The Birth of Soul

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The Birth of Soul
Box set by Ray Charles
Released October 1, 1991
Recorded 1952-1959
Genre Rhythm and blues[1]
Length 2:28:48
Label Atlantic
Producer Herb Abramson, Ahmet Ertegün, and Jerry Wexler
Ray Charles chronology
Rhythm & Blues: Ray Charles - 1954-1966
(1991)
The Birth of Soul
(1991)
His Greatest Hits (Ray Charles album)
(1992)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Down Beat 5/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[4]

The Birth of Soul: The Complete Atlantic Rhythm and Blues Recordings is a 3-CD box set compilation by Ray Charles, released in 1991.

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review, Peter Watrous of The New York Times said that the box set "tracks the progress of a figure who profoundly changed what was possible in American music."[5] He ranked it as the twelfth best album of 1991.[6] The Birth of Soul was voted the third best reissue of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 1991.[7]

In 2003, the album was ranked number 53 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[8] In a retrospective article for the magazine, Robert Christgau wrote that, despite "caveats" such as material repeated on more "economic" releases, The Birth of Soul is "the rockingest Charles long-form you can buy" and remarked on the legacy of its recordings:

Although Charles' fabled blues-gospel synthesis is on display from 'I Got a Woman' to 'I Believe to My Soul,' 'birth of soul' gets the emphasis wrong. Seldom conventionally catchy, this Robert Palmer-annotated collection epitomizes a world-historic catchall of a genre that Charles could only describe as 'genuine down-to-earth Negro music' — namely, rhythm & blues. Crack bands, first Atlantic's and then his own, underpin his rich, gravelly vocals with hard-hitting grooves of deceptive rhythmic and harmonic complexity. Halfway in, a female backup group soon to be known as the Raelettes starts shoring up his male voice and egging it on, an innovation that became a cliche so fast people think it was always there.[1]

Christgau recommended Rhino Entertainment's 1994 compilation album The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years as a cheaper alternative to the box set.[1]

Track listing[edit]

Disc 1 (1952-1954)[edit]

  1. "The Sun's Gonna Shine Again" (Charles) - 2:36
  2. "Roll With My Baby" (Charles) - 2:35
  3. "The Midnight Hour " (Sweet) - 2:59
  4. "Jumpin' in the Mornin'" (Charles) - 2:44
  5. "It Should Have Been Me" (Memphis Curtis) - 2:42
  6. "Losing Hand" (Charles Calhoun) - 3:11
  7. "Heartbreaker" (Nugetre aka Ertegün) - 2:51
  8. "Sinner's Prayer" (Lowell Fulson, Lloyd Glenn) - 3:21
  9. "Mess Around" (Nugetre aka Ertegün) - 2:38
  10. "Funny But I Still Love You" (Charles) - 3:12
  11. "Feelin' Sad" (Eddie Jones) - 2:47
  12. "I Wonder Who" (Charles) - 2:47
  13. "Don't You Know" (Charles) - 2:55
  14. "Nobody Cares" (Charles) - 2:37
  15. "Ray's Blues" (Charles) - 2:52
  16. "Mr. Charles' Blues" (Charles) - 2:45
  17. "Blackjack" (Charles) - 2:18

Disc 2 (1954-1957)[edit]

  1. "I Got a Woman" (Charles, Renald Richard) - 2:50
  2. "Greenbacks" (Charles, Richard) - 2:48
  3. "Come Back Baby" (Charles) - 3:04
  4. "A Fool for You" (Charles) - 3:00
  5. "This Little Girl of Mine" (Charles) - 2:30
  6. "Hard Times" (Charles) - 2:53
  7. "A Bit of Soul" (Charles) - 2:17
  8. "Mary Ann" (Charles) - 2:45
  9. "Drown in My Own Tears" (Henry Glover) - 3:19
  10. "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" (Charles) - 2:34
  11. "What Would I Do Without You?" (Charles) - 2:34
  12. "Lonely Avenue" (Doc Pomus) - 2:33
  13. "I Want to Know" (Charles) - 2:09
  14. "Leave My Woman Alone" (Charles) - 2:38
  15. "It's Alright" (Charles) - 2:15
  16. "Ain't That Love" (Charles) - 2:51
  17. "Get on the Right Track" (Titus Turner) - 2:17
  18. "RockHouse (Parts 1 & 2)" (Charles) - 3:51

Disc 3 (1957-1959)[edit]

  1. "Swanee River Rock" (Charles) - 2:18
  2. "That's Enough" (Charles) - 2:43
  3. "Talkin' 'Bout You" (Charles) - 2:49
  4. "What Kind of Man Are You" (Charles) - 2:47
  5. "I Want a Little Girl" (Murray Mencher, Billy Moll) - 2:53
  6. "Yes Indeed" (Sy Oliver) - 2:14
  7. "I Had a Dream" (Charles, Ricky Harper) - 2:52
  8. "You Be My Baby" (Charles, Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman) - 2:28
  9. "Tell All the World About You" (Charles) - 2:01
  10. "My Bonnie" (Charles) - 2:44
  11. "Early in the Morning" (Dallas Bartley, Leo Hickman, Louis Jordan) - 2:43
  12. "The Right Time" (Lew Herman) - 3:26
  13. "Carryin' the Load" (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman) - 2:22
  14. "Tell Me How Do You Feel" (Charles, Percy Mayfield) - 2:42
  15. "What'd I Say (Parts 1 & 2)" (Charles) - 6:26
  16. "Tell the Truth" (Lowman Pauling) - 3:03
  17. "I'm Movin' On" (Hank Snow) - 2:20
  18. "I Believe to My Soul" (Charles) - 2:59

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (July 8, 2004). "The Genius at Work". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ "Review: The Birth of Soul". Down Beat (Chicago): 36. March 1992. 
  4. ^ Considine, J. D.; Matos, Michaelangelo et al. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 154. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  5. ^ Watrous, Peter (December 15, 1991). "POP MUSIC; Already Boxed and Suitable for Wrapping". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ Watrous, Peter (January 1, 1992). "The Pop Life; Top 12's, or So". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ "The 1991 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice (New York). March 3, 1992. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone (New York): 112. December 11, 2003. 

External links[edit]