There seems to be a Ray Charles aura abroad in 2014; several Rifftides readers have called my attention to a remarkable 1974 performance by Charles, his band and the Raelets. The headline on the clip reads, Ray Charles Plays the Slow Blues in Madrid.
“Slow” doesn’t begin to describe the tempo. At roughly 30 beats to the minute, a 12-bar chorus takes about a minute and a half. But that’s not the point. The point is the depth of Charles’s distillation of blues feeling. Be sure to stay for the other-worldly coda that he coaxes out of his Fender-Rhodes.
The acoustic pianist behind Charles was Ernie Vantrease. The guitarist is not identified.