Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music is a studio album by American singer and pianist Ray Charles. It was recorded in February 1962 at Capitol Studios in New York City and United Western Recorders in Hollywood, and released in April of that year by ABC-Paramount Records. The album departed further stylistically from the rhythm and blues music Charles had recorded for Atlantic Records in the 1950s. It featured country, folk, and Western music standards reworked by Charles in popular song forms of the time, including R&B, pop, and jazz. Charles produced the album with Sid Feller, who helped the singer select songs to record, and performed alongside saxophonist Hank Crawford, a string section conducted by Marty Paich, and a big band arranged by Gil Fuller and Gerald Wilson. Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was an immediate critical and commercial success. The album and its four hit singles brought Charles greater mainstream notice and recognition in the pop market, as well as airplay on both R&B and country radio stations. The album and its lead single, "I Can't Stop Loving You", were both certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1962, as each record had sold at least 500,000 copies in the United States. The album's integration of soul and country challenged racial barriers in popular music at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. In the process of recording the album, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to exercise complete artistic control over his own recording career. In retrospect, it has been considered by critics as his best studio record and a landmark recording in American music. According to Robert Christgau, the album "transfigured pop, prefigured soul, and defined modern country & western music." It has been called one of the greatest albums of all time by publications such as Rolling Stone and Time.Wikipedia
When I was much younger, I remember encountering an album entitled "The Shape of Punk to Come" by Refused and thinking, "Boy, they sure think a lot of themselves. That might be the ballsiest album title I've ever heard." Well, it turns out Ray Charles beat them to it. A black man in '62 claiming he's got the key to modern Country & Western was all balls. He backs it up with this album, though. It's real damn good. It's clearly country but also clearly not. The combination of styles coupled with his clear appreciation for the source material make it really hard to deny how damn good the album is. I mean, I don't even like country and I'm digging this record. I can see why it has been hailed as not just a great album but for breaking down racial walls in the music industry.
Damn awesome execution of this idea. Ray Charles voice is timeless, and though some of the strings and background vocals are a bit overdone, the blues approach to country/western is very cool.
The incredible thing about this album is the fact that you cannot tell that these songs were originally country songs. I'm not sure if it's intended, but this album is a testament to the fact that genre is something to be transcended. People often define their musical tastes by genre, and this album subverts that assumption completely. As someone who enjoys country music, jazz, and R&B, this album is a celebration of music period. This album is very deserving of the praise it gets.
The upbeat songs make me want to dance, and the slower ones have such an old school Disney vibe between the strings and the choir. Really into this. And the cultural importance of the album truly solidified the 5 for me
We get these songs produced so slickly, with such stereotypically grand string and horn arrangements, that the connection to the titular country and western music is subtle. I enjoyed the sharing of vocal duties at points. If it weren't for the title and historical context, I wouldn't have picked up on the source of the material until You Are My Sunshine. Charles's voice is the standout stylistic feature as he blends perfectly with the production and delivers the lyrics comfortably.
I get the premise of the album and appreciate its importance to the genre. It's also always a pleasure to listen to Ray Charles. That said, this album is very much of another time and some listeners will find it drags, especially in the middle. The best part about the album is Charles himself. His vocals are perfect as is his piano playing. Unfortunately, the big band horn and string arrangements and old backup vocals feel more than a little dated. I enjoyed the back end of the album best, like from "It Makes No Difference Now" to the end. "Careless Love" and "You Win Again" are flawless and "I Can't Stop Loving You" is a classic. Fave songs: You Win Again, Careless Love, You Don't Know Me
So much orchestra. More of this in the world please
One of the best albums of all time. Period.
genius, pure & Simple
Iconic and nothing less.
I love stuff like this. Always been a big fan of the singers of the 50s and 60s. Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. This might just be another 5 for me. It gets a little samey, especially in terms of lyrics, after the 1 hour-mark, but the thing is that it's good music so it doesen't really matter.
Beautiful songs, beautiful voice, beautiful arrangements!
Pretty great. Didn't get a chance to listen to all of it, but will definitely go back.
One of the great cross genre records
10/10 Ray Charles is the GOAT it had such a fun, warm sound hearing those songs bring such a calming but happy atmosphere
love Ray Charles!
