Written by
Bob Stumpel

September 10

Rare Genius – The Undiscovered Masters (2010)

09-10 DM PodcastAlbum 1970 - 1990 RareCanonSoundclipWith Johnny Cash

Rare Genius was yet another post mortem album, released on 26 October 2010. The album was announced as a “treasure trove of newly discovered recordings”, “culled from four decades worth of demos and other previously unreleased material”, from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. According to the press release, “Adding a little sweetening to some of the sparse, stripped-down tracks was a team of top-notch musicians and artists: guitarists Keb’ Mo’ and George Doering, organist Bobby Sparks, trumpeter Gary Grant, trombonist Alan Kaplan, bassists Trey Henry and Chuck Berghofer, drummers Gregg Field and Ray Brinker and background vocalist Eric Benet.” 

This album is good news, of course. I wonder about the selection criteria. Ray was one of the inventors of thematic albums…; do we have a theme here? Why these tracks, and what more can we expect to come from the RPM Vaults in the foreseeable future? “The Undiscovered Masters” is an odd contradictio in terminis, and I really hope that “The” doesn’t mean that the discovery adventures of Concord and the Ray Charles Foundation are over now. I certainly hope that we, ever, also get the opportunity to listen to the pure original, Genius-mastered takes, without the “sweetening” make-over additions. 

  1. Love’s Gonna Bite You Back
  2. It Hurts To Be In Love
  3. Wheel Of Fortune
  4. I’m Gonna Keep On Singin’
  5. There’ll Be Some Changes Made
  6. Isn’t It Wonderful
  7. I Don’t Want No One But You
  8. A Little Bitty Tear
  9. She’s Gone
  10. Why Me, Lord (with Johnny Cash) 

Album: Concord Records, 25 October 2010, ASIN: B003ZDZ1Y4.

#1 – Love’s Gonna Bite You Back (recorded in March 1980):

#2 – We know  It Hurts To Be In Love from a number of recorded concerts. Seethis. Free download here.

#3 – Hear Kay Starr’s version of Wheel Of Fortune here; soundclip of Ray’s version:

#4 – Since the 1970s Ray used this tune frequently as an intro (in 10- to 60-second versions) to What’d I Say, but to my knowledge never performed a complete version. Seethis.

#5 – Ray played There’ll Be Some Changes Made once at the Tonight Show and once at the Ear International 2nd Annual Ray Charles Birthday Celebration. Also seethis.

#7 – I Don’t Want No One But You (soundclip): 

#8 – A Little Bitty Tear (Hear Burl Ives’ version here); soundclip:

#9 – She’s Gone (soundclip):  

#10 – Why Me, Lord was discovered in the Sony vaults; the Kristofferson song was produced by Billy Sherrill in Nashville in 1981 for a Johnny Cash CBS album – which never was released. Hearthis Johnny Cash version, or Kris Kristofferson’s live version here. More here.


Track-by-track walk-through with john Burk, producer:

The Making of Rare Genius (1): 

The Making of Rare Genius (2):  

Rare Genius – Goin’ Country: 

Ray Charles and Johnny Cash:  


JH — 2010-09-10 14:40:57

s.b. "Gary Grant" on trumpet, I believe.

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