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The Birth of Soul Box set

35 customer reviews

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The Birth Of Soul
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Audio CD, Box set, October 1, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

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Though this is not the most recent Ray Charles box set collection, it may be the best. That's because it focuses on Ray's great growth in the 1950s, particularly his days with Atlantic Records. The set opens with Ray still in a Charles Brown, smooth-voice, mellow-piano mode, but in short order, he discovers his own identity. From the good time of "It Should Have Been Me" on disc one, though the orgiastic "What'd I Say, Parts 1 & 2" on disc three, the man they call "The Genius" rocks, rolls, raises the rafters, and sinks way down low with the blues. This box also features an excellent essay by the late music historian, Robert Palmer. --Robert Gordon


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. The Sun's Gonna Shine AgainRay Charles 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Roll With My BabyRay Charles 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. The Midnight HourRay Charles 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Jumpin' In The MorningRay Charles 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. It Should've Been MeRay Charles 2:40$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. Losing HandRay Charles And His Orchestra 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. HeartbreakerRay Charles 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Sinner's PrayerRay Charles 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Mess AroundRay Charles 2:40$1.29  Buy MP3 
10. Funny But I Still Love YouRay Charles 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Feelin' SadRay Charles And His Orchestra 2:52$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. I Wonder WhoRay Charles 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Don't You KnowRay Charles 2:57$1.29  Buy MP3 
14. Nobody CaresRay Charles 2:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Ray's BluesRay Charles 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. Mr. Charles BluesRay Charles 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. BlackjackRay Charles 2:19$1.29  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. I've Got A WomanRay Charles 2:54$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. GreenbacksRay Charles 2:51$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Come Back BabyRay Charles 3:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. A Fool For YouRay Charles 3:02$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. This Little Girl Of MineRay Charles 2:34$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)Ray Charles 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. A Bit Of SoulRay Charles 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Mary AnnRay Charles 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Drown In My Own TearsRay Charles 3:21$1.29  Buy MP3 
10. Hallelujah I Love Her SoRay Charles 2:35$1.29  Buy MP3 
11. What Would I Do Without YouRay Charles 2:38$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. Lonely AvenueRay Charles 2:36$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. I Want To KnowRay Charles 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Leave My Woman AloneRay Charles 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. It's AlrightRay Charles 2:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
16. Ain't That LoveRay Charles 2:53$1.29  Buy MP3 
17. Get On The Right Track BabyRay Charles 2:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. Rockhouse (Parts 1 & 2)Ray Charles 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 3:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Swanee River Rock (Talkin' 'Bout That River)Ray Charles 2:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. That's EnoughRay Charles 2:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Talkin' About YouRay Charles 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. What Kind Of Man Are YouRay Charles 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. I Want A Little GirlRay Charles 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Yes IndeedRay Charles 2:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. I Had A DreamRay Charles 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. You Be My BabyRay Charles 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Tell All The World About YouRay Charles 2:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. My BonnieRay Charles 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Early In The MorningRay Charles 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Night Time Is The Right TimeRay Charles 3:19$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. Carryin' That LoadRay Charles 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Tell Me How Do You FeelRay Charles 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. What'd I Say, Pt. I & IIRay Charles 5:07$1.29  Buy MP3 
16. Tell The TruthRay Charles 3:04$1.29  Buy MP3 
17. I'm Movin' OnRay Charles 2:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. I Believe To My SoulRay Charles 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 1, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002IRW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,393 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Anthony G Pizza VINE VOICE on March 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Ray Charles' seven-year tenure on Atlantic Records, represented here by his complete R&B recordings, is as musically and culturally important as Frank Sinatra's tenure on Capitol Records or Elvis Presley's on Sun Records.
