Ray Charles is the stage name of Charles Raymond Offenberg (born September 13, 1918, in Chicago, Illinois), an American musician, songwriter, and vocal conductor. He is best known for a series of easy listening record albums which he produced in the 1950s and 1960s as the Ray Charles Singers. This vocal group also sang backup on most of the recordings of Perry Como from 1950 to 1987, and Charles and his singers also appeared with Como in his live performances and on television. The Ray Charles Singers (with Charles featured prominently as lead male vocalist) sang the theme song to the television series Three's Company ("Come and Knock on Our Door"). He is sometimes known humorously as "The Other Ray Charles" to distinguish him from the great soul musician of the same name.
The Ray Charles Singers had a number of hit singles and albums, reaching number three on the pop charts in 1964 with one of the most successful easy listening singles of the '60s, "Love Me with All Your Heart (Cuando Caliente el Sol),"
As a songwriter, Charles is best known for the choral anthem "Fifty Nifty United States," in which he set the names of the states to music in alphabetical order. He also wrote some Christmas songs and other special musical material associated with Como. He has also worked in television with Bob Hope, Glen Campbell, and the Muppets. He continues to serve as a musical consultant to television programs.
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Review: Ray Charles (not the more familiar R&B recording star, but longtime arranger and vocalist for Perry Como and his "Perry Como Show"), knew quite a lot about entertainment and how to put together a vocal ensemble and get the most out of them. "Al-Di-La" features 12 accompanied cover tunes, is a bright, sweet, sincere collection of pop tunes and Broadway hits, as innocent, upbeat, schmaltzy, silly and entertaining as mainstream variety shows and musicals were in the mid-to-late 60s. "The Girl from Ipanema," Lennon/McCartney's "Do You Want to Know A Secret," "Real Live Girl," "Satin Doll," "Call Me Irresponsible," "Till the End of Time," "Something Extra Special" (written by Charles, and the only original on the album), "Bluesette" and "You are Never Far from Me." "Johann Sebastian Bach" is interesting, in that it puts jazzy lyrics to a familiar Bach aria in a Swingle Singers kind of way. Fun, romantic stuff from the 60s.
Songlist: Al-Di-La , The Girl from Ipanema, Do You Want to Know a Secret, Real Live Girl, The Friendliest Thing, Satin Doll, Call Me Irresponsible, Till the End of Time, Something Extra Special, Bluesette, Johann Sebastian Bach, You Are Never Far Away from Me
There! I've Said It Again
Review: First, we need to make it clear that this is not the more familiar Ray Charles, beloved R&B star and subject of the movie "Ray." This Ray Charles had spent the 15 years previous to recording "Something Special" with his 25 singers as a singer and arranger with Perry Como, particularly for the popular "Perry Como Show." Second, this is all heavily accompanied material. That said, from the first few tunes, covers of "This Could Be the Start of Something," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" and "More," we can't remember hearing an ensemble this bright, smooth, sincere upbeat and downright entertaining as Ray's 25 mixed voices. "There! I've Said It Again," "Dominique," "Hello, Dolly," "Love Me with All Your Heart" (their hit single), "Charade" and "What Kind of Fool am I." A quote from Charles is telling: "All songs are really poems set to music. If you don't believe in a lyric, you'd better keep your mouth shut and just hum." His Singers sing their tails off on every song and believe in every lyric, and so do we!
Songlist: This Could Be the Start of Something , I Left My Heart in San Francisco, More (from Mondo Cane), There! I've Said It Again , This Is All I Ask, Dominique (from Hello Dolly!), Hello Dolly! (from Hello Dolly!), Quiet Nights , Love Me With All Your Heart, Charade, What Kind of Fool Am I? , Sweet Little Mountain Bird