Ray Sings, Basie Swings on 140g 2LP Collection from Tangerine Records on September 23

To slightly modify a line from “Let the Good Times Roll” . . . hey y’all, tell everybody Ray Charles is back on wax — and this time, he's got the Count Basie Orchestra with him. To wit: Tangerine Records will re-release the October 2006 album Ray Sings, Basie Swings on vinyl on September 23, 2022.

Originally released by Concord Records, Ray Sings, Basie Swings combined previously unreleased Ray Charles vocal performances from the 1970s with then-newly recorded instrumental tracks by the contemporary Count Basie Orchestra. The Tangerine Records edition of Ray Sings, Basie Swings will be available in a 140g 2LP collection that retails for $35.98, and it can be preordered here in the official Ray Charles Store.

Tangerine Records has confirmed with me directly that a) the vinyl is being pressed by Independent Record Pressing (IRP); b) Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl is the one who cut the lacquers; and c) the vinyl is indeed 140g.

To further whet your whistle, a new video for the signature Ray Sings, Basie Swings track “Let The Good Times Roll” can be seen below:

Some background now, for further context: In 2005, then Concord Records head John Burk (producer of Ray Charles’ August 2004 Grammy-winning collaboration album Genius Loves Company, a record that’s also a personal favorite of mine, btw!) found a reel of tape simply labeled “Ray/Basie.” Said Burk, “I was immediately excited as there were no prior recordings of Ray Charles with the Basie band ... and I practically ran to put the tapes on the machine.”

Alas, what Burk heard on that reel wasn’t Basie and Charles playing together, but rather separate sets during concerts Ray performed in Germany and England. Even so, unknown live recordings of Ray Charles from the 1970s was cause for excitement. Said recording of Ray’s band was obscured by a bad mix, leaving only Charles’ vocal performance audible. At first, the thought was this potentially momentous discovery would be unusable until Burk had the idea to bring the contemporary Count Basie Orchestra into the studio to lay down newly recorded instrumental tracks behind Charles’ vocals. (Basie himself had passed away in 1984, while Charles had passed in 2004, just a few months prior to the release of the aforementioned Genius Loves Company.)

Ray Charles loved Count Basie, and had used Basie’s arrangements as a blueprint for his own arrangements. According to Sid Feller, who probably wrote more Ray Charles big band orchestrations than anyone, Charles would “often point to Basie charts as templates. He wanted that thick harmony in the reeds. He wanted those clean horn punches. He wanted it simple like Basie, and he wanted it strong. Mostly, though, he wanted that Basie swing.”

Charles is heard in top form on these remakes of his early ABC-Paramount-era hits, and other of-era material. The consecutive reworkings of “Busted,” “Crying Time,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” three of his defining Top Ten hits of the early ’60s, are given brassy, bluesy treatments here.

Standards ranging from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” to The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” are transformed in Charles’ hands. The set-closing “Georgia on My Mind,” as close to a signature song as Charles ever had, is given a tender, minimalist reading. Meanwhile, the cut preceding it, “Look What They’ve Done to My Song,” a cover of a fine track by noted folk-pop singer Melanie, is also a highlight of the album.

Burk and his co-producers decided on a single goal: to make Ray Sings, Basie Swings sound like a genuine, heart-to-heart collaboration (their words). To create the impression that the music on Ray Sings, Basie Swings was actually performed together, the editing process took the production team four months, all told. The end result is certainly a compelling collaboration, even if it didn’t happen in real time.



140g 2LP (Tangerine Records)

Side A
1. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
2. Let The Good Times
3. How Long Has This Been Going On?

Side B
1. Every Saturday Night
2. Busted
3. Crying Time
4. I Can’t Stop Loving You

Side C
1. Come Live With Me
2. Feel So Bad
3. The Long And Winding Road

Side D
1. Look What They’ve Done To My Song
2. Georgia On My Mind

Elubow's picture

This was released by Pure Audiophile Records on 180 gram in 2007.

Elubow's picture

This was released by Pure Audiophile Records on 180 gram in 2007.