Monday, March 14, 2016


Ray Charles-True To Life (1977)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: March 14, 2016

Truth be told, this has been a month of new beginnings for me, particularly when it comes to my music explorations. So I marched a few years back to a time before my favorite decade to immerse myself with the marvelous voice of the iconic soul legend, Ray Charles. Prior to today, it had only been the same pair of golden oldies that I'd ever given proper listen to and have remained in my mental jukebox ever since I heard them when I was a kid: "Hit The Road Jack" and "The Right Time"; I can't recall myself ever giving any full-length Ray Charles solo album the proper respect and listening attention that it deserved. That changed when I took 40+ minutes to tune into 1977's "True To Life". Right off the bat, I was treated to yet another ear-pleasing remake of the Johnny Nash classic, "I Can See Clearly Now" (and now I really have lost count of how many different renditions of it I've heard to this present day!). This Ray Charles version is especially nice with his distinctive voice singing the familiar words and the perky, disco-like rhythm of the music itself. One song that totally put a broad smile on my face is his beautiful deliverance of "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning". I like the positive lyrics, which speaks about everything in his life going just the way that we wants it to. Makes me wish for every day of my own life to go the way I want it to—peaceful, pretty and picture perfect. Besides his amazing vocals, I was dazzled by the awesome jazz sound, a highlight of a moment when he backs out to let the instrumentalists take over the song for a few swinging movements. If that jam isn't a heavenly listen for you, then perhaps "Heavenly Music" will provide you with that music high that you seek. Here, you get to enjoy some of that good old-fashioned Southern soul, accented by the delightful plucking of the country guitar. That Southern soul—so nice to hear it as well on slowed-down numbers like "The Jealous Kid" and "Be My Love", which is such a classy and dreamy of a romantic piece with even more awesome jazziness for my listening pleasure! "Game Number Nine" is this album's unique offering—spoken word that tells a fun story while a smooth groove in the background entertains the senses. Then with me forever being so drawn to those sad, mellow soul offerings that have a special way of gripping my heart, "Let It Be" (the sharp backup vocals by the ladies are wonderful) became the one that reigned supreme at the end of this 40-minute throwback soul adventure:


1. I Can See Clearly Now
2. The Jealous Kind
3. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
4. How Long Has This Been Going On?
5. Be My Love
6. Anonymous Love
7. Heavenly Music
8. Game Number Nine
9. Let It Be

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