Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 5

Ray Charles Recorded Twice At Newport Jazz Festival In 1972

'72 LC NewportConcert 1972 Newport

As a part of their Voice of America collection, the Library of Congress has cataloged three “digital sound cassette[s], mono, digital (polyester)” with the Newport Jazz Festival program that was presented on 7 July 1972 at the Yankee Stadium in New York.
Sheldon Harris listened to (parts of?) the (or a?) show through Willis Conover’s Music USA program.

One tape (LoC catalog number RGA 0442; RWD 8791) only has a Ray Charles concert. The other tapes (LoC catalog number RGA 0157-0158; RWD 6304-6305 B1) contain another concert of Ray’s troupe, and the performances of an All-Star Band, the Dave Brubeck Trio, and B.B. King.

Concert A (RWD 8791)
According to the description of the first tape Ray, his orchestra and The Raelettes performed:

  1. Unidentified Blues
  2. Feel So Bad
  3. Georgia On My Mind
  4. Feelin’
  5. Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma
  6. Eleanor Rigby
  7. Indian Love Call
  8. Shake
  9. What’d I Say

Between tracks #7 and #8 a “Sound problem” occurred.

Concert B (RWD 6304-6305)
The contents of the other tape were described as:

  1. Unidentified instrumental
  2. Feel So Bad
  3. I Feel It
  4. Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma
  5. I Can’t Stop Loving You
  6. Eleanor Rigby
  7. When I’m Calling You
  8. What’d I say

With a “Buzz in the lines” between tracks #3 and #4, probably ruining the taping of Georgia.

Ad from New York Amsterdam News, Jun. 17, 1972.

It’s not clear to which tunes the titles Feelin’ and I Feel It refer; it may have been the usual adlib ditties to introduce The Raelettes. When I’m Calling You (#7) of the B-concert is a little enigma. I tend to identify it with Indian Love Call (as I also did when I described the 1972 Copenhagen concert), but of course it could be another, yet to be identified, song.

From a contemporary newspaper review I learned that Ray also sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame that day (source here). Photos: here and there.

According to the ad reproduced here, Charles, Brubeck and King shared the bill with “guests” Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond, and Jimmy Smith (maybe these stars only played with the Brubeck trio?). To top it off, George Wein programmed a jam session with Kenny Burrell, Roy Haynes, Illinois Jacquet, Joe Newman, Zoot Sims and Clark Terry (i.e. probably the “all stars” in the description of the second tape set).
For a 5-LP/3-CD album set with many performances from the 1972 Newport Jazz Festival (but without Brother Ray), see this.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *