Ray Charles- Revisited
July 28, 2006
Ray Charles has been here for so long it’s hard to remember when he wasn’t around.I’ve always thought of him as an “Uncommon Denomonater”in popular music. For 50 years, he exposed the World to the Blues……was the “Soul” of Rock and Roll…..and brought an African-American voice to country music.
My own life was soothed, rocked,and sometimes explained by Ray Charles.Isn’t it funny how we don’t appreciate someone fully until they’re gone? Fortunately, Ray knew how much he was loved while he was with us.
I only met him once, on a plane back to L.A.from the Tokyo music festival. I felt more like a fan, than an exec at Warner Bros.Music, and became a little flustered. I introduced myself,and told him that I gave his producer a song he’d recorded,”Go On Home” (HughMcCracken)…Ray smiled and sang a few bars back to me.
I thanked him for his time….for remembering…. and went back to my seat. Now I wish I had been a little less overwhelmed….and spent a little more time talking to him.
I spent the last ten years recovering from a spinal operation and I’m still am unable to use my hands to play the piano or guitar. When Ray passed away, however, I was moved to finish up a song that I’d been working on for years, “I’m At My Best When I’m Down.”
Although I couldn’t play it, I asked my friend Allan Rinde to record me singing the song accapella (without music]. I sent it to my friend Alan O’Day (“Undercover Angel”, “Angie Baby”), for an opinion. He surprised me and put some chords behind it. You can hear it it you click over to http://artiewayne.com/best.html