Rhino has compiled a massive, eight-disc boxed set containing Ray Charles' entire Atlantic Records catalog. Due Sept. 20 in commemoration of what would have been Charles' 75th birthday, "Ray Charles P
Rhino has compiled a massive, eight-disc boxed set containing Ray Charles' entire Atlantic Records catalog. Due Sept. 20 in commemoration of what would have been Charles' 75th birthday, "Ray Charles Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959)" includes nearly nine hours of music and 165 tracks, highlighted by a disc of 27 unreleased or rare cuts.
A virtually unknown Charles signed to Atlantic in 1952 and spent seven years with the label, recording some of his most seminal work and rising to stardom on the strength of such hits as "What I'd Say," "Swanee River Rock (Talkin' Bout That River)," "A Fool for You," "I've Got a Woman," "Drown in My Own Tears" and "It Should've Been Me."
The rarities disc covers a mix of session outtakes, bits of dialog and songs recorded in 1959 in a hotel room, giving the listener an insight into Charles' creative process. All but three of the tracks have never been released and several steam from a 1953 rehearsal with Atlantic co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, which was dramatized in last year's Jamie Foxx-starring biopic, "Ray."
In addition, the box sports a DVD of Charles' 1960 performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, which has never been commercially available, as well as an interview of Ertegun by "Ray" director Taylor Hackford.
"Complete Atlantic Recordings" will come housed in a replica 1950s record player case. The accompanying 80-page booklet reproduces the liner notes from Charles' original Atlantic LPs and features a new essay by Ertegun and a historical overview by Charles biographer David Ritz.
A 21-time Grammy winner, Charles posthumously received last year's album of the year award for "Genius Loves Company" (Hear/Concord), which has sold more than 3 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.