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  • Writer's pictureR’nR With Rylo

Spin #108 : Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music Vol.1 and 2 : Ray Charles


Welcome to our 108th Spin at R'nR with Rylo! This week I have chosen the Vinyl Me! Please release of 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music' by 'The Genius' - Ray Charles. This LP contains both volumes that were released in 1962 and is possibly the best sounding version of these songs ever released. They have made volume one in the red colour scheme (red matching vinyl) and volume two in the white colour scheme (clear vinyl). It is also the only Ray Charles album that we have in our collection but after listening to this one again it has made me add a few of his earlier albums to our want list. This week we have been a bit under the weather and trying to continue on with busy schedules. In a couple of weeks time we will be heading away for family wedding and we are trying to get everything sorted before then.

I was a bit bummed out on Friday driving home because a rock hit my windscreen on our new car, causing a pretty decent chip in the window. Luckily I have a windscreen that will get fixed for free and will need to organise that on Monday. I don't like things damaging cars, especially when it's outside of our control and it seems to happen too much to us. Luckily this record has helped soothe my active mind and the rhythm & blues approach to country and western music is a combination that I needed. For this Spin I have used our set up in the front room again because the kids were taking some time to rest in the loungeroom watching the Postman Pat movie. Our son has finished his first term of kindergarten and is now on school holidays while our almost 'Threenager' woke up a bit sick - we think water on snotty/flemmy nose after not eating dinner was the cause. I think Night Kat Kiz and I will make a cuppa and sit back to enjoy this one.

The track list is split on the back of the tri-fold sleeve and strangely in a back-to-front style. I guess they wanted to match the volume one side with the front cover but it does feel oddly put together. Volume one and two tend to have the approach of fast song/slow song and it works well. I know that Charles really wanted to make this album because of his love for the Country & Western genre. That doesn't mean he didn't cop a lot of crap for it and it pissed off a lot of people in the '60s by making these records. Some of my favourite tracks from volume one are - 'YOU DON'T KNOW ME', 'I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT HURTS', 'I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU' and 'HEY, GOOD LOOKIN'. I know that this one has been added to streaming services, so you are able to listen to this one if you weren't able to find a copy on wax. I like how timeless volume one sounds as it spins on our turntable and the red wax looks so out of place with such an old sound. I am so used to hearing a Blue Note record or similar label where it's that classic black wax.

Vinyl Me! Please have done a fantastic job at pressing this album and you can distinctly feel the weight of this heavyweight 180gram LP. I've swapped LP1 for LP2 and now the clear vinyl is starting to spin on our turntable. The music makes me want to close my eyes and soak in all that we are hearing. I asked our son what he would give this one out of 5 stars and he said 60. His math's are a bit off considering he is only a kindergartner, but his appreciation of music is second to none. He was humming along to the next song, 'NO LETTER TODAY' and it was nice hearing him happy and seeing him smile. I was explaining to him about Ray Charles being blind and unable to see his piano. He couldn't believe it! Then he said, "Yes Dad, when he takes his glasses off he can see again". I told him that wasn't the case. While I was explaining this, his sister accidentally knocked over his Lego spaceship and it fell apart. This caused them to run off and get upset, missing the next couple of tracks. I didn't take a photo of the clear record playing but it sounds just as clear as the red pressed wax of LP1. I've found sometimes that the clear variants sound worse, but not in this case.

Yesterday, we took the remote control car out the back and made some jumps for it to launch over. Unfortunately that car is now in 'Daddy's workshop' because the front right wheel keeps coming off. It seems like a manufacturer fault and I'm coming up with ideas on how to keep it on - glue hasn't worked. As volume two plays, you can hear the big band feel coming through the speaker and the bassline is getting the feet tapping. I like the inclusion of the 'Raelets' on volume two. The song 'OH, LONESOME ME' has got our son in better spirits again after his spaceship broke and is helping him find calm as he rebuilds it. Our daughter has been so cute lately when we pick her up from daycare. She has to wave to her friends as she is getting into the car and often they are waiting at the fence for her. She yells out, "Bye Friends" and then is happy to be buckled into her seat. If we try and buckle her in without her saying goodbye......we are in trouble.

One of my favourite tracks where you can really appreciate his piano playing is the song on Side B of LP2 - 'YOUR CHEATING HEART'. The harmonies that support Charles are heavenly and brings back the feeling of wanting to watch old classic movies. I'll have to show our kids an old school cowboy /western movie these school holidays. I took a photo below, showing the inside of the tri-fold and the iconic picture of Ray Charles smiling as the steam rises from him. I like when a record is produced with liner notes or something to connect more with the album. If you want the complete opposite - check out 'Donda' by Kanye West where everything is black across the 4 x LP set. I think it is because of grieving but is nothing at all.

On songs like 'I'LL NEVER STAND IN YOUR WAY' and 'TEARDROPS IN MY HEART', you can see why he was such an icon and beloved artist. What has been your favourite volume? I honestly don't know which volume I prefer because there are no real weak songs across the set list. I didn't have time this week to look at the original songs Charles covered in this collection, so I can't compare them to their C&W originals. All I know is this album helped promote and boost the popularity of the genre back in the '60s.

Thanks for joining us for another Spin from the R'nR with Rylo collection. If you get a chance to add this record to your collection, don't hesitate. If you aren't lucky enough to find a copy then make sure you stream this one in the car or through a speaker at home. It really does create a calming atmosphere and lets face it - we all need more rest and relaxation in our lives. The world is full of terrible and dark things but if we look at the kindness and good that filters through the bad, we can find enough to keep us grounded and content. We will be enjoying the sunshine today on this fine Sunday in April of 2024 and making sure we recharge our batteries. The kids don't need their batteries recharged, they seem to have full batteries all of the time.

Until our next Spin......

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