Tag Archives: Billy Sherrill

Undiscovered Ray Charles Masters are Released by Concord Records

24 Sep

Concord Records is celebrating the 80th birthday of the legendary Ray Charles with a special gift for his legions of fans: Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters. This treasure trove of newly discovered recordings, highlighted by a duet with fellow icon Johnny Cash, will become available on October 26th, 2010.

Culled from four decades worth of demos and other previously unreleased material, Rare Genius showcases the remarkable artistic vision, stylistic range and emotionally rich vocals that crafted Charles enduring legacy. Listening to the ten gems from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s that comprise this CD, fans will have no trouble envisioning the late singer rocking back and forth at the piano as he effortlessly segues between R&B/soul, pop, country and gospel. “Ray would always get inside the meaning of a lyric and make the listener believe every word,” says Concord Music Group Chief Creative Officer, John Burk. “His vocals carried incredible emotion and intensity, even on demo tapes. What we have here with Rare Genius is on par with some of his greatest works.”

And that’s crystal clear right from the album’s sparkling opener, “Love’s Gonna Bite You Back.” The March 1980 session track features an upbeat horn arrangement behind what Rare Genius liner notes author Bill Dahl calls “a Charles vocal that’s a signature mixture of sandpaper grit and heavenly goodness.” Up next is the stunning ballad “It Hurts to Be in Love,” which underscores the album’s main thematic focus and one of Charles’ favorite subjects: the ups and down of romance. Another compelling standout is the gospel-stirred Charles and Cash duet on Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me, Lord?” Discovered in the Sony vaults, the song was produced by Billy Sherrill in Nashville and recorded in 1981 for an anticipated release on a CBS album. For unknown reasons, that didn’t come to pass. What’s more important, however, is the emotional charge you get listening to these two powerful voices come together in this spirited and inspired pairing.

Except for “Lord,” the nine other Rare Genius tracks including the soul-drenched “I Don’t Want No One But You,” a blues-infused cover of songwriter Hank Cochran’s country classic “A Little Bitty Tear” and the joyous “I’m Gonna Keep on Singin'” were found in the vault at Charles’ R.P.M. International Studios in Los Angeles. Adding a little sweetening to some of the sparse, stripped-down tracks was a team of top-notch musicians and artists: guitarists Keb’ Mo’ and George Doering, organist Bobby Sparks, trumpeter Gray Grant, trombonist Alan Kaplan, bassists Trey Henry and Chuck Berghofer, drummers Gregg Field and Ray Brinker and background vocalist Eric Benet.

As with its Concord predecessor, 2004’s Grammy-winning Album of the Year Genius Loves Company, Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters is another fitting tribute to Charles, who would have turned 80 on September 23, 2010. It’s a fresh, vibrant reaffirmation of the music icon’s unparalleled artistry and legacy.


George Jones Classic LPs Re-Released on CD

1 Apr

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Two classic Billy Sherrill-produced albums from the early ‘70s to be housed on a single CD, due out April 7.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The original liner notes from 1972 say it all: “George Jones has been around long enough to be a household name to country music fans. Even though his unique phrasing and style, his trademarks, are still the same as his ‘The Race Is On’ and ‘White Lightnin’’ days, there’s a subtle difference — a mellowing that comes from years of experience combined with the teaming of super-talented George and equally talented producer Billy Sherrill.” On April 7, 2009, two of Jones’ signature Sherrill-produced albums, A Picture of Me and Nothing Ever Hurts Me, will be reissued as a single CD by American Beat Records, now part of the Collectors’ Choice Music family of labels.

Both A Picture of Me and Nothing Ever Hurts Me are regarded as George Jones classics, and both are recipient of rare five-star reviews on AllMusic.com. A Picture of Me reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Country Album chart and featured two Top 10 smashes — the title track and “What My Woman Can’t Do.” A world-class songwriter in his own right, Jones nonetheless employed several of Nashville’s finest to write many of the songs on these albums — then-wife Tammy Wynette (“Wine [You’ve Used Me Long Enough]”), Tom T. Hall (“Second Handed Flowers, ” “Never Having You”), Lefty Frizzell (“Mom and Dad’s Waltz”), Bobby Braddock (“Nothing Ever Hurt Me [Half As Bad as Losing You]”), Freddy Weller and Spooner Oldham (“She Loves Me [Right Out of Mind]”) and Peanut Montgomery (“The Man Worth Lovin’ You, ” “We Found a Match”). In addition, The Jordanaires, best known as vocal accompanists on many of Elvis Presley’s hits, provide background vocals here.

In the space of two short years, American Beat Records has made a name for itself as a reissue label concentrating on ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s power pop and country. Collectors’ Choice Music is proud to announce that American Beat has joined its list of imprints (along with Noble Rot and Hep Cat Records), and that the label will continue to put out key Americana releases, including upcoming deluxe reissues from the Del-Lords and the Paley Brothers!