Ray Charles | Hard Life & Success of a Blues Genius

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #11

Written by Brooke Filsinger

Ray Charles by Greg JoensKnown as “The Genius” the world over, he was simply “Brother Ray” to friends and fellow musicians.

He was a musical pioneer in every sense.

It would be impossible to classify him in a single genre. He was on the cutting edge of the development of soul music in the 1950s and integral to the integration of country with other styles during the 1960s. In an effort to have his listener ‘feel’ his message, he filled his recordings with slurs, glides, shrieks, wails, breaks, shouts, hollers and more.

In addition to being one of the first African-American musicians to be granted artistic control which allowed him the freedom to crossover into mainstream pop, he was also offered a large annual advance, higher than usual royalties, and the almost unheard of ownership of his masters.

But despite his ingenuity, he wasn’t immune to the changing times – he experienced ebbs and flows as popular tastes changed, although he never stopped re-inventing what his music could be.

Frank Sinatra believed that he was “The only true genius in show business”.

We knew him simply as Ray Charles . . . but there was nothing simple about Ray Charles or his music.

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Let’s hear it for the girls! Celebrating Blues Women

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #10

Written by Claire Snook

Ahhhh, the blues. There’s something about this music that has captured the imagination and interest of millions of people across the world and decades. The idea of a lone man with his guitar, hobo-ing around the Mississippi Delta or playing in the dark clubs of Chicago and New York, trying to make ends meet with their music is an established one that runs deep in modern culture.

That image was hugely reinforced with the rediscovery of blues in the sixties, with encouragement from promoters to appeal to a new audience, and it worked. The careers of many bluesmen were relaunched and they got to travel the world, playing the music they’d written and sung twenty or thirty or even forty years earlier.

Obviously great to see these musicians finally recognised!

But what about the women?

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Cut Straight to Record | Recording technology & the sound of early Blues

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #9

Written by Dr Anders Ingram

My recent release, The Trouble EP, was recorded and cut direct to vinyl by The Lathe Revival in Newcastle in 2016 using 1930s equipment. You can listen to it here.

I’d be willing to bet that if I had told you that these recordings were made in the late 1930s or early 40s you would have believed me. It just has that sound … but what is that sound exactly?

Anyone who has ever put a second hand record on a deck can tell you that dust, static, and a worn stylus, etc. can cause hiss, crackle, and pops, while wear and scratches to the record can cause many other sound issues. However, this is something more. The fundamental sound itself is shaped by the format and the recording process.

So what was that process?
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