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31 August 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town – Chronology 1985

Mid 1980s



Photos by Arnold Williams.

At anidentified venue, by unidentified photographer.

Portrait by Robert Davis - mid '80s.
Publicity photo from mid '80s.
Unidentified gig, early - mid '80s.
Possibly in France, mid 1980s.


Circa 1985, possibly shot in France.

1985
Production of Norman Seeff's The Sessions Project with Ray. The second photo has become famous. See this.

Photos by Norman Seeff.
Rest materials from the same shoot.
With Quincy Jones, probably picking up another award somewhere.
Concert in Portland. Photo by Ross William Hamilton.
With Quincy Jones (according to caption, taking a break during a recording session).

Seven Spanish Angels (with Willie Nelson) peaks at #1 on the Country Chart , It Ain't Gonna Worry My Mind (with Mickey Gilley at #12 on Country, Two Old Cats Like Us (with Hank Williams, Jr.) at #14 on Country.
The Spirit Of Christmas peaks at #42 on the Country Album Chart.
Ray is the central figure in a multimedia campaign for the National Organization On Disability. See this.

He also tapes the tune for a new series of Maxwell House commercials. See this.


Ray is featured in the documentary Jazz Greats At The Montreal International Jazz Festival, presented by Oscar Peterson. See this.
At some date during the year, Ray is the subject of a photo shoot in The Sessions Project (videotaped). See this.

Intriguing recording session: what's that sign with "Black and Decker" doing there?
See comments for explanation (it happened in '84).


10 January 1985
On The Early Show, item about Everyday (I Have The Blues) with Tony Bennet. See this.

19 January 1985
Performing at Fiftieth American Presidential Inaugural Gala. See this.



28 January 1985
Records (with two dozen other artists) We Are The World in Hollywood. See this.



February 1985

Release of album Friendship.
Industry ad for Friendship album.

Mid-February 1985
Release of a video clip of Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, performing Seven Spanish Angels. See this.

7 March 1985
Starring in The Nashville Network 2nd Anniversary Show, recorded in New York (aired 20 April 1985). See this.

15 March 1985
Live And Kicking, show at Variety Playhouse, Atlanta. See this.

22 - 24 March 1985
Subbing for Dolly Parton (who fell ill), in concert with Kenny Rogers at Rosemont Horizon (Chicago).




April 1985
Release of the single It Ain't Gonna Worry My Mind (with Mickey Gilley) / Crazy Old Soldier (with Johnny Cash).

Photos by Joe Adams, possibly taken at studio session for Crazy Old Soldier.
Johnny Cash, Billy Sherrill, Ray Charles.
22 April 1985
Performing at Coca Cola marketing event at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta. See this.

17 May 1985
Clemens Performing Arts Center, Mark Twain Festival Summer '85, Elmira.

24 May 1985
Smoking a last cigarette before performing somewhere in France (air date of news item, probably announcing Ray’s tour in July). See this.

28 May 1985
For a captive audience of 1,400 inmates at women's jail of the Sybil Brand Institute near Los Angeles ("If it brings a little happiness, a little soul, he's happy," said Joe Adams).

29 May 1985
Performing at Irving Berlin's 100th Birthday Salute. See this.

30 May to 2 June 1985
At The Opera House, New York.

3 June 1985
Crazyhorse, Santa Ana.

5 June 1985.
Crazy Horse.

8 June 1985
Shubert Performing Arts Center, New Haven. Photo here.

9 June 1985
JVC Jazz Festival at Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls.
Photo by John Corbett; possibly on this date.

10 June 1985
Live broadcast of 19th Annual Music City News Country Awards at Opry House in Nashville. See this.
Ray Charles performing with The Oak Ridge Boys.


13 June 1985
Arena Theater, Houston ("That isn't to say he short-changes an audience, but he does go for the broadest audience appeal. It may be entirely in order for a man to rest on his laurels a bit after he has showed that there is no single ``right'' way to sing pop, jazz, rock, show tunes, r & b, country or even gospel, as long as the soul is in it. [Ray Charles] couldn't give a cookie-cutter performance if he tried, because he long ago threw away the mold. But at the Arena Theater Thursday, he gave a conservative performance - one perhaps reflecting the way Ray Charles feels now. It was made tamer by the stage presentation in the round, so that the stage turned slowly one complete revolution during the concert").

15 June 1985
Dallas Convention Center Arena; with Tanya Tucker.



20 June 1985
Photo by Vince Mannino.
Visits Ronald Reagan in Oval Office, Washington; lobbying for National organisation for the Disabled. Photos here and here; for TV news item see this.

21 June 1985
Kool Jazzfest, Boston.

22 June 1985
Talking with President Reagan in the Oval office, on behalf of national organization for the disabled.

26 June 1985
Kool Jazz Festival, Avery Fisher Hall in New York, with The Commodores; tickets at $15-$25.
Saenger, New Orleans.
Ad from The Times-Picayune New Orleans, 14 Jun.
Photo by Harold Baquet.

