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Super Genius

27 APR 09 DAVID VIENNA

Genius: The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection is exactly as the title suggest -- an ultimate collection and pure genius. The disc includes pretty much every major Ray Charles hit or favorite from his entire, genre-bouncing career.

I don't need to convince you of the sheer joy of Charles' seminal versions of songs like Percy Mayfield's "Hit The Road Jack" or Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind." (If I do, let me be the first to welcome you back from the bomb shelter where clearly you have lived for the last 65 years. I also hate to inform you that whole Nuclear Armageddon thing never actually came to fruition.)

What I will tell you is this disc belongs in the collection of anyone who considers themselves a fan of stellar music. It features everything from the astounding R&B cut "I Got A Woman," recently sampled by Kanye West, to an affecting take on Hank Williams' "Take These Chains From My Heart."

Closing the disc are two stunning tracks. First up, Charles unique rendition of The Beatles' "Yesterday" brims with gravely heartache, making the track seem like a wholly American tale. And appropriately, the last song is his quintessential version of "America The Beautiful."

With 21 wonderful tracks in all, this disc serves as an easy reminder why the word genius is often applied to Charles. Keep an eye out for more releases from his vast catalog in the coming year.

in this playlist.



Valerie June - Pushin\' Against a Stone