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Ray Charles possessed one of the most recognizable voices in American music. In the words of musicologist Henry Pleasants:

“Sinatra, and Bing Crosby before him, had been masters of words. Ray Charles is a master of sounds. His records disclose an extraordinary assortment of slurs, glides, turns, shrieks, wails, breaks, shouts, screams and hollers, all wonderfully controlled, disciplined by inspired musicianship, and harnessed to ingenious subtleties of harmony, dynamics and rhythm… It is either the singing of a man whose vocabulary is inadequate to express what is in his heart and mind or of one whose feelings are too intense for satisfactory verbal or conventionally melodic articulation. He can’t tell it to you. He can’t even sing it to you. He has to cry out to you, or shout to you, in tones eloquent of despair—or exaltation. The voice alone, with little assistance from the text or the notated music, conveys the message.”

Happy Fourth of July!

Alexandra Bruce

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Alexandra Bruce

Alexandra Bruce

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3 comments

  • Not being American, the lyrics sung by the great Ray Charles, did not touch me as they might many others.

    Notwithstanding the description of him by Henry Pleasants pulled the ‘strings of my heart!’.

    “It is either the singing of a man whose vocabulary is inadequate to express what is in his heart and mind or of one whose feelings are too intense for satisfactory verbal or conventionally melodic articulation. He can’t tell it to you. He can’t even sing it to you. He has to cry out to you or shout to you, in tones eloquent of despair—or exaltation. The voice alone, with little assistance from the text or the notated music, conveys the message.”

    Thank you.

    Christopher x

  • Dear Alexandra, Happy Independence Day!

    Nothing like having a blind man telling you what he sees, and feels, thank you!
    Ray was one of our greatest.
    So many have gone before us.
    Yet, do we yet see what we have had taken from us?
    Independence.

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