So, so good.
Wow! What can I say?! It’s Ray Charles! Music doesn’t get any better than this! An absolute gem!
So so soulful yet precise. True synthesis of great American art forms.
Great album, with great sounds and incredible balades
I just knew I was going to like a guy when it he played this album on vinyl the first time I went over to his house. Sigh, Ray Charles makes everything good, better.
man i just love a ray charles album, this was really nice
Ray Charles is his own genre. He saw no barriers.
Ray Charles 18th overall album featuring country, folk and western music standards reworked in popular song forms - R&B, pop and jazz. This album got lots of airplay on both R&B and country music stations. Ray said he didn't see a lot of difference in blues and country music. Given a lot artistic freedom the idea came to do this album which is absolutely incredible. His A&R man, Ray Feller went through 250 country songs to pick from. The songs are mostly love and heartbreak ballads as you would expect. The backing music are strings, horns, Ray's piano and voice and great backing vocals. Every song on this album is worth listening to. He creates an extremely unique style. I would like to go back and compare the original country version to Ray's. Two standout tracks are both near the end. What a great vocal delivery on "Careless Love." His voice just soars with the strings in the background. "I Can't Stop Loving You" is a classic example to the point that there really isn't much difference between blues and country. This song fits both...just great backing vocals and probably my favorite Ray Charles song. This was an historically important album crossing racial borders in a very racially-charged time. A timeless performance and album.
By some quirk, yesterday Ray Charles album was followed by another Ray Charles album today - and I wasn’t disappointed. More beautiful arrangements, singing and playing; evocative of a certain era; charming, delightful and satisfying. These are recordings of the highest quality from a wonderfully talented artist.
Not much to say, no faults, all of his genius encapsulated.
Many Classics, Is That Careless Love An Interpolation Of Silent Night?
I'm stunned that the average review isn't higher. Maybe it's a recency bias. This album is exactly why the "1001 albums" project exists. This is a groundbreaking and culturally significant album, that also happens to be pretty darn good. Is it my favorite Ray Charles album? No. Did it have more impact on the course of American and World music than any other Ray Charles album ... and really most any album? Absolutely.
Big fan of 60s era of music. Ray Charles does some good stuff.
Album number 6 I have on vinyl! I can’t begin to express how much I love this album. It was incredibly revolutionary and progressive for the time, it tore down barriers, and it’s probably Ray’s best or second best album. Holy shit it’s such a joy to listen to. While some of the songs aren’t as perfect as “Bye Bye Love”, “You Don’t Know Me”, or “You Win Again”, I enjoy listening to every single one of them. No filler or bloat whatsoever. If you don’t like this album, I don’t even know what to say to you. I should note that I’m only writing about Volume 1 here, but Volume 2 is equally perfect (if not better).
Wow. What a once in a generation talent. The way he rewrote/reworked/restyled these standards was so good, quite often amazing..
I enjoyed every minute of this album. Split between jazzy big band arrangements for most of the quicker tempo songs and orchestral arrangements for the ballads the album swings effortlessly from one to the other. Underpinning it all is Charles' soulful singing that elevates each song and makes these country classics his own. It's not my go to genre especially the string arranged compositions, but tht did not get in the way of my enjoyment of the album. An album that should be heard by anyone that loves music. 5 stars.
He's such a natural musician. Even though some of the elements are overdone when listened with today's ear, it does not detract from the greatness of this album.
Hey this ray guy is pretty good
Albumi ei hyppelehdi ja tunnelmaa ylläpidetään HYVIN. Tuntuu ettei olisi kotona kun tätä kuuntelee. Vaarana on että kuuntelee liian kovalla koska dynamiikkaa LÖYTYY, sopii toki taustallekkin hiljasemmalla soitettavaksi... Mustat miehet tulivat tutummaksi albumin avulla,, en ole nähnyt livenä... kuullu nyt.... en voi kyllä vielä sanoa,,,,, uskon kun näen...... tai tulee auringonpimennys.. heheh... sillon kaikki mustiksi muuttupi.. valkohipiäinenkin.... meikäläinen,,,,kin,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, heh
Now this is real music
This was really good! I don't think I would have been able to tell that these were covers of country songs if it wasn't right there in the title, and while they may sound a bit dated for 1960s standards, I have a massive soft spot for a good big band. Favourite: Don't Tell Me Your Troubles
Ray Charles. He does what he wants. And it's always brilliant.
