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Genius Loves Company

February 21, 2006 | Format: MP3

Also available in CD Format
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: February 21, 2006
  • Release Date: February 21, 2006
  • Label: Concord Records, Inc.
  • Copyright: (C) 2004 Hear Music
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 51:20
  • Genres:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,763 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

293 of 309 people found the following review helpful By L. Quido VINE VOICE on September 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Ray Charles truly gave back to the world of music. In his last album, a series of duets, aptly titled "Genius Loves Company", Charles and his collaborators give us that eclectic mix of styles he was known for.

There are a couple of tracks, recorded early in 2004, when Ray was ill, where his voice and manner are notably subdued. There are three miscalculations of the choice of songs that he made with his collaborator. There are the inevitable difficulties of harmonizing with Ray -- (a man who had a knack for never singing a song the way you expect someone to), and those come through in some of the duets, although most feature echo singing and response, and little harmony.

What a thrill to be asked to work with Ray on one of his previous hits....Gladys Knight is his featured partner in his gospel classic, "Heaven Help Us All". Backed by a choir, Ray and Gladys mix richly. Ray has several blues cuts on the CD -- the best of these is "Sinner's Prayer" with BB King. Ray jams on the piano and BB gives Lucille a workout, with some background Hammond B3 by the legendary Billy Preston. Ray and BB have a natural mix on one of Ray's oldest songs. Some close harmony in the country blues cut "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" shines through in the featured song with Bonnie Raitt -- produced by Phil Ramone, it is a great mix of vocals and blues guitar. Ray first did the song at the beginning of his career. There's a changeup from country in the old Eddy Arnold standard, "You Don't Know Me" with Ray and Diana Krall. Ray first did it in 1962, and the song is made richer with the jazzy counterpoint of Krall's flawless voice--another contribution from Phil Ramone. And starting the album, Ray collaborates with a relative newcomer, Norah Jones, in his 1967 blues hit - "Here We Go Again".
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jim Mitchell on September 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
It's a cliche to use the term "overproduced" in critiquing music, but that's the word that consistently comes to mind with many of the songs on "Genius Loves Company". To me, much of Ray Charles' catalog suffers from this- too many syrupy strings, horns and background singers. I don't have a problem with orchestrations- they work to great effect on old Capitol-era Sinatra records and the Ella Fitzgerald "Songbook" series- but they walk a fine line between sounding lush and overwrought. Sadly, many of the songs on this, Mr. Charles' final studio album, fall into the latter category. His voice and piano/keyboard playing are powerful enough by themselves, and don't need to be overshadowed by such sappy sounds that instantly make this brand new album sound terribly dated. That's been a complaint of mine about most of what I've ever heard from Ray Charles, and I'm disappointed that this CD is no exception.

To be fair, there are some true gems on this album. While some of the arrangments might overpower and reduce the timelessness of the music, most of the duet partners seem to complement Mr. Charles quite nicely. Standout tracks are those with Norah Jones, Diana Krall, BB King, Gladys Knight and Van Morrison. They have just the right mix of jazz, soul and blues to give them a touch of the class and elegance of which Ray is so deserving. Elton John isn't bad, but his singing has become so over the top in the past decade or so as to become almost self-parodying. And there are many songs in Elton's catalog that would have better suited the pair. Willie Nelson is actually beginning to sound old. That by itself isn't a bad thing, but the attempt to replicate the orchestrations on the Sinatra version of "It Was A Very Good Year" just sound terrible.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert Culbertson on January 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to Ray Charles since I was about 15 years old, when I first heard "What'd I Say." His voice, the electric piano and the song were about the freshest things I had ever heard, and I immediately loved him. That love never ended.

While I reluctantly agree with a few other reviewers that Ray's voice on some of the tracks is not what it once was, he still is absolutely wonderful and Genius Loves Company is a must for long-time Ray Charles fans like me. The selection of stars with whom he sings duets is varied and interesting and the musicianship and arrangements on the CD are outstanding. Everyone will find a different track that they like best and will feel Ray is particularly good with one artist or another. But, while there are certain tracks that appeal most to me, I actually think they all are good and the guest artists all put in excellent performances -- seemingly a heartfelt tribute to Ray --one of the greatest ever.

My personal favorites are "Fever" with Natalie Cole, who I think sounds as good as I've ever heard her, "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" with Elton John, which some other reviewers have not liked but I think is particularly good, "Sinner's Prayer" with B.B. King--perhaps the best track on the CD, "Heaven Help Us All" with Gladys Knight, "Over The Rainbow" with Johnny Mathis (I think Johnny sounds as good as he did 40 years ago) and "Crazy Love" with Van Morrison.

While Ray has sounded better on other CDs, this is still a classic by a man at the end of his life and one which I'm glad I own and which will be played frequently.
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