Concord Records has released the long awaited Surround Sound Super Audio CD edition of Ray Charles’ final album. Entitled Genius Loves Company, the album features Charles performing duets with 12 well known recording stars including Norah Jones, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Elton John, Natalie Cole, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis and Van Morrison. The album is the product of a collaboration between Concord Records and the Hear Music division of Starbucks.
The CD Audio version of the album was released two weeks ago and has been a strong seller. Evidence of this was the album’s debut at the #2 position on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.
Comments from the Singer
In describing the album, Ray Charles is quoted as saying “I’ve recorded with so many amazing artists in my career but never on a duets album all my own. I thought it was time to have some of the friends that I love and the artists that I admire come into my studio and sing with me live. All the guests brought their own magic to each song. That’s what we wanted and that’s exactly what we got.”
Charles went on to note that “We cover it all, from country to R&B, pop, rock and blues. I’ve never let them put me in a little box, and this CD expresses that open feeling. A beautiful song is a beautiful song—and to sing with so many beautiful singers is a blessing from God.”
Production Team and Surround Sound Mix
Genius Loves Company features an all star production team that includes John Burk, Phil Ramone, Terry Howard and Herb Waltl. The SACD has a 5.1 Surround Sound mix done by Al Schmitt assisted by Steve Genewick and Bill Smith at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA. The 5.1 Surround Sound track was mastered by Doug Sax and Robert Hadley at The Mastering Lab.
The SACD Surround Sound mix is very good with standout tracks including the duet with Norah Jones (which features a tasty organ solo by Billy Preston), Fever with Natalie Cole (which features some subtle percussion in the surround channels), It Was A Very Good Year with Willie Nelson (which features a full orchestra that is highlighted in the surround channels) and Heaven Help Us All with Gladys Knight (which has a gospel choir in the surround channels).
1. Here We Go Again (with Norah Jones)
2. Sweet Potato Pie (with James Taylor)
3. You Don’t Know Me (with Diana Krall)
4. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (with Elton John)
5. Fever (with Natalie Cole)
6. Do I Ever Cross Your Mind (with Bonnie Raitt)
7. It Was A Very Good Year (with Willie Nelson)
8. Hey Girl (with Michael McDonald)
9. Sinner’s Prayer (with B.B. King)
10. Heaven Help Us All (with Gladys Knight)
11. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (with Johnny Mathis)
12. Crazy Love (with Van Morrison)
The SACD Suround Sound edition of Genius Loves Company by Ray Charles is now in stock and available from music stores such as Tower Records as well as web sites that carry SACDs including Acoustic Sounds, CD Universe, Elusive Disc, Music Direct and Red Trumpet.
The Genius Loves Company SACD comes in a Super Deluxe Jewel Box case rather than a standard SACD case. You’ll want to keep that in mind when looking for the SACD, since it may wind up in the DVD Audio bin in many stores – as did Concord’s last SACD release (Ultimate Mancini) which also appeared in a DVD Audio case.