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SEPTEMBER 24, 2013


United States Postal Service® Ray Charles Music Icons Forever® Stamp Available Nationwide on September 23 (at Post Offices,,

LOS ANGELES, CA – Ray Charles will be commemorated on September 23, 2013, his 83rd birthday, with a United States Postal Service Music Icons Forever® Stamp. Concord Records celebrates the occasion with the release of Ray Charles Forever, a deluxe CD/DVD collection on September 24th.

In addition, Concord Records will be producing a special edition of Ray Charles Forever with an exclusive bonus track, available at major Post Office™ locations across the country, as well as online at and Various launch events will be held across the U.S. to pay tribute to this momentous occasion, including at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, CA and the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

“Ray Charles was a musical genius whose fans spanned the globe. The U.S. Postal Service is delighted to partner with Concord Music Group to announce the release of this new CD featuring the legendary Ray Charles,” said Chief Marketing Officer Nagisa Manabe. “This CD, including an exclusive song never before released, serves as a stellar companion to the limited-edition Ray Charles Forever Stamp the Postal Service is issuing September 23, as the latest addition to the Postal Service’s music icons series,” Manabe said.

Ray Charles Forever features 12 remastered classics and unique gems including
“A Song For You,” “Ring Of Fire,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Imagine,” “America the Beautiful,” and a previously unreleased recording of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”

The 20-minute DVD features rare live performances of “Imagine” (Goodwill Games, 1998), “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” (Earth, 1992), and “A Song For You” (North Sea Jazz Fest, 1997) along with interview segments culled from the BBC’s “Live In London” (1986) and Norman Seeff’s “The Session Project” (1985).

“No matter how many awards and accolades he received, Mr. Charles was genuinely humbled by each and every honor. To him, it meant people appreciated what he loved doing so much—his music,” said Valerie Ervin, President of the Ray Charles Foundation and Executive Producer, of the collection. “Georgia On My Mind, “Hit The Road Jack,” “What’d I Say” and “I’ve Got A Woman” are among the many hits that are standards and meet the test of time. But to mark this momentous occasion, I selected songs that also exemplify the forever quality of his performances.” Ervin is co-Executive Producer of the album along with John Burk, Chief Creative Officer of Concord Music Group. Six-time GRAMMY-winning producer Gregg Field also contributed to the album, producing the unreleased “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” among other tracks.

During a career that spanned some 58 years, Charles performed a total of more than 10,000 concerts, and starred on over 100 albums, many of them top sellers in a variety of musical genres. He received the Lifetime Achievement and the President’s Merit Award, is a recipient of the Presidential Medal For the Arts, Kennedy Center Honors, and France’s Legion of Honor, received the NAACP Image Awards “Hall of Fame Award in 2004, and is one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He appeared in movies such as “The Blues Brothers,” and starred in commercials for Coca-Cola, Diet Pepsi and California Raisins, among numerous others. In 2004, the biopic Ray was released for the world to see the historic life and times of the “Genius.” The movie garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and Jamie Foxx took home the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Ray. Charles’ last public performance was on July 20, 2003, in Alexandria, VA. In 1998, Charles received the Polar Music Award, an award given for significant achievements in music.

Referring to his gift Charles said, “I don’t call myself a blues singer or a jazz singer or a country singer. I just call myself a singer that can sing the blues, a singer that can sing jazz, a singer that knows how to sing country music, but in my own way.”

Deluxe CD/DVD Track Listing

1. Song For You (4:16)

2. I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (3:42)

3. Ring Of Fire (3:11)

4. Come Rain Or Come Shine (3:42)

5. They Can’t Take That Away From Me (4:14)

6. Till There Was You (4:09)

7. Isn’t It Wonderful (4:08

8. None Of Us Are Free (5:05)

9. Imagine (4:29)

10. If I Could (4:57)

11. So Help Me God (4:03)

12. America the Beautiful (3:35)

Bonus Track*

13. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (4:53)

*USPS edition (only) will include bonus track and will be available in Post Offices on September 23.
*Digital version includes the 12 music tracks only.

For more information, please contact:

Lellie Capwell at LPC Media,, 818.384.1180

Concord Music Group – Press Contact
Leah Price: Leah.Price@, 310.385.4234

The Ray Charles Foundation – Press Contact
David Brokaw:, 310.273.2060




NOVEMBER 2, 2010


Unreleased Ray Charles Recordings are the Focus Features Surprise Duet with Johnny Cash Concord Records, Fall, 2010 Release

LOS ANGELES--Concord Records is celebrating the 80th birthday of the legendary Ray Charles with a special gift for his legions of fans: RAY, RARE GENIUS: THE UNDISCOVERED MASTERS. This treasure trove of newly discovered recordings, highlighted by a duet with fellow icon Johnny Cash, became available at physical and digital retailers Oct. 26.

