Written by
Bob Stumpel

March 23

Ray Charles Live In Viareggio (1984)

'84 LC ViareggioConcert 1984 Viareggio

Video still from Eleanor Rigby.

This article in the newspaper Unita suggests that this concert in Viareggio was taped for TV in July 1984. In another source I found that Raidue aired it on August 3, 1985, as a #1 in a series of six live concerts broadcast by that network.
…But I’m not entirely sure about this provenance. Other sources also mention a concert in the Bussola Domani series at the Palcoscenica in Versilia on 1 November 1984 (the Bussola Domani logo is prominently visible in this TV program as well; also see this article).* The TV recording was directed by Goffredo Scagnoli.

I wrote before that I feared that the TV footage got lost, but last week a copy landed in my inbox. The soundtrack of the video that I saw was marred by heavy rumble, but a separate better version of that same soundtrack is also circulating on the Web, as a torrent.

The tracklist was:

  1. Intro
  2. Riding Thumb
  3. Busted
  4. Georgia On My Mind  
  5. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning  
  6. I’ve Got News For You 
  7. For Mamma
  8. We’re Gonna Make It (The Raelettes)  
  9. Shameless (ft Estella Yarbrough)
  10. Eleanor Rigby  
  11. I Can’t Stop Loving You 
  12. Knock On Wood (ft Trudy Cohran) 
  13. 3/4 Time 
  14. Born To Love Me 
  15. What’d I Say 
  16. Outro 

Ray gave #12, Knock On Wood, an unusually long, funky intro. Sources: here and here.

The personnel was probably exactly the same as at the Warsaw Jamboree concerts:

Musicians: Robbie Kwock, Mark Curry, Jim Seeley, Jeff Kaye – trumpets; John Boice, Dan Marcus, Dan Weinstein, Dana Hughes – trombones; Brian Mitchell, Clifford Solomon (band leader), Ricky Woodard, Rudy Johnson, Louis Van Taylor – saxophones; Bobby Floyd – organ; Dennis Nelson – guitar; Roger W. Hines – bass; Ricky Kirkland – drums. The Raelettes: Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

* Is there anybody out there who can explain to me how “Viareggio” and “Versilia” relate to each other?


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