Written by
Bob Stumpel

January 20

Ray Charles Live In Prague (1981)

'81 LC PragueConcert 1981 Prague

On 28 April 1981 Ray Charles played at the Palác Lucerna in Prague. The TV program was directed by A. Nosek. The Czech TV archive has a 64 minute tape (last televized on 20 June 2004). I’ve also listened to a 61-minute audio copy, which may have been extracted from the TV concert (but it could also be a copy of a radio broadcast). 
The audience in Prague was very eager to let Ray know that they recognized every tune after the first notes of the intro, adding a nice, lively ambiance to the tape.

Musicians: Mitch Manker, Larry Viau, Brian Pearcy, and Johnny Coles – trumpets; John Boice, Dan Marcus, Mayo Tiana, Steve Davis – trombones; Rickey Woodard, Clifford Solomon, Ira Weinstein, Rudy Johnson, Louis Van Taylor – saxes; Ernest Vantrease – keyboards; Tony Matthews – guitar; Matt Morris – bass; Peter Turre – drums.* The Raelettes:  unidentified, Stella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, unidentified.

* Tiana and Vantrease not 100% sure (line-up info band by Peter Turre). 

The setlist was:

  1. Intro
  2. Let The Good Times Roll
  3. Georgia On My Mind
  4. You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want To Do It)
  5. Yesterday
  6. Born To Lose
  7. Then We’ll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
  8. She Knows
  9. Rock Steady (with The Raelettes)
  10. Take These Chains From My Heart
  11. I Can’t Stop Loving You
  12. I Can See Clearly Now
  13. Crying Time
  14. Lonesome Blue Yodel + I’m Gonna Keep On Singin’ + What’d I Say
  15. Outro

The improv leading to a variation on What’d I Say (#14) was very similar to the final of the 1981 Edmonton concert.

Ray Charles and The Raelettes; stills from the Prague concert on April 28, 1981.


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