Amazing love it
Landmark album. It's country, but it's not. It's Soul/Big Band, but it's not. He took White music and made it Black, it's like reverse Elvis. Love it.
Classic. No notes.
During the recording of this album, Ray Charles became one of the few black artists in the early rock era to gain complete creative control of their music. He puts that control to phenomenal use here, interpreting folk and country standards with a blistering R&B flair.
I've liked Ray for many years but never listened to this one for some crazy reason - maybe I was put off by the title, not thinking that it was still going to be classic fantastic Ray.
Jazzy, well-articulated, easy going tunes. Ray Charles nailed it. Lush orchestration and classic tunes. A great collection to be made aware of
This album has so many things going for it: - The concept: country/folk/western songs reworked into pop/soul/jazz is genius, in my opinion. And the execution is great. - The instrumentation: the orchestra! The piano! Beautiful arrangements. - The voice: his voice makes the whole thing work. My only complaint is that it’s a little on the long side to listen as a whole. Doesn’t detract from the actual music though.
Great old school style jazzy vibe
I mean what more do you really want out of life
I knew who Ray Charles was of course, but I don't think I knew what to expect of his music. It's much jazzier (and less country than the title lead me to believe). Love the snazzy horn section.
Qué disco tan más a gusto. De inicio no tenía idea de que fueran puros covers, e incluso de las rolas que identifiqué, llegué a pensar que era al revés y la versión de Ray era la original. De cualquier manera, me encantan los arreglos que hizo Ray en casi todas las canciones y quizá ya luego con más tiempo me gustaría escuchar las originales y comparar. Por otro lado, la parte que no me encanta son los arreglos de voces exageradamente melosos en algunas de las canciones.
No sé si lo hizo a propósito pero hay una rola movida y una calmada intercaladas en todo el disco. Que se le puede reprochar a este señor? Darse el lujo de hacer un doble de covers y reinventarnos
That was well good
3.5 | Es muy posible que le pierda mucho a poder apreciar este disco debido a que casi todos son estándares principalmente de country que yo realmente no conozco (solo conocía bien Hey Good Looking). Pareciera más que fue un disco que es importante porque fue lo que le dio a Ray Charles el éxito masivo con la gente blanca tal como ya lo tenía con la gente negra (lo cual es más impresionante cuando recordamos que en ese momento seguimos enfrascados a mitad de lucha de derechos civiles en EE.UU.). Musicalmente el disco es muy bueno, bajando un poco el ritmo de lo que estaba acostumbrado casi todo el disco es de baladas, apenas con una canción con un sonido medio big band; a pesar de esto el disco no se siente cansado y la voz, el sentimiento y los arreglos son impecables. El disco obviamente es importante, las canciones muy bien hechas a pesar de que quizá soy más partidario de ese Ray Charles un poco más movido y mas... "comercial?" En algun momento decía Ray Charles que el blues y el country eran muy similares en su honestidad y en ser llanos de lenguaje y quizá hacer un disco de este tipo es un gran ejemplo de cuánta razón tenía.
Christmas style strings. Beautiful instruments all around. And a voice that strikes so deeply. Not super substantial, but beautiful and easy to listen to.
Ciezko o bardziej trafny tytul albumu, nie ma co wiecej pisac, bo wszystko co nalezy wiedziec o tej plycie jest juz zawarte na okladce
Good music, great voice. The music does sound extremely old though and not all of it has aged particularly well. I enjoyed the "big sound" more swingy and soul-heavy tracks a lot more than the softer lounge-y or balladesque tracks. I won't actively listen to it again, but a good one-time experience.
Short review well I wouldn’t normally chose a country and western album but Ray Charles at heart has a strong sense of being an R&B star. He is renowned for both his work in jazz and soul too so this album was a shot in the dark and the hybrid musical mastermind created a country record - but this was a success by every meaning of the word. I wouldn’t rush to listen again but you must respect this talent.
