Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
Ray Charles

Volume 1- 3.5 out of 5 stars
Volume 2- 2 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson

Brother Ray doing Country and Western? It begs the question, was Ray deaf as well as blind? When he was asked if he wanted to do a Country and Western album, did he think he was being asked if he wanted to stay at the Best Western Inn?

In reality, Ray listened to The Grand Ole Opry as a child and played with the Florida Playboys, a hillbilly band, so the idea of doing a Country Western album seemed natural to him -- and maybe only to him.

But instead of the nasal noodlings of Slim Whitman or the fiddle flapping of Homer and Jethro, when Charles went into the studio, he laid on high-stepping rhythms, simmering strings, and bold brass, creating "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music." his most enduring musical triumph.

Concord has retooled and remastered Brother Ray's breakthrough album, repackaging it with its aptly named followed up "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music - Volume 2." That's 24 cuts - double the Ray - on one CD, and at least half of it is finger lickin' good.

A Country Classic...Volume One

The first volume kicks off with a raucous rendition of The Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love" This is Country Western? Well, not really. It's got more soul than anything else. Ray howls like a horny wolf when The Raelettes come swinging in, and he does a peppy piano roll solo supported by pounding horns. Try to keep still, I dare you.