Culled from four decades worth of demos and other previously unreleased material, RARE GENIUS showcases the remarkable artistic vision, stylistic range and emotionally rich vocals that crafted Charles' enduring legacy. Listening to the ten gems from the '70s, '80s and '90s that comprise this CD, fans will have no trouble envisioning the late singer rocking back and forth at the piano as he effortlessly segues between R&B/soul, pop, country and gospel. "Ray would always get inside the meaning of a lyric and make the listener believe every word," says Concord Music Group Exec. VP of A&R John Burk. "His vocals carried incredible emotion and intensity, even on demo tapes. What we have here with RARE GENIUS is on par with some of his greatest works."

And that's crystal clear right from the album's sparkling opener, "Love's Gonna Bite You Back." The March 1980 session track features an upbeat horn arrangement behind what RARE GENIUS liner notes author Bill Dahl calls "A Charles vocal that's a signature mixture of sandpaper grit and heavenly goodness." Up next is the stunning ballad "It Hurts to Be in Love," which underscores the album's main thematic focus and one of Charles' favorite subjects: the ups and down of romance.

Another compelling standout is the gospel-stirred Charles and Cash duet on Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me, Lord?" Discovered in the Sony vaults, the song was produced by Billy Sherrill in Nashville and recorded in 1981 for an anticipated release on a CBS album. For unknown reasons, that didn't come to pass. What's more important, however, is the emotional charge you get listening to these two powerful voices come together in this spirited and inspired pairing.

Except for "Lord," the nine other RARE GENIUS tracks, including the soul-drenched "I Don't Want No One But You," a blues-infused cover of songwriter Hank Cochran's country classic "A Little Bitty Tear" and the joyous "I?m Gonna Keep on Singin" were found in the vault at Charles" R.P.M. International studios in Los Angeles. Adding a little sweetening to some of the sparse, stripped-down tracks was a team of top-notch musicians and artists: guitarists Keb Mo and George Doering, organist Bobby Sparks, trumpeter Gray Grant, trombonist Alan Kaplan, bassists Trey Henry and Chuck Berghofer, drummers Gregg Field and Ray Brinker and background vocalist Eric Benet.

As with its Concord predecessor, 2004's Grammy-winning Album of the Year "Genius Loves Company," "Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters," is another fitting tribute to Charles, who would have turned 80 on Sept. 23. It's a fresh, vibrant reaffirmation of the music icon's unparalleled artistry and legacy.

Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters


1. Love's Gonna Bite You Back

2. It Hurts To Be in Love (Julius Dixon-Rudolph Toombs)

3. Wheel of Fortune (Bennie Benjamin-George David Weiss)

4. I'm Gonna Keep on Singin'

5. There'll Be Some Changes Made (William Blackstone-Benton Overstreet)

6. Isn't It Wonderful (Limuel Taylor-Joel Webster)

7. I Don't Want No One But You

8. A Little Bitty Tear (Hank Cochran)

9. She's Gone

10. Why Me, Lord? featuring Johnny Cash (Kris Kristofferson)




FEBRUARY 22, 2010


The genius of Ray Charles is the focus of a major celebration being launched in honor of the pioneering artist, who would have turned 80 on Sept. 23, 2010. Signaled by the recent re-launch of the web site, “The Ray Charles 80th Birthday Celebration” will ultimately encompass a 20-month series of events and announcements.

“We will be rolling out exciting events and announcements every month through September 2011,” states Valerie Ervin, President of The Ray Charles Foundation. “It’s not only a chance to connect with Mr. Charles’ ongoing fan base on various levels but to also engage a new generation of fans as we re-introduce his enduring legacy and catalog of work. Fans throughout the world will be able to learn more about Mr. Charles — not only as a music legend but as a global icon of historical significance.”

Enhanced by links to various social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, the newly renovated web site offers news stories and updates about forthcoming music releases and events, a “This Day in Ray Charles History” feature and official Ray Charles merchandise. The site — netting a 1000% increase in visitors since its launch — debuted with complete discographies of new album releases and vinyl singles recorded by the 17-time Grammy Award winner.
A special “80th Birthday Celebration” logo has been designed for all product releases and events.

These discographies will eventually be expanded to include compilation albums and boxed sets, soundtrack albums and early songs recorded by Charles when he was the vocalist and pianist for the McSon Trio (also known as the Maxim or Maxin Trio) in the 1940s. “There are few things more exhausting to compile than all of the songs recorded by Ray Charles,” says Janet Macoska, Brand Manager/Archivist for The Ray Charles Marketing Group, the licensing arm for The Ray Charles Foundation. “The volume of work he produced during his career is incredible. The two discographies now contain more than 600 unique recordings. When everything is complete, there will be more than 700 recordings.”

Several of those recordings provided the musical backdrop for the seventh season opener of CBS’ popular television series, “Cold Case.” Premiering Sept. 27, 2009, the episode was seen by over 9,000,000 viewers. Over the coming 20 months, key events tied in with “The Ray Charles 80th Birthday Celebration” include new music releases, a documentary DVD and the opening of the Ray Charles Memorial Library in Los Angeles.

