My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Genius was recorded and released in 1959 as a way to for Charles to get away from his known R&B sound. Side A (the first six songs) was arranged by Quincy Jones and featured musicians from Count Basie and Duke Elighton’s bands. Side B consists of ballads, which are backed by string arraignments.
What I liked: Side B (the last six songs) are all wonderful, low key ballads that really highlight Charles’ voice and piano playing. “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” and “Am I Blue” are just amazing, beautiful and heartbreaking songs!
What I Didn’t Like: Side A is just Awful! The big bang arraignments bury Charles’ voice under soaring horns and generic big band, jazz mush. There is no soul in the songs, only overly hyper pop. Twenty three albums into this project I considered not finishing an album for the first time (And I stuck through an album of congo songs). I was so disappointed and was ready to give up… luckily side two started.
My Overall Thoughts: I was excited to listen to this album. I thought a Ray Charles album in the top 1001 … great!, I’m going to hear some awesome R&B numbers and some great soul songs instead I got this…. six songs of junk… followed by six wonderful ballads. What a roller coaster, but not really in a good way.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I have to disagree on this one. The second half is great, but it can’t make up for the garbage that was the first half.
Rating (Out of 5): 2
Amazon Review (Out of 5):4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (21/23)