‘O Sole Mio
There are good reasons to suppose that Ray Charles produced a studio recording of this song. In early 1995 La Stampa wrote that a concert in Positano (in mid July) coincided with the release of Ray’s “latest album”, which was to contain ‘O Sole Mio, “recently” produced in LA and Milan with the mandolin section (Patrone Gennaro, Salvatore and Nunzio Esposito Reinathe) of Renzo Arbore’s The Italian Orchestra. The newspaper even announced that the track was to be released “in May” as a single. However, the recording (which may still sit in the vaults of the Ray Charles Foundation) never reached the market.
All what’s left of Ray’s interpretation is a series of funny (but half-ass) partial renditions from Italian TV shows and concerts (including an Italian event filmed at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This performance has been released on the album Renzo Arbore And Friends (Gazebo, 11 November 2014).
Untypically, Ray never learned the lyrics of the song; only the performance in Portofino (1995) came close to a serious rendition. Also cf. this about a live performance by Ray with Arbore in 1996.
Alta Classa 1992:
’89 TV Sanremo – With Dee Dee Bridgewater
’91 LC Milan
’92 TV Classa – With Lina Sastri
’94 TV Azzura
’95 LC Portofino
’00 DM Dalla – With Lucia Dalla