For more information about “The Ray Charles 80th Birthday Celebration,” please contact: David Brokaw, The Brokaw Company, 310-273-2060,




JANUARY 25, 2010


The ringing in of 2010 marks the launch of “The Ray Charles 80th Birthday Celebration” with a series of events and projects planned to celebrate what would have been the music icon’s 80th birthday on September 23, 2010.

“The official re-launch of the website will start the celebration on January 8th and we plan on creating exciting events and announcements every month through September of 2011, making this a twenty month celebration”, stated Tony Gumina of The Ray Charles Marketing Group, the licensing arm for The Ray Charles Foundation.

“On the new website, Ray Charles fans throughout the world will be able to learn more about Mr. Charles not only as a musical legend but as a worldwide icon of historical significance,” Gumina added.




JANUARY 25, 2010


In addition to being the 80th anniversary of the birth of Ray Charles on September 23, 1930, this year brings a host of other anniversaries that are representative of the incredible career of The Genius.

The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Grammy award-winning recording for Ray Charles for his 1959 recording of “Let The Good Times Roll.” Mr. Charles would go on to win 16 other Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. In addition, Ray Charles was the only vocalist to record a Grammy award-winning work in every decade from the 1950s through the 2000s.

January 28th is the 20th anniversary of Ray’s first Super Bowl commercial for Diet Pepsi. In 1999, TV Guide ranked this commercial from the 1990 game on its list of “50 Best Television Commercials of All Time.” Pepsi’s “You’ve Got The Right One Baby, Uh-Huh!” series of commercials remains one of the longest running and most successful campaigns in the history of the Diet Pepsi brand.

March 7th commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the release of the single, “We Are The World,” the fastest-selling American pop single in music history. This song, recorded by Ray Charles with many other music industry icons, went on to raise over $60,000,000 for humanitarian aid in Africa.

March 25th is the 50th anniversary of the recording session for Ray’s definitive version of the Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell classic song “Georgia On My Mind.” This recording earned Ray Charles two Grammy awards, was his first Billboard #1 Pop Chart Single and was the first commercial recording to become an official state song.




May 15, 2009

New Video Podcast Series, Ray Charles, Genius,
illuminates his musical life

Ray Charles, Genius, a sixteen episode video podcast series produced by Bret Primack for Concord Records, is now showing on YouTube and is available for download on iTunes. The debut episode is entitled: There is Only One Ray Charles.

A comprehensive examination of the musical life of Ray Charles, each episode is devoted to a specific recording or critical aspect of his music, focusing on his influences, recording techniques, live appearances, small group and big band, and the Raeletts.

The series coincides with Concord’s digital release of 28 Ray Charles recordings, as well as the CD reissue of several Charles' classics, including A Message From the People, a Deluxe 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition of Genius + Soul = Jazz, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vols. 1 & 2, and Genius Hits the Road.

Filmmaker Bret Primack travelled around the country this spring conducting interviews with: Trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, the only surviving member of Ray’s early seven piece band; Trombonist Steve Turre, who played with Ray’s big band in the 70s; Trombonist/Arranger Tom Malone, who played with Ray on Saturday Night Live, and in the film, The Blues Brothers; Percussionist/Producer Gregg Field, who also played drums with Ray’s big band in the 70s and later produced Ray Sings, Basie Swings; Pianist/Composer Victor Vanacore, who was Ray’s conductor for the last fifteen years of his life; Vocalist Angela Workman, a Raelett; and Composer/Arranger Mike Post who worked with Ray on A Message From The People.

Primack also spoke with Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein, Jazz writers Ira Gitler and Dan Morgenstern, pianist Billy Taylor who knew Ray Charles when he first arrived in New York in the mid-50s, and John Burk, who produced Genius Loves Company, recorded just before Ray Charles died in 2004. "I was lucky to speak with people who knew Ray at the beginning, and in his later years, as well," Primack explains. “I also sought the perspective of listeners, so I spoke with several serious Ray Charles fans,” Primack reports. “I got expert testimony from two multi-talented composer/musicians Leon Ware and Al Kooper, and one surprise, Rep. John Conyers.” Primack encountered the Congressman at Bert’s, a Detroit club, where Marcus Belgrave was performing.

Ray Charles, Genius, is being produced with the cooperation of Tony Gumina, who heads up The Ray Charles Marketing Group, and Valerie Ervin, the President of the Ray Charles Foundation. “Tony and Valerie worked very closely with Ray in his later years so their perspective and assistance on this project has been invaluable.”

While posting episodes bi-weekly, Primack is concurrently producing a “Filmmaker’s Blog,” which will accompany each podcast. He explains that the video blog is like “the extras on a DVD, content that enhances the actual presentations."

View the debut episode of the series, Ray Charles, Genius here: THERE IS ONLY ONE RAY CHARLES.

Subscribe to the series on iTunes here: RAY CHARLES, GENIUS

Coming June 17th: An American Classic: Ray Charles — Modern Sounds in Country and Western

Music For more information, please contact: Bret Primack —