Ray Charles & Orchestra Live in Paris (Part I)

Pleyel Hall 1968

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Ray Charles — Cantante, director musical, pianista

The Raelettes

The Ray Charles Orchestra

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Following two extremely successful decades at the intersection between pop, gospel, R&B, blues and soul, the great Ray Charles had already made a name for himself on the world's stage by the time of this 1968 performance at the Pleyel venue in Paris. He is joined by a full orchestra, which serves to elevate his voice and wrap swing around his piano chords, as well as his usual house band, the Raelettes, who provide gorgeous, raspy backing vocals that mix beautifully with his own famous tone. 

Part one of this remarkable show kicks off with a drawn-out, melancholy version of "The Sun Died," in which Ray has the chance to show off all his masterful touch, tonal shifts and precise timing. Other highlights include a cover of "My Funny Valentine," which is spectacularly delivered by Susaye Greene, the last official member of The Supremes and one-time songwriter for Michael Jackson. "What I'd Say," one of his most-loved songs, for its whooping, energy and crowd participation, closes out the show. It's a classic show from Ray. 

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