Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

26 September 2011

Was It Chubby Wise That Ray Charles Played With In The Florida Playboys (1947)?

See this for update.

NOTE 10 October 2011:
In this thread from 2000 on RootsWeb another, and much more substantiated, story about The Florida Playboys seems to unfold. The main participant in this discussion is the daughter of "Tiny" Grier, one of the Playboys. She has informed me that she has recently resumed doing further research on the band, and hopes to share the results when she is ready with it.

Ray Charles loved to reminisce about his earliest endeavors in country music. Shortly after his 17th birthday, in 1947, he landed a gig with The Florida Playboys*. In Michael Lydon's biography, Ray Charles - Man And Music, the story is that "[o]ne audition convinced the Playboys that RC could play country music with a genuine flavor, and they hired him, no questions asked about race. For several months he gigged with the band, playing current country hits like Kentucky Waltz in white honky-tonks in and around Tampa, learning to yodel, and singing Waiting For You as his featured number. [...]. RC's interlude with the Playboys, though brief, planted a seed in Ray Charles' music that would lie dormant for a decade before sprouting. Yet this important event has left barely a trace in any but Charles' own memory. Gossie McKee and Manzy Harris [...] nor Ray remembered any names. [...]. The histories of some bands, however, are written on the wind, and the other Playboys may have forgotten the nights with RC [...]."

Searching through Google's historical newspaper database, however, leads to one little article in the St. Petersburg Times from May 13, 1945, reporting how the "Tarpon Springs Legion Boosts War Bond Sales", through an event where the music was performed "by Chubby Wise and his Florida Playboys".

Robert Chubby Wise (October 2, 1915, Lake City, Florida - January 6, 1996) was a well known American bluegrass fiddler (also read this and this), who, through his career, played in and with many bands, sometimes even in several bands at the same time. The second-oldest article I found about him was in Billboard from 12 June 1948, describing how "Clyde Moody, Chubby Wise, the Wheeler Bros, and Red Seal are featured as the Radio Ranchmen in half of a two-hour show daily over WARL, Arlington, Va".
According to his biography, he joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in 1942, and "performed and recorded with the band through 1948". So leading the Florida Playboys must have been something he did on the side.

Of course the phrase "by Chubby Wise and his Florida Playboys" is ambiguous - it may also refer to two separate acts. And of course the gap between the St. Petersburg Times squib from 1945 and  Ray's vague memories of his Florida Playboys gigs in 1947 is way too big to postulate that Charles and Wise have played together, but listening to Wise's specific bluegrass style can give a slightly better idea of the music that Ray may have played in this band. In a Times orbituary, Chubby's music of this period has been described as "a mixture of the drone double-stops of mountain music, the bent and sliding notes of rural blues and a speedy, swinging, daredevil virtuosity".

This fan has shared loads of Wise tunes on Youtube. For more on Chubby, also read this book and this post.
* In the '30s and '40s "Playboys" was a frequently used element in group names for bluegrass/hillbilly bands.

17 September 2011

Ray Charles Flying With His Piano (1983)

Levitation (from Latin levitas, "lightness") is the process by which a person, an animal or an object is suspended by a physical force against gravity, in a stable position without solid physical contact. A number of different techniques have been developed to levitate matter, including the aerodynamic, magnetic, acoustic, electromagnetic, electrostatic, gas film, and optical levitation methods.

From a great photo series of a concert at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa (CA) by Richard Pechner. The photographer dates the pics in August 1973, but these photos are clearly from (the Summer of) 1983.

16 September 2011

Ray Charles, Tonight In The Bay Area (1962)

KDIA, on the 1310 AM frequency, was founded as KLS in 1921. In 1945, it changed its name to KWBR, and its target audience to the African-American segment. In 1959 the call letters were changed to KDIA. Through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, they were was the premier soul and funk station in the San Francisco Bay Area.
William Roscoe Mercer (1927-2000), better known as Rosko, was a famous disc jockey. In the rare sound recording below, from 28 December 1962, you hear him announce the Ray Charles "In Person" concert ('with The Raelettes and his orchestra) at the Civic Auditorium that night. Rosko jokingly calls Ray the Secretary of State*, probably referring to Charles' many tours abroad.

