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10 April 2010

Austin City Limits: Ray Charles & His Orchestra (1979)

Publicity photo used byACL in 1980.
Austin City Limits, a PBS format, has established a reputation for showcasing great live musical performances. The format was originally created to display the alternative country music scene in Austin, Texas in the 1970s. Soon the show branched out to include all types of music; country, pop rock, bluegrass and zydeco, etc. Many television historians attribute MTV, CMT and VH1's success to the contributions of this groundbreaking musical series. Ray and his group appeared twice in the show, in 1979 and 1984.
Ad from Dallas Morning
News, 4 Mar. 1980.
On the first show from 23 October 1979 (directed by Allen Muir, aired on 4 March 1980, i.e. season 5, episode 4) Ray brought his 17-piece Orchestra and The Raelettes.
  1. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  2. Georgia On My Mind
  3. Busted
  4. Born To Lose
  5. Some Enchanted Evening
  6. [Ray Talking: 'when you're an old battery, you need generators' - introducing Raelettes] 
  7. Hit The Road Jack
  8. [Ray Talking - bridging between #7 and #9: 'this is for public tv; they're trying to get me to say the woman was pissed off, but I ain't gonna say that'] 
  9. I Can't Stop Loving You (with A Fool For You intro)
  10. I Can See Clearly Now
  11. Für Elise/Steel Guitar Rag/Lonesome Blue Yodel/I'm Gonna Keep On Singin'...
  12. That's Allright/What'd I Say/Shake It Up/Feel So Good...
  13. Cover artwork of the audio bootleg.
  14. Deep In The Heart Of Texas
Personnel: 
Musicians: Dan Wilensky, Clifford Solomon (band leader), Rudy Johnson, Ricky Woodard, Jim Sharp - saxophone; Dan Marcus, Gerard Carelli, John Boyce, Bob Braun - trombone; Buddy Gordon, Greg Ruvolo, Tim Ouimette, Johnny Coles - trumpet; Peter Turre - drums; Eugene 'Bubba' Ross - guitar; Curtis Ohlson - bass, James Polk (Hammond, piano). The Raelettes (fltr): Madelyn Quebec, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson, Avis Harrell.

Terry Lickona, executive producer at ACL, interviewed in Behind The Music; 40 Years Of Austin City Limits, an article in the Austin Monthly (October 2014) remembered:
"[The booking of Ray Charles in 1979] was a milestone in a lot of ways because it validated the fact that Austin City Limits was more than just an Austin or Texas music show and that for the $50 - actually, back then it was only $300, I think, American Federation of Musicians scale - that we paid the artists, we could get someone of his caliber, and he was as big as they got back in those days. He came with his entire band and the Raelettes. That was in our fifth year. So it was kind of a revelation to us here at the time to realize that anything’s possible. If we can get Ray Charles, who else?
[...] I tried for years to get him to do it through his manager, who was not very receptive or responsive. Finally he was here in Austin playing at the Erwin Center. And I used to go stalk artists back in the day more than I do now. Anyway, Ray Charles was there, and I knew the director of the Erwin Center at the time, so I was able to get backstage and talk my way past his road manager to actually meet Ray in the dressing room and introduce myself. That’s when I was surprised and really thrilled to hear that he knew about the show. I shouldn’t have been too surprised because Ray Charles, when it comes to music and good music, he knows it all."
Release:
Ray Charles - Live Austin Texas '79. Hi Hat HHCD3059, July 22, 2016.

For some fragments of Georgia, watch this trailer:

Watch the full episode. See more Austin City Limits.
Oh, What A Beautiful Morning:

Busted:

Born To Lose:

Some Enchanted Evening:

Hit The Road Jack:

What'd I Say:

A Fool For You [improv]/I Can't Stop Loving You:



Watch this for more information on the '84 ACL gig.
Wikipedia also mentions a "Legends classic encore" in 1997. Is this "Legends" or "encore" or "classic encore" a special format of Austin City Limits?

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