Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ray Charles: Crying Time

Today was a great day for me. Ray Charles' "Crying Time" was released digitally on iTunes, along with nineteen other old releases that had, until now, been only available on vinyl, if you could find them. 

The CD boom was really blowing up when I was going to school at SIU in Carbondale, Illinois. If you were selling a used CD it would easily go for $9. It was the new format that was all the rage. But of course, albums, those huge black stabs with grooves in them, were also still in vogue. I remember going into the Record Exchange there, always looking for new music, and I realized that I had no Ray Charles. But what to buy? I mean, the guy had a large catalog, and I wanted just the right album.

So I asked the old hipster behind the counter: If I were to buy just one of these albums from Brother Ray, which should it be? Ah, he smiled as he saw Crying Time. This is the one. So I bought it, and have loved this album ever since. Released in 1968, it won the Best Rhythm and Blues Recording 1968, and Ray’s recording of “Crying Time” also won the Grammy in the newly created category Best Rhythm and Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Male or Female 1968.

The song was a cover of Buck Owens and charted at #6 on the pop charts, #5 on the R&B charts, and #1 on adult contemporary. The whole album is a treat, as Ray does country as only he can. Here he is with Glen Campbell, singing the title song:

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