Ray Charles À Paris – One More Concert À La Salle Pleyel (1967)
One of the Ray Charles concerts at La Salle Pleyel in Paris, on 18 April 1967 was broadcast by the French radio station Europe N°1 (in the Musicorama series).
1967 was the only year in history that Paris got the full (‘American’ version of the) Ray Charles Show, meaning not only the band before the intermission, but also dancer Chelsea Brown, and separate acts – both accompanied by the orchestra – performed by Billy Preston, and The Raelettes.As usual in Paris, the Ray Charles group gave a ‘double concert’.
I’ve listened to low-quality copies of the following tunes that were taped that night (I’ve put them in a feasible order of a set list):
- Soft Winds (With Ray Charles Orchestra)
- You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want To Do It)
- Georgia On My Mind
- Going Down Slow (guitar solo by Barry Rillera)
- I Don’t Need No Doctor
- Crying Time (with Gwen Berry)
- Baby It’s Cold Outside (ft. Clydie King)
- Here We Go Again
- Don’t Set Me Free
- I Can’t Stop Loving You
- You Are My Sunshine (ft. Merry Clayton)
- What’d I Say
This performance of Here We Go Again is the only known live version of the song!
Musicians: Marshall Hunt, Walter Miller, Carl Adams, Bill King – trumpet; Henry Coker, Fred Murrell, Donald Cook, Keg Johnson – trombone; Joe Roccisano, Curits Peagler, Curtis Amy (bandleader), Shellie Thomas, Leroy Cooper – saxophone; Billy Moore – drums; Barry Rillera – guitar; Edgar Willis – bass; Billy Preston – piano, organ. The Raelettes: Merry Clayton, Alexandra Brown, Clydie King, Gwen Berry.
|Coll. André Monnot.|
The TF 1 news cast of 18 April 1967 had a 1:25 item on Ray Charles, described by the INA archive as: “The landing plane; Ray Charles leaving the plane helped by the stewardess; On the ground with his manager; The journalists in the big hall; Interview Ray Charles: music is my food; A statement about Otis Redding.”
Billboard earmarked the 18th as the start of that year’s European tour (bringing the group also to Barcelona, Manchester, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmö, Hamburg, Frankfort, Milan and Berlin).
Possibly that same day, maybe also at the airport, Ray was interviewed for the popular France Inter radio show Pop Club. On a photo shot during this interview Ray took a girl, called Annick Sauvrezy, on his lap (photo right).
Ray and the same girl were also seen together later during Ray’s French tour (in May, if we can believe the caption to this photo).
A month after this concert, Jet magazine had an article stating that Billy Preston had been part of the 1967 Europe tour of the Ray Charles band (which was partially true), and that young Billy had outperformed old man Ray during the Paris concerts (which is hard to believe).
|Contemporary photos: Edgar Willis, Barry Rillera, Ray Charles (Willis had just switched from acoustic to electric bass).|
|The photo was made for a Fender ad, also published in a Fender Album Of Stars magazine.|
|Concert announcement in French magazine.|
|Billy Preston opened the show – singing, dancing and playing the piano – with the Orchestra, but didn’t return after intermission. The source of this photo (either Jazz Hot or Jazz Magazine) mentioned Shotgun as one of the tunes he performed.|
Marshall Hunt and Walter Miller.
Photo clippings: collection J.-P. Verger.
For most of this this article I’ve used information kindly provided by Jean-Paul Verger and Joël Dufour..