Ray Charles

Anthology

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Review

This is not a career retrospective per se, since it doesn't include any of Ray Charles' groundbreaking '50s RB from his tenure at Atlantic Records. It is, however, an excellent greatest-hits collection covering his years at ABC-Paramount. As always, what's most impressive is the sheer stylistic breadth of Charles' music-making. Here you have, among other goodies, a Latin-tinged blues-rocker ("Unchain My Heart"), a reinvented Tin Pan Alley standard ("Georgia on My Mind"), and an unabashed country weeper ("I Can't Stop Loving You"). There's an early RB tune written by the Motown team of Ashford Simpson ("I Don't Need No Doctor"), a soulful cover of the Beatles at their most classically tinged ("Eleanor Rigby"), and finally an all-out gospel assault on "America the Beautiful." Amazingly, it all fits together in a seamless whole. Essential listening. ~ Rovi Staff, Rovi

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