Ray Charles

Genius Loves Company

Concord Records - Hear Music CCD-2248-2

Vocals, Ray Charles; Norah Jones; James Taylor; Diana Krall; Elton John; Natalie Cole; Bonnie Raitt; Willie Nelson; Michael McDonald; BB King; Gladys Knight; Johnny Mathis; Van Morrison

The last studio album recording for Ray Charles, and he gives equal partnership status on all twelve tracks to these high-profile guests. We are treated to a variety of backing sounds; a slippery organ for Norah Jones with "Here We Go Again" and piano and strings for the excellent "You Don't Know Me" with Diana Krall. "It Was A Very Good Year" with Willie Nelson gets the full orchestra, as does Johnny Mathis on "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," whilst Gladys Knight settles for a choir in "Heaven Help Us All." "Sinner's Prayer" with BB King pumps up the guitar to whine in electronic ecstasy over thick chords and a good thumping from the percussion; great stuff! This is a nice way to move on.

by Ferdinand Maylin