Can see why it was called Modern Sounds, the big band feel, makes it bright, sharp and punchy. None of these tracks sound like Country and Western songs, so I'm assuming they are standards/classics in C&W which makes Charles reinterpretation of them so striking, he's placing a big band aesthetic over them, making them feel new and impactful. Charles has great phrasing, he can stretch and hold a note so well. Not many words in some of the lyrics, but he lets them float over the music. He also hold and bend notes so well, to fit to fill the phrasing and tempo of each song. More a fan of the uptempo numbers, but the slower ones show off the versatility of Ray’s voice/tone.
THIS IS ABBA - REVIVAL
Feels like some good old album, a banger for people that enjoy this genre. Not my style but I can appreciate the quality
Incredibly enjoyable. I'd listened to some Ray Charles before, but the album is sonically very enjoyable - almost every song utilises backing singers in a really pleasing way!
Really like this! Ray sounds great with a big band behind him. Great arrangements on some classic songs
He's a genius. I love him. Great arrangements on some country songs. (8/10) Favourite Tracks: Careless Love, I Can't Stop Loving You, You Are My Sunshine
Was a different take on Ray Charles, but I loved it nonetheless. Man was a national treasure.
This is one of those albums on this list where my rating gets influenced by reading more about the album and its history, but even that didn't really change how I felt. Incredibly groundbreaking with a huge variety of genres that shine through in songs. Love the background singers/choruses, especially when they introduce the song with its title, often at the start of the song. Got a little longwinded and repetitive, enough to make this not quite a 5, but the spotify version has more songs than the original album, so not too many points off. Even with the repetitiveness, I rarely got bored Saved: Bye Bye Love, You Don’t Know Me, I Can't Stop Loving You; Oh, Lonesome Me*
A really sweet, comfy album. Ray sounds amazing on this one!
60's music is fantastic, and this one really delivers. It makes you feel what it wants you to feel. The orchestra was lively when it felt like it and somber when it wanted to make you feel nostalgic. My only gripe was that the songs could've been taken to more extremes - that is, the highs can be higher and the lows can be lower. Favorite track: I Love You So Much It Hurts
What a fucking achievement this album was. Best track: Bye Bye Love
Very enjoyable and easy listening. Nothing that stands out on this album, but solid all around.
Ray Friggin Charles. Such a soulful voice. Digital remastered cleaned it up so nice.... 4 stars
Lush - can hear how Amy was influenced
I am a hugh Ray Charles fan so any time I have an opportunity to buy some of his music I jump at it. This two volume CD was everything I hoped for and more! The content is awsome and the quality of the CD, the case and art work was pristine. I plan to buy another one as a Christmas gift for one of my brothers who enjoys a good music CD as much as I do. Overall, the purchase of this CD was 10, I am very pleased with this purchase on all levels.
Well..... The songs are little bit boring but Ray..... He is awesome. So chill
Great LP! Had some of this on a charity shop cd I got recently Ray Charles greatest country and western hits…
Love songs op jazz en R&B. Soms swingend en soms wiegend.
Genius at work - great arrangements, fabulous band, and every vocal OWNS the song.
Not my usual genres, but Ray Charles has a very smooth voice that can carry a song. Combined with smooth jazzy, country and pop instrumentals the whole collection is a friendly listen with short songs.
// Favs: – Score: Light 4
I feel I've undermarked this because it's an amazing album with a real crossover that paved the way for so much. But I can't help but feel Ray Charles is at his bets with blues. This whitebread album could easily be for Sinatra which I guess is the point. It opened doors and is very good. But you know he's got more in him.
A near perfect dinner party album. I love the brassy big band arrangements, the lush string arrangements, not so much, but the fact that he makes it all work is a testament to his talent 4 stars
An enlightening sound, though not what I’m accustomed to. Really good energy.
If only we got country music like this nowadays instead of "Fancy Like"...
Didn’t finish. Pretty good though
great way to wind down at the end of the day, so easy to listen to
Enjoyed listening to this. Very calming bit upbeat
Good album, a little slow. Love Rays voice always
Don't enjoy the string and choral arrangements, but his voice and piano and stunning.