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Episode #230 – Ray Charles, Pt. 2: 1952-54

Air Week: September 29-October 5, 2014

Ray CharlesRay Charles, Pt. 2: 1952-54

This week, the “Juke In The Back” presents part 2 of a four part feature on the early musical career of the great, Ray Charles, which will cover 1948-58. We pick Ray’s musical story up in 1952, just as Atlantic Record acquires his recording contract from Jack Lauderdale’s Swing Time Records for under $3000. Atlantic now has a very talented musician that has yet to sell enough records to be a headliner. It’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun’s goal to help Ray Charles find his own “voice” and show the world what he has to offer. The first 2 years at Atlantic are a bit rocky, but 1954 shows promise as Ray returns to the national R&B chart after a 2 year hiatus. “It Should’ve Been Me” and “Don’t You Know” both make the R&B Top 10 and start Ray on a long road of hit records. Matt The Cat plays the A and B side of every one of Ray’s singles released from September, ’52 to August, ’54. We’ll also dig on some rehearsal tapes from early 1953, which show the early stages of Ray’s classics “Mess Around” and “It Should’ve Been Me.” Next week’s show will highlight Ray Charles’ mid-’50s output for Atlantic.

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Episode #229 – Ray Charles, Pt. 1: 1948-1952

Air Week: September 22-28, 2014

RayCharles1Ray Charles, Pt. 1: 1948-1952

This week, the “Juke In The Back” begins a four part feature on the early musical career of the great, Ray Charles, which will cover 1948-58. Born in poverty during The Great Depression, the young Ray Charles Robinson overcame the tragedy of losing his younger brother at age 5, going completely blind at age 7 and losing his mother at age 15. These experiences forced Ray to step up his musical game, cut out on his own and make something of himself. He moved to Seattle in 1947 and began recording with Jack Lauderdale’s LA-based Down Beat Records in 1949. His first single hit #2 on the national R&B charts. By 1951, he was back on the charts with 2 more hit singles for Swing Time Records. This week, Matt The Cat takes a look at Ray’s early career BEFORE he hooked up with Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic Records in ’52. Next week, we’ll look at Ray’s early Atlantic recordings and eventually, we’ll take Ray Charles’ story up to 1958. Some great early sides by Brotha Ray are jumpin’ out of this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

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