Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 15

Ray Charles In Skellefteå

'99 LC Skellefteå

On June 29, 1999 Ray Charles performed with “FunkFilharmonik” (a group formed for the occasion, led by U.S. trombonist Ozzie Melendez, husband of the local business woman who organized the concert), the Skellefteå Orkesterförening, and the Skellefteå Chamber Choir at The Old Driving Range of the Rönnbäcken golf course, near Skellefteå.
Here’s an amateur video with some funny storytelling in the titles, presenting a few sequences of the show, including parts of If You Go Away, It Hurts To Be In Love, and (well, kind of) a choral rendition of Georgia On My Mind. Despite the video’s story line, I don’t think it was all that badly prepared – those strings sound as if they were rehearsed by Victor Vanacore, Ray’s own conductor.

(Not so funny: the event organizer went bankrupt after the event (and possibly because of it). Most of the free lance musicians were not or only partially paid. Ray, uncharacteristically, let a handful of gigs in the U.S. slip to take on this one. He no doubt got his money – he always did).


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