Charles' music here used basic rock and roll ingridients (blues, jazz, honky-tonk, gospel interplay) to create something more adult, eloquent and sensual than anything the renowned rock n' roll pioneers created. Charles' mixing and matching of styles at first seems impure even now ("Pray with me, boys," he groans as his band dives deeper into the blues "Feelin' Sad," which he ends with a wail.) But his band (razor-sharp after hundreds of dance concerts every year) could play any style, mixing several at once, turning hits like "What'd I Say," jazz workouts like "Mess Around," ancient standards like "My Bonnie," and even his cover of Hank Snow's C&W "I'm Movin' On" into mini-revelations.
These years represent the most creative in Charles' career, before his huge Sixties hits made him an American icon. He would never be as creative and profilic as he is here, making "The Birth of Soul" THE essential purchase for fans of the singer or the R&B form.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By bruce horner on February 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
There are times when a particular string of sessions recorded by an artist for a particular label is so creatively significant that it marks not only a stylistic synthesis or breakthrough for that particular artist but also a touchstone for a whole branch of music. Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven sides for Columbia come to mind, as do Charlie Parker's Dial sessions and of course Presley's Sun sessions. The singles that Ray Charles recorded for Atlantic Records from 1952 to 1959 are similar, in that they not only mark a creative peak for Charles, but his unique mixture of elements of jazz, r&b, blues, and gospel led directly to the musical style that would be called soul. Thus the title of this collection (The Birth of Soul) is more than just jolly hyperbole but almost literally true. The brilliant synthesis didn't happen overnight, of course, and the second song here, "Roll With My Baby," sounds like an imitation of Nat King Cole. One of the pleasures of this collection is listening to him mature which he does soon enough. The singles are presented in strict chronological order with copious and easy-to-read session information. (Interesting that Connie Kay played drums on his first ten sides, and the importance of reedman David Newman to the band's sound can hardly be overstated.) Discs two and three are pure manna. It's rather startling to be reminded just how good Charles was in the fifties, arguably his most fertile and rewarding period. His years as a top-forty icon and later a soft drink pitchman have obscured his amazing earlier achievement. This well-produced package reminds us of what he SHOULD be known for. Robert Palmer's informative liner notes are another extra in a collection that does everything right---selection, sound mastering, packaging. This is the one Ray Charles set that should be considered essential to anyone interested in 20th-century American music.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By thedevilscoachman on December 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Prior to a couple of years ago, I never really knew what Ray Charles's backstory was. I always sort of thought of him as the guy in the Pepsi ads and in the Blues Brothers, and the singer of "I Can't Stop Loving You" - pretty good music, but also in some way uninspired or irrelevant. I was wrong. As this package shows, he was a towering genius long before Pepsi came along. He was an inspired piano player, and he could do it all - jazz, stride, R&B, New Orleans. He had a totally unique rhythmic sense, which clearly informed James Brown and other "soul" artists. Over the course of this package, you hear him shape his voice into an incredibly expressive instrument - he's great both at singing the song straight and adding subtle embellishments to the melody that are dead on perfect (and never overused). Unlike other artists, especially at the time, who were confined to niches, he wasn't afraid to take on all different kinds of styles - from jump blues ("It Could Have Been Me" or "Greenbacks") to New Orleans ("Mary Ann") to blues ("Hard Times" or "What Will I Do") to numbers that mix them all up with jazz and gospel, like "What'd I Say?" or "Talkin' About You." He put together a great band that could play hard-core jazz with as much facility as R & B (Check out his band on his saxophonist David Newman's jazz albums). And finally, it seems to me that he used the studio in innovative ways long before many other artists - like on "What Kind of Man Are You" and "I'm Movin' On." And while his songwriting isn't always brilliant, it is at least always very strong, and he has a good ear for cover tunes that suit him well. Any one of these strengths alone would qualify him as great, but he's rightly called "The Genius" for putting all these things into one package. Highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Grant Camden on December 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
A lot of people like Ray Charles for a lot of reasons. This collection is why I love him. It finds Ray defining Rhythm and Blues in the 1950s.

The recordings here represent what I consider his golden period with Atlantic. It is prior to his move to other record labels and his experiments with country and pop standards. This is good old R&B. As I said before, it defines the genre in the 1950s as far as I'm concerned. There are few instrumentals; most tracks include vocals, and Ray's voice is in incredible form throughout, rasping, moaning, groaning, and all. A mention must also be made of the distinctive tenor sax work throughout of long time sideman, David "Fathead" Newman.

The music and Ray's voice here have a visceral quality and richness which waned, in my opinion, after Ray's Atlantic years. Later, although Ray remained one of America's greatest musicians, he became increasingly glossy. This is before the gloss. This music has real soul and lots of it.

I have enjoyed this set more than any music I own. If you would like a serious set of goose bumps and hours of enjoyment, I cannot recommend this set highly enough. I own about 25 Ray Charles CDs. I recommend this set hands down above all others.
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