* Not to be confused with Dizzy Gillespie who put himself forward as a presidential candidate in 1964. If he were elected, the White House would be renamed The Blues House, and a cabinet composed of Duke Ellington (Secretary of State); Miles Davis (Director of the CIA); Max Roach (Secretary of Defense); Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace); Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress); Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture); Mary Lou Williams (Ambassador to the Vatican); Thelonious Monk (Travelling Ambassador), and Malcolm X (Attorney General). His running mate would be Phyllis Diller.

13 September 2011

Ray (Not?!) Saluting Stevie At 9th American Music Awards (1982)

The American Music Awards were created for ABC by Dick Clark in 1973 to compete with the Grammys. The 9th edition was aired live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on 25 January 1982.

According to many sources (even including content descriptions of illegal DVDs, and a script of the show that's currently for sale on Ebay), Ray Charles was supposed to be among the live performers (with a.o. Sheena Easton, Alabama, Rick Springfield, Little River Band, Frankie Smith, Air Supply, Rick James, Olivia Newton-John, Wonder Love, The Bee Gees, Chubby Checker, Chaka Khan, Kool & The Gang, Teena Marie, Stephanie Mills, Juice Newton, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Helen Reddy and The Whispers).

More particularly he seems to have been scheduled for a line-up (with a.o. Glen Campbell, Donna Summer, Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, Ray Parker Jr, Ella Fitzgerald and Quincy Jones) who were to  participate in a salute to Stevie Wonder for receiving the AMA's Award of Merit.
But the clip below (don't miss Quincy Jones singing, and Stevie shedding a tear!) is proof that Ray didn't make it.
There is a realistic chance that Charles did send his greetings through a pre-recorded video message (that's what a.o. Paul McCartney did).

Does anybody remember seeing Ray - who knows more?

11 September 2011

America The Beautiful (2002?)

This is the Ray Charles Marketing Group's gift to people who want to commemorate 9/11. It was uploaded earlier today to their new RMCG account at Vimeo, and is promoted through their official Ray Charles page on Facebook.
The Genius, uncharacteristically, is playbacking. He looks like 72+ here. My best guess is that this clip (where Ray was shot sitting before a green screen) was produced at the time of (maybe as a promotion for) the compilation album Ray Charles Sings For America (cf. this). Who knows more?

Update 15 September 2011: 
The video has already been removed by "RMCG", and their string of 3,000+ likes has been erased from their Facebook page...

I have a hunch that this DVD may be the source of this clip. 

10 September 2011

Another 'Last' Live Tele-Recorded Concert By Ray Charles (2003)

Here's a new candidate for the title 'last tele-recorded Ray Charles concert' (cf. what I wrote here): iTunes offers a 13-minute video from a concert by Ray Charles and his Trio (Peter Turre - drums, Brad Rabuchin - guitar, Tom Fowles - bass) at the 42nd Annual International Achievement Summit on 4 May 2003, in Washington DC.
Among the new honorees who were inducted into the Academy of Achievement was Bill Clinton, who also introduced The Genius.

The semi-professional footage has a reasonable video and a mediocre audio quality, but it certainly has documentary merit. As usual in his last years (especially from 2000 onwards), it's fascinating (and sometimes a bit frightening) to see and hear the old man work around his increasing voice limitations - but he was still nailing it, every time again.
Ray, who reputedly 'never' took requests, as always when Clinton was near (cf. Chronology 1994, sub May), started with A Song For You. He followed up with Georgia, on request of the host of the Achievement Summit, Catherine Reynolds. According to their website "Mr. Charles gave a performance of remarkable depth, giving new life to classics such as Route 66 and Georgia on My Mind."
This may imply that the setlist was highly similar to the Trio-gig for the Washington correspondents, two weeks earlier. Who knows, the full concert has