Tuesday, December 01, 2015

That Other Ray

I was surprised to discover recently that Ray Charles has passed away this year at the ripe old age of 96.  To be honest, I wasn't aware that he was still alive, but it's my own fault for not checking.  I've been preaching the gospel of the other Ray and his Christmas tunes since 2005, so this year marks 10 years!  Just in case you've somehow missed it for all this time, here's Ray's official Christmas record, The Ray Charles Singers-Here We Come A-Caroling (MGM E3467, Mono, 1956).

1. Here We Come A Caroling
2. Silent Night
3. Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly
4. The First Noel
5. O, Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
6. Lullay, Thou Little Tiny Child
7. Angels We Have Heard On High
8. What Child Is This (Greensleeves)
9. I Saw Three Ships
10. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
11. Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabelle
12. Away In A Manger
13. Good King Wenceslas
14. O, Little Town Of Bethlehem
15. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
16. We Three Kings Of Orient Are
17. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
18. Rise Up, Shepherd, An' Foller
19. Joy To The World
20. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
21. Here We Come A Caroling

  And then there's this...I'm still not entirely sure about this one, though I first shared it with you in 2006.  This LP has the same tracklisting as Here We Come A-Caroling, but it's in stereo.  Is it a re-recording?  Is it fake stereo?  Was the original recorded in multi-channel years before that was a common practice, then remixed?  It's going to take some serious sleuthing to figure all that out, and I don't have the drive.  So maybe you can figure it out.  Just leave me a comment with your answer.  Either way, this is The Ray Charles Singers-Christmas At Home (MGM SE-4166, 1963).

If two albums of (the same?) Christmas music isn't enough for you, here's a seasonally inspired LP from Mr. Charles and his singers.  I think it's every bit as good as the Christmas record, which is doubly impressive since he cranked it out in the same year.  So don't be afraid to download The Ray Charles Singers-Winter Wonderland (MGM E3387, Mono, 1956). This is a 2012 remaster of something I've been sharing since way back in 2005.

1. Winter Wonderland
2. Button Up Your Overcoat
3. June In January
4. When Winter Comes
5. Snowfall
6. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
7. Winter & Theme For Indoor Sports
8. Moonlight In Vermont
9. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
10. When Winter Comes A-Callin'
11. Jingle Bells
12. By The Fireside


While you're here, you may as well go ahead and download the other three seasons...   Set these aside for now and break them out when seasonally appropriate.  You'll be glad you did.

The Ray Charles Singers-Spring Is Here (MGM E3162, Mono, 1956).

The Ray Charles Singers-Summertime (MGM E3529, Mono, 1957).

The Ray Charles Singers-Autumn Nocturne (MGM E3145, Mono, 1954).


Still not enough?  Find a couple more tracks here and here.


barba said...

the other ray charles is certainly a man for all seasons... gotta love that rendition of "let it snow". but maybe you ought to quit while you're ahead. i'm not sure the world is ready for any alternative james browns or aretha franklins.

Mark Spencer said...

A great group and a great share!

I lined up the stereo "Christmas at Home" and the mono "Here We Come A-Caroling" tracks of "Deck the Halls" in Audacity. They match perfectly. The "Christmas..." album is definitely a re-release in fake "stereo."

Discogs.com lists "Christmas..." as a mono release from 1963. I didn't see any mention of "Here We Come..." listed. Perhaps "Here We Come..." is a re-release of "Christmas at Home." The graphics look more modern.

Thanks for all your shares!

Ernie said...

I, for one, would welcome The Other James Brown. Maybe not The Other Aretha, though. That's just one step too far...

Dirk said...

The 1963 "Christmas At Home" is the re-release in fake stereo. "Here We Come-A-Caroling" was originally released (in mono) in 1956 by MGM (E-3467).

Kwork said...

Love the other Ray. Thanks for bringing back these albums!

Alberto Cos said...

Both Kwork & Mark are right: 'Christmas at home' is new mix of 'Here We Come-A-Caroling' -upper trebel, a spoonful of rever and in all a better sound. One of the best choir Xmas album I know all along with their 'Winter Wonderland'. Many thanks for re-posting'em!

P. S. Disgracefully, Ray 'The Genius' Charles recorded his only Xmas album too late in his career. And this brings me a new question in mind. Is there any black choir Xmas album one should search for?

FootballRugby said...

I am sorry to say "The Ray Charles Singers-Spring Is Here (MGM E3162, Mono, 1956)." is not working the link is dead :o(

FootballRugby said...

didn't you post that Ferrante & Teicher Snowbound album on year ?