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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Soul > Ray Charles Live w/Edmonton Orchestra

Ray Charles Live In Concert with The Edmonton Symphony


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Concert: B-



Taped on January 27th 1981, Ray Charles Live In Concert with The Edmonton Symphony is a short and somewhat effective Ray Charles concert taped especially for television, which explains its too-short 48 minutes running time.  Charles is more laidback than usual, with event the most rocking of the following songs being done in more Pop style than usual:


1)     Riding Thumb

2)     Busted

3)     Georgia On My Mind

4)     Oh, What A Beautiful Morning

5)     Some Enchanted Evening

6)     Hit The Road Jack

7)     I Can’t Stop Loving You

8)     Take These Chains From My Heart

9)     I Can See Clearly Now

10)  What’d I Say

11)  America The Beautiful



Of course, this was at the time Ronald Reagan first became President and Charles was roundly criticized for supporting him, and the name-calling and accusations got very ugly.  Rock, Blues and R&B fans were roundly criticizing him for selling his music down the river and the lightweight nature of this concert is an example of why, but it is still a very musical experience and Charles was (without being an apologist) tailoring it to the accompanying orchestra, so some criticisms are not as solid.  With Charles gone, his last album a big hit and the film Ray arriving theatrically with much buzz, this is a title that will suddenly gain new interest.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image was shot on NTSC analog videotape and it shows its age, but this is about as clean and clear as this is going to get in the DVD format, with consistent color and some detail.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 remix is a bit better than the 2.0 Stereo, but neither can cover the age of the recording and its flaws.  There are no extras, but Ray Charles Live In Concert with The Edmonton Symphony is one for the books, one of many chapters in a legendary life.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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