The greatness of Ray Charles is without question. Over the course of a musical career that spanned nearly six decades, Charles contributed his talents to over 100 albums, performed thousands of shows, appeared in movies like The Blues Brothers and inspired the 2004 film Ray, which won Jamie Foxx an Academy Award for his portrayal of the R&B great. Charles scored dozens of hits, received the President's Merit Award and Kennedy Center Honors, among other accolades, and was one of the original inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
On September 23, 2013 - what would have been Brother Ray's 83rd birthday - Concord Records will release Ray Charles Forever, a two-disc CD/DVD set in honor of the issuing of an official Ray Charles "Music Icons ForeverŪ" stamp by the United States Post Office. The twelve-song set features Charles' performances of classic songs like "A Song For You," "Imagine," "Till There Was You," "America The Beautiful," and the previously unreleased "They Can't Take That Away From Me."
The accompanying DVD offers 20 minutes of rare live performances by the legend, including "Imagine" from the 1998 Goodwill Games and "A Song For You" from the 1997 North Sea Jazz Fest, as well as interviews from the BBC's "Live In London" from 1986 and Norman Seef's "The Session Project" from the previous year. A special edition of Ray Charles Forever will be available only through the post office or the USPS website and will include the bonus track "I Didn't Know What Time It Was." The digital version only includes the twelve songs from the regular release.
"No matter how many awards and accolades he received, Mr. Charles was genuinely humbled by each and every honor. To him, it meant people appreciated what he loved doing so much - his music," said Valerie Ervin, President of the Ray Charles Foundation in a press release for the album. "Georgia On My Mind, "Hit The Road Jack," "What'd I Say" and "I've Got A Woman" are among the many hits that are standards and meet the test of time. But to mark this momentous occasion, I selected songs that also exemplify the forever quality of his performances." Ervin is co-executive producer of Ray Charles Forever along with John Burk of the Concord Music Group.
Photo courtesy Concord Records