Grammy-winner Billy Vera spent years working in the Speciality Records vaults and remains close to label founder Art Rupe. "Specialty is right up there with Atlantic, Chess, and Sun in terms of being important." Enjoy an interview with the author and an exclusive book excerpt.
How did Ray Charles become a key face and voice for country music in the '60s?
02 Feb 2015
You give your hand to me, and then you say goodbye. I watch you walk away beside a lucky to never, never know the one who loves you so. Because you haven't listened to this week's Counterbalance. Ray Charles' 1962 landmark this week.
11 Jul 2014
Denson and company have provided a valuable 21st century service in delivering their ever dependable groovy dance jams, year after year, without fail.
13 Nov 2013
He played bass with Elvis & Ray Charles. Produced everyone from Joan Baez to Jimmy Buffett. Norbert Putnam is a living legend, and with the release of the deluxe edition of Elvis at Stax, Putnam shares tons of stories with PopMatters, all of them gems.
10 Sep 2013
Actor Jack Black recently joined a long line of prognosticators shaking the death rattle for rock 'n' roll. However, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl says, "There will always be rock 'n' roll." If saltine crackers are any way of judging, I'm with Grohl on this.
30 May 2012
Despite country's southern roots, there remains a dearth of black artists. Darius Rucker dipped his toes in those muddy waters in the past, but alas, Lionel Richie's new country album doesn't wade in much deeper.
23 Apr 2012
"Goin' Down Slow" is a dramatic tour de force in three minutes and 18 seconds, standing as the most emotionally-shattering performance on Rocking Chair.
25 Apr 2011
Fans looking for footage of his incendiary R&B will need to look elsewhere. However, Live in Concert is a pleasant trip to the crisp, seasoned concerts Charles gave in the latter part of his life.
23 Nov 2004
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Ray Charles is one of those rare artists that can convincingly traffic in virtually any genre of music and make it sound thoroughly his own.
14 Oct 1999
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