yet clear style that make Black Joe Lewis so good, mixing Iggy Pop with John Belushi of the Blues Brothers. This album has a wonderful balance of harmony and melodies that will have you hook on Black Joe Lewis’s music from start to finish. There are no fillers on this album in my opinion. The heaviness of the music combined with the horns makes this album entertaining and makes this album good.

Track listing:

1. Skulldiggin
2. Young Girls
3. Dar Es Salaam
4. My Blood Ain’t Runnin’ Right
5. Guilty
6. Come to My Party
7. Vampire
8. Make Dat Money
9. The Hipster
10. Golem
11.  Mammas Queen