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Music

Billy Vera Documents a Legendary Label With 'Rip It Up: The Specialty Records Story'

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.

Jedd Beaudoin
Recent
Music

The Fluke That Wasn't: Reconsidering the Success of Ray Charles' Country Music Landmark

How did Ray Charles become a key face and voice for country music in the '60s?

Music

Songs of the Summers: The '60s

As it turns out, America's infatuation with sometimes kooky summer tunes is an old one.

Music

Counterbalance: Ray Charles' 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music'

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.

Reviews

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe + Zach Deputy: 25 October 2013 - Solana Beach, CA

Denson and company have provided a valuable 21st century service in delivering their ever dependable groovy dance jams, year after year, without fail.

Music

For Ol' Times Sake: An Interview with Norbert Putnam About Elvis

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.

Music

Why the Grammys Matter

So your favorites didn’t win, huh? Get over it. Bashing the Grammys is too easy. Try recognizing them as markers of what is happening in the music industry, not on your iPod.

Music

Rock 'n' Roll Is Dead? Again?

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.

Music

Black Country Communion: Darius Rucker and Lionel Richie

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.

Music

Jimmie Vaughan: Plays More Blues, Ballads and Favorites

More blues, ballads and favorites from an American favorite.

Music

Rocking Chair Blues: Howlin’ Wolf - Goin’ Down Slow

"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.

Music

Jaheim: Another Round

Another Round features some of the best songs that Jaheim has ever sung -- and he nails them all.

Music

Frank Sinatra: Christmas with Sinatra and Friends

Christmas with Sinatra and Friends works because Sinatra sounds his best when he's around other people.

Music

Ray Charles: The Spirit of Christmas

It's hard to imagine a better album for a dimly lit December evening indoors with eggnog and a roaring fire.

Music

Ray Charles: The Genius Hits the Road

Another expanded edition of Brother Ray’s 1960 album of themed travel songs. Like most journeys, highs and lows abound.

Sports

Ride This Time Machine Down a Road Less Traveled

Jump into that ’59 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz with the maxed-out tailfins, contemplate what an original Barbie doll could fetch on eBay, and enjoy this roll call of Reasons Why Everything Changed in 1959.

Music

I Guess White Boys Feel It More: On Music Biopics

The way that the films Notorious, 8 Mile, Walk The Line, and Ray lead up to scenes of performances shows the remarkable and subtle endurance of troubling racial stereotypes and ideals.

Music

Ray Charles: Genius The Ultimate Collection

The term genius has been used so often that it doesn’t seem to pack the same amount of attention that it once did. But when it comes to a few music legends, the phrase seems to be the only word to describe them.

Reviews

All You Need Is Love

Tony Palmer's compelling yet frustrating 15-hour television series on the history of popular music, originally broadcast in the 1970s, finally sees a DVD release.

Books

Lonely Avenue by Alex Halberstadt

The songs of Doc Pomus have become an indispensable part of the American songbook, largely without our even knowing it.

Michael E. Ross
Reviews

The Dick Cavett Show -- Ray Charles Collection

It's no secret that Dick Cavett loved Ray Charles' music.

Dan MacIntosh
Reviews

Ray Charles: Live in Concert with the Edmonton Symphony [DVD]

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.

Kevin Jagernauth
Film

Tom Dowd and the Language of Music (2004)

Moormann's film allows Tom Dowd to tell his own tale, bringing his past to life through his words, his accomplishments, his infectious laugh, and, most importantly, his music.

Dan Devine
Music

Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company

Genius Loves Company showcases a man who continued to challenge the definition of just who Ray Charles was.

Kevin Jagernauth
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Ray Charles: The Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959-1986

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.

Sarah Zupko
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