Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

31 January 2013

Ray Charles In Belgrade (1972)

From the
same concert.
This clipping says there
were 4 concerts.
What I understand of this video clip is that it's looking back at Ray Charles life, using a few well known old photos, footage from the biopic Ray, and - here it becomes special - a color film from a concert in Yugoslavia (Serbia) sometime during the early 1970s.
The reporter was Radovan Brankov. The interviewed spokes person, Stevan Vagner, was the concert promoter. Wagner remembered that Ray smoked a lot, drank oceans of (Bols-empowered) coffee, and played chess all of the time. He also thought that Ray was exploited by his entourage: "They were dragging him from country to country, so they could earn money on him" (which, of course, is nonsense).
The clip was broadcast by BN.

My conjecture is that the local (8 or 16 mm?) film was shot at a show late in September, 1972*, at the Pioneer Hall in Belgrade. In the line-up of the band I recognized Edgar Willis on bass, and Ralph Byrd on guitar. The 5 Raelettes are Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Dorothy Berry, Mable John, and Estella Yarbrough.

For more on Ray and Belgrade, read the Yugoslavia Concerts blog.

*Prob. the 28th or 29th. The year was confirmed by band member Al 'Sanifu' Hall, Jr.

25 January 2013

Ray Charles Guesting In The Glen Campbell Radio Show (1984)

Between 1982 and 1986 Narwood Productions syndicated The Music Makers. A subseries was titled Country Close-Up; a weekly one-hour country music radio program presented by Lon Helton and Glen Campbell. Every week another star guested.
Each show contained from 11 to 13 of the guest's famous tunes, cross cut with a studio interview. The program was broadcast by more than 160 radio stations, and attracted up to 8.5 million listeners.
When Ray appeared in the studio, in the week of March 5, 1984, it was Glen's turn to host (both were represented by booking agency Regency Artists). The show was distributed on vinyl; at least one of the  records with Ray's show has survived, as shown by this Ebay ad.

15 January 2013

Ray Charles Ft In This Is My Country (c 1985)

This Is My Country was a 6-minute film, probably sponsored by the United States Department of Commerce.

It shows cliché footage of famous American landmarks, cross cut with scenes of 'ordinary American people' doing ordinary American things.
Ray Charles is heard (and seen for a few seconds) as he performed America The Beautiful. The clip can be watched here.

A 16 mm-copy copy has been archived by the National Archives (#ARC 4478021). BuyoutFootage is offering the clip for licensing.

11 January 2013

Ray Charles In Concert In Tampa (1991)

Pic captured from an
interview that was shot 
this same day for WUSF TV
On April 28, 1990, Ray Charles received an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of South Florida, at the Sun Dome in Tampa. "When Charles, in cap and gown, was officially awarded his degree, the crowd again erupted," a local newspaper wrote. The next year, on February 15, 1991*, Ray came back at the USF Sun Dome, to perform a big show with the USF Jazz Ensemble, the USF Symphony Orchestra conducted by H.B. Barnum and the USF Gospel Choir. He also brought his own rhythm section. "The 1 1/2-hour production was impeccable throughout. Despite such massive accompaniment, Charles remained the focal point, his soulful voice always pushed to the forefront. Much of this was due to a superb sound mix and the deft hand of Charles' conductor [...]" (source).

Drummer David Rokeach shared an interesting story with me, regarding a pro video recording:
"It was unique in that Ray wanted to do something nice for the University that gave him [the] honorary degree. There was no money to be made [for him, but we] got paid. Ray donated this performance. He brought H.B. Barnum to conduct, and his rhythm section of me, Kenny Carr, and Ben[oît] Grey. We rehearsed with a student big band, symphony orchestra, and a very young Gospel choir. Then played a show with all three groups. It was the longest Ray Charles show that I ever did. He played a lot of material including Old Man River which he didn't bring out very often.
He paid for the concert (and maybe some rehearsals too) to be videotaped and recorded professionally. He was going to donate the video to the University. I stayed in touch with some University folks for a year or so afterwards. They said, at the time, that they never received the video. I saw Ray a few years later and asked him about it. He said that he might put it out as part of a package."
The tapes most proably still are in the vaults of RPM, at the Ray Charles Foundation in Los Angeles.

* My sources are not entirely clear on the dates mentioned in this article; I have reconstructed the most probable timeline.

08 January 2013

Ray Charles Ft. In 19th Annual Music City News Country Awards (1985)

Ray Charles and Willie Nelson were among the 5 nominees for the Duet of the year Award at the 19th Annual Music City News Country Awards, telecast live from the Opry House in Nashville on June 10, 1985, no doubt for their recording of Seven Spanish Angels, as released on Ray's album Friendship (February 1985). They possibly performed that tune during the show, but there's only proof of a performance (see clip below), where Ray sang with other duet partners:
  • Friendship (with Ricky Skaggs)
  • Rock And Roll Shoes (with B.J. Thomas)
  • Who Cares (with Janie Fricke)
  • This Old Heart (Is Gonna Rise Again) (with The Oak Ridge Boys)
  • Friendship (with Ricky Skaggs, B.J. Thomas, Janie Fricke, The Oak Ridge Boys)

All these tunes were also part of the Friendship album, but on the elpee Ray did the duet on the song "Friendship" with George Jones.
The Music City News was a country music publication. The broadcaster most probably was TNN (The Nashville Network).