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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Rainy Night in Georgia

Today, I decided to write about one of my favourite artists of all time and one of my favourite songs of his. To me, it doesn't get much better than Ray Charles. Maybe Louis Armstrong, but I think that's it. I cannot do anything else while listening to those two because I usually end up closing my eyes and moving my head around and dropping whatever I was doing. I just love Ray and everything about his music; his piano playing is genius, his songs are wonderful, have so much depth and his singing is nothing short of phenomenal. I feel that because he can offer so much with his interpretations, his singing and playing, and his profound understanding of music, all of his songs are so abundant and flavorful.
Ray Charles Robinson was born in 1930, in Georgia, USA. He had his share of adversities in his childhood. He got blind by the age of seven and afterwards he was sent to a charity school for the blind, which was segregated (yes, you read that right – segregated school for the blind). When he was four, his brother drowned, when he was ten, his father died, and when he was fifteen, his mother passed away, too. But in spite of all this, he had a very positive outlook on life, which I think is amazing and inspiring. I watched an interview a while back, where the interviewer was listing all the bad things Ray's been through and asking him how he got through it, but when he finished, Ray simply disregarded him, saying how that's just one side and one way of looking at life, how on the other hand he experienced so many great things in life and that those are way more important and outweigh the bad things.
I could spend a lot of time talking about his life, but I'd rather just recommend you a wonderful movie about it, called Ray. If you haven't seen it already, you should do it as soon as possible because it nicely shows his story, which is amazing, and even if you're not interested in Ray Charles, you should watch it, because it's a great movie with some amazing acting.
Ok, here's the song. It's so full and rich, that when you listen to it, you should really try to savour every part of it.


Rainy Night in Georgia can be found on the album called ‘The Genius Hits the Road’ and if you like Ray Charles and enjoyed this song, you should definitely give it a listen. And also in case there’s anyone out there interested in his music, but doesn’t know much about it, I think you should listen to ‘Blues + Jazz’ to get a feel of early Ray and ‘Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music’ because it is just wonderful. I might be biased, but as far as his compilation albums are concerned, for example ‘The Essence of Ray Charles’, I think everyone should own a copy, just because Ray Charles is so amazing.

Back to the song. I love it and I think it’s amazing. It has so many intricacies and details. The first time I heard it, I just listened to it couple of times every day. I found it especially wonderful when it’s raining and dark outside, with a pint of beer next to me.

As I mentioned before, I absolutely LOVE Ray's singing. He puts so much emotion and soul into it. I feel that all of the shouts, groans and moans just happen naturally, because he can’t keep in all of the emotions and passion he’s feeling. I think this song embodies all that and a lot more.

His singing and playing isn’t just plain singing and playing, it’s much more. It’s really feeling the song and music in it and conveying those feelings. Just try to pay attention to how high and low he’s singing, to overall feeling of his singing and to all of the details in it; all of the “oh yeahs”, the talking and the sighs he puts in between, the drunken ending, how his singing is completely different depending on what he’s saying, how his voice is raspy at one point and more smooth at another, the articulation and so on. I could go on and on, because there’s just so much happening. And that’s just his singing we’re talking about. Then you add the backing music and his wonderful playing and that takes the richness of the song to a whole new level. I get really excited just writing about all of this.

He said one time, that he’s unable to sing any song the same way twice, because when he sings, it’s what he’s feeling in that particular moment that dictates his singing. I think that we can all understand what he means just by listening to this song, because it’s obvious that everything he does here is not learned beforehand and that it’s something that exists only in the passing moment.

I respect Ray Charles and have deep appreciation of his music, and right now I just feel happy and humble to be writing about him and his song. I realize not everyone feels about him this way, but I hope that after reading this, you might see something in him that you never noticed before and start enjoying his music in a different way.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I really appreciated the song in a different way because of your post. I especially love the thought that his singing is so full of emotion that he can never sing any song the same way twice.

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