PLEDGE NOW
Ray Charles And Country Music

Fifty years ago, Ray Charles blended R&B, jazz, and country to make a new American sound.  We listen back.

Country Music Hall of Fame curator Mick Buck, left, works on Ray Charles exhibit items on Monday, Feb. 20, 2006 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)

Country Music Hall of Fame curator Mick Buck, left, works
on Ray Charles exhibit items on Monday, Feb. 20, 2006 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)

When Ray Charles was a boy, country music could be a rifle shot warning to a black man. No matter how sweet the lyrics, it could say “Race line here. Step Back.” But he didn’t . Ray Charles was the great blender of American music.

Gospel, jazz, R&B, soul – and country. In 1962, before civil rights and “I have dream,” he put out an album that crossed all kinds of lines. And set American music free.

This hour, On Point: Ray Charles and the blending of American music.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Matt Glaser, jazz and bluegrass violinist and artistic director of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music.  He, with the Ray Charles Foundation, directed and curated Berklee’s Ray Charles symposium: “Inspired by Ray.”

Alonzo Harris, assistant professor at the Berklee College of Music

Ricky Skaggs, 14-time Grammy-winning country and bluegrass singer-songwriter

From Tom’s Reading List

The Boston Herald “This weekend Berklee College of Music celebrates one of pop music’s greatest trailblazers. Put together by Matt Glaser, director of Berklee’s American Roots Music Program, “Inspired by Ray” is a celebration of a man who made the sacred profane, helped invent both rock ’n’ roll and soul, and topped the charts with a blend of white country and black r&b.”

Rolling Stone “Charles’ biggest-selling record was the audacious racial-boundary-smasher its title promised, applying gospel grit and luscious soul-pop strings to standards by Hank Williams and Eddy Arnold.”

AllMusic “Covering a period from 1939 to the early ’60s, the 12 tracks here touch on old-timey fare (Floyd Tillman’s “It Makes No Difference to Me Now”), honky tonk (three Hank Williams songs), and early countrypolitan (Don Gibson’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You”). Along with a Top Ten go at Eddy Arnold’s “You Don’t Know Me,” the Gibson cover helped the album remain at the top of the pop charts for nearly three months and brought Charles international fame.”

Playlist

“Hey Good Lookin’ ” by Ray Charles  (1962, Modern Sounds)

“Kentucky Waltz” (OUTTAKE) by Ray Charles  (1953)

“It Must Be Jesus” by The Southern Tones (1954)

“I’ve  Got A Woman” by Ray Charles (1954, I’ve Got A Woman)

“I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

“Just A Little Lovin’” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

“Half As Much” by Hank Williams (1952, Half As Much (SINGLE))

“Half As Much” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

“You Are My Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis (1939)

“You Are My Sunshine” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

“Friendship” by Ray Charles and Ricky Skaggs (1984, Friendship)

“I’ll Never Stand In Your Way” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

“Your Cheating Heart” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

“Careless Love” by Lead Belly (1940s, Recorded by MOSES ASCH)

“Careless Love” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

“America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles (1972, Live on The Dick Cavett Show)

“Bye Bye Love” by Ray Charles (1962, Modern Sounds)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 1, 2015
Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 31, 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)

The scramble for the Arctic. President Obama’s in Alaska. We’ll look at the stakes.

Sep 1, 2015
Oliver Sacks (Elena Seibert)

Oliver Sacks, celebrated neurologist and best-selling author, has died at 82. We’ll listen back to our remarkable 2013 interview with Oliver Sacks on life and aging.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 31, 2015
While the jury still deliberates, former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie, left, leaves the Merrimack Superior Court at the end of day with security in tow Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Concord, N.H.  Labrie was convicted by a jury of several misdemeanors, but ruled not guilty in the most serious felony sexual assault charges. (AP)

A verdict in the New Hampshire prep school rape trial. And calls for changing sexual assault laws.

 
Aug 31, 2015
A television photographer takes video of a memorial for the two slain journalist in front of the studios of WDBJ-TV7 in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward from the station were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday.  (AP)

Lessons from the Roanoke TV shootings. We’ll look at the way forward with the New York Times’ Nick Kristof and other top thinkers.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments
 
Do You Recognize Amazon’s Workplace Culture? Tell Us!
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015

Do you recognize the workplace conditions described in a recent New York Times piece on Amazon? We want to hear from you!

More »
5 Comments