Written by
Bob Stumpel

January 30

Ray Charles In Belgrade (1972)

'72 DM Belgrade

From the
same concert.
This clipping says there
were 4 concerts.

What I understand of this video clip is that it’s looking back at Ray Charles life, using a few well known old photos, footage from the biopic Ray, and – here it becomes special – a color film from a concert in Yugoslavia (Serbia) sometime during the early 1970s.
The reporter was Radovan Brankov. The interviewed spokes person, Stevan Vagner, was the concert promoter. Wagner remembered that Ray smoked a lot, drank oceans of (Bols-empowered) coffee, and played chess all of the time. He also thought that Ray was exploited by his entourage: “They were dragging him from country to country, so they could earn money on him” (which, of course, is nonsense).
The clip was broadcast by BN.

My conjecture is that the local (8 or 16 mm?) film was shot at a show late in September, 1972*, at the Pioneer Hall in Belgrade. In the line-up of the band I recognized Edgar Willis on bass, and Ralph Byrd on guitar. The 5 Raelettes are Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Dorothy Berry, Mable John, and Estella Yarbrough.

For more on Ray and Belgrade, read the Yugoslavia Concerts blog.

*Prob. the 28th or 29th. The year was confirmed by band member Al ‘Sanifu’ Hall, Jr.


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