On or around 4 July 1985
Ft. in TV show The Statue Of Liberty (the date is a conjecture). See this.

4 July 1985
Brother Ray: A Tribute To Ray Charles on KCRW (4 parts, first air date 4 or 5 July), hosted by Roger Steffens. See this.


Concert at Veiled Prophet Fair in St. Louis.

5 July 1985
Two shows at the Vic, Chicago.

Around this time in July 1985
Lyon.
Photos by Gerard Amsellem/Topfoto.

10 July 1985
Double concert at Palais des Congrès, Paris.
Musicians: Mark Curry, Bobby Rodriguez, Jim Seeley, Jeff Kaye - trumpets; Dan Levine, Steve Baxton, Delfeayo Marsalis, Dana Hughes - trombones; Clifford Solomon - alto saxophone, bandleader; Brian Mitchell - alto saxophone; Rudy Johnson, Ricky Woodard - tenor saxophones; Louis Van Taylor - bariton saxophone; Paul Kreibich - drums; Jeff Pevar - guitar; Roger Hines - bass; Ernest Vantrease - electric piano, organ. The Raelettes: Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

11 July 1985
Zephyr Stade des Corguettes, Cassis.


14 July 1985
North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague.



17 July 1985
Montpellier (air date of news item). See this.

Around this day in July 1985
JVC Capital Jazz Parade in London.


From NME, Aug. 10.

20 July 1985
Antibes. See this.
Cover Antibes Festival program.

Nimes? See this.

21 July 1985
Festival de Jazz de San Sebástián.



24 July 1985
Four Roses Jazz Festival, Rome, on the Tiber ("amplification was reduced by order of the Roman magistrate"; read review here).


31 July 1985
Warwick Tent, Providence.

August 1985
Release of the single Two Old Cats Like Us (with Hank Williams Jr.) / Little Hotel Room (with Merle Haggard).

2 Aug 1985Meadow Brook, Rochester Hills.

3 August 1985
Circle Theatre, Indianapolis.

4 August 1985
Newport Jazz Festival, at South Shore Music Circus, Cohasset; with Rebecca Parris.

5 August 1985
Mann Music Center, Philadelphia; with B.B. King.

6 to 7 August 1985
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, Westport.

12 August 1985
Rockefeller's, Houston.

16 August 1985
Ruth Eckerd Hall, St. Petersburg.

29 August 1985
Hollywood Bowl; with B.B. King.

30 August 1985
Ventura Theatre, LA.

30 and 31 August 1985
Humphrey's, San Diego (4 sold out shows). Review here.

4 September 1985
Salinas.

5 September 1985
Western Washington Fair in Puyallup.
*and/or*
First of five sold out concerts at Paul Mason winery in Saratoga. Jesse Hamlin reviewed the first show in the San Francisco Chronicle of 7 September:
"A great soul singer can wring feeling out of almost any song. Ray Charles could turn a hairspray jingle into a hymn. Every sound that leaps or seeps from the throat of Ray Charles carries emotion. Even when he inhales a deep breath, it's music. The 'legendary genius of soul'' - one of the few overblown showbiz titles that actually hits the mark - preached the gospel according to Ray from a Saratoga mountaintop Thursday night.
His 90-minute [...] concert [...] was thrilling. Charles churned the heart with his grunts, shouts, whispers, soul-brother yodels, falsetto cries and gnarled sighs. And he dug a deep gospel groove that swayed and rocked all night. He came out in a black-and-white candy-striped jacket that would've looked perfect on gambler Benny Southstreet in 'Guys and Dolls'.
 He stood sightless before the cheering audience, hugging himself and swaying side to side while rolling his head and smiling a full-moon smile.
He sat down at the grand piano and plunged into a soul session that overflowed with warmth and feeling. His feet and torso never stopped weaving and stomping and sliding around the piano.
He did his standard repertoire - everything from his epic 'Georgia'' to his jazzified and exalted 'Oh, What a Beautiful Morning'. As always, his phrasing and inflection sounded new.
One was struck again by his ability to fill the slightest sigh or groan with meaning. He moved through the uncharted emotional territory where sadness and joy become inseparable. His voice often throbbed with a sound that hovered between a laugh and a sob.  You could taste the 'salty tears'' of 'How Long Has This Been Going On', and he sang 'She Knows' with a gritty vulnerability that was exquisite in its raw beauty.
The 17-piece Ray Charles orchestra backed him superbly. It is as polished and powerful as the best jazz band, with superior soloists like alto saxophonist Clifford Solomon, who led the band through several fine Basie and Ellington-inspired arrangements before Ray took the pulpit. Late in the show, Charles brought on the four foxy Raelettes - 'Now it's time to add a little femininity to the show'' - but their synchronized charm soon wore off. Their contribution to 'I Can't Stop Loving You'' was lovely, and a steaming call-and-response number with the boss worked wonderfully. But their mechanical choreography made them look a little like black wind-up Barbie dolls, and their other numbers added nothing to what was otherwise a spectacular show."



10 September 1985
Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene.

13 September 1985
On Smokey Robinson's Motown Revue show (air date; see this).


Unidentified event in 1983 - with Smokey Robinson.

17 September 1985
Tri-State Fair, Fairgrounds, Amarillo.

20 September 1985
Macon's Grand Opera House, Atlanta.

21 September 1985
Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton; tickets at $15.

22 September 1985
8th Georgia Music festival, at Stone Mountain Park's Memorial Plaza Stage (more than 4,000 people).

27 Sep 1985
Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Clinton Township.

28 September 1985
Miller Auditorium, Kalamazoo.

29 September 1985
Gordie's Double Play, Phoenix for Blast From The Past Family Picnic show with Martha Reeves and The Vandellas ("the crowd was shockingly small") at the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium; see this and this.

Photo by Terry Wilson.
From an Ebay ad: suit jacket, custom made by Parkway Clothes, Los Angeles (1985): "much evidence of sweat stains on the inner satin - particularly under the arms".

3 to 6 October 1985
Jacksonville Jazz Festival.




10 October 1985
James L. Knight Center, Miami (rescheduled from 18 November); tickets at $10.

14 October 1985
Mechanics Hall, Worcester.


Photos of a concert in Worcester, possibly on this date.

19 October 1985
Airplane slides off runway at Bloomington; 26 to hospital for observation, only pilot kept for back injury. Accident report here. Listen here.







24 October 1985
Palace Theatre, Rochester.

25 October 1985
At Michelob Festival Of Stars, Palace Theater, Albany; with anti apartheid demo (see this and this).

30 October 1985
Concert in Toronto; tickets $25-$50.

November 1985


1 November 1985
Interviewed on The Tube (UK; air date). See this.

3 November 1985
Aids fund raiser at Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

7 November 1985
Emens Auditorium, Ball State University.

8 November 1985
Kirkland Auditorium, Millikin University, Decatur.

9 November 1985
Centre East, Chicago.
Ad from Chicago Tribune, 8 Nov.

15 November 1985
James Knight Auditorium, Palm Beach.

16 November 1985 (conflicting data)
Diabetes gala, Toronto.
or
Rainbow Music Hall, Denver.

18 November 1985
James L. Knight Center, Miami - rescheduled (see 10 October).

18 November 1985
Samford University Star Series, Concert Hall of Wright Fine Arts Center, Birmingham.

20 November 1985
Eisenhower Auditorium at Penn State University; announcement here, review here.

21 November 1985
Pearl Street, Northampton.

22 November 1985
Opera House, Boston.

23 November 1985
Performing Arts Center, Providence.

26 November 1985
Two shows at Metro Convention Centre's grand ballroom, Toronto.
The Toronto Star wrote:
Ray Charles apologized midway through his first set before 1,300 fans at the Metro Convention Centre last night. "I'm not going to bug you with this," said the man they call The Genius. "I know it's a bit early, but I'm going to experiment on you first, if you don't mind." Was he about to launch a new song? Was the black tie and evening gown set that had just paid $200 a head for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation's annual gala to be the first to hear it? Yes and no. The hands noodled the keys, settling suddenly on a melody that has instant world recognition - especially when it's 28 days before Christmas. What we got was "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"! A lesser performer couldn't have carried it off, but it's a measure of the sheer talent Ray Charles still commands after 40 years on the road that the audience was clapping in rhythm by the second chorus. This wasn't the pallid "Rudolph" that Gene Autry brought us: it was a sanctified "Rudolph" straight from the choir loft of a black Baptist church. What Charles had done to this maudlin, sticky sentimental gob of Christmas candy was quite simply and elegantly transform it - by taking it back home to Georgia. He didn't sing Rudolph, he drew out the word in a wail of yearning, then added the afterthought, "You'll go down in history... you red nosed reindeer you." Charles made new, improved material out of the old.

30 November 1985
Guest at Ebony/Jet Showcase. See this.


December 1985
Release of album The Spirit of Christmas.

4 December 1985
Teatro Margherita, Genova ("Arriva Ray Charles I Grande"; local trombone player Luca Begonia hired 2 hours before the concert; cf. this; review here). TV cameras present; see this.

5 December 1985
Florence.

6 December 1985
Venice.

7 December 1985
Congress Centre Grand Hotel Billia, Saint-Vincent. Read review here.

10 December 1985
Bari.

12 December 1985
Lecce.

13 December 1985
Napoli.

14 December 1985
Treviso.

16 December 1985
Milan.

17 December 1985
Palazzetto dello Sport, Torino.

18 December 1985
Vicenza.

19 December 1985
Perugia.

20 December 1985
Bologna.

22 December 1985
Delete, Italy.


CBS ad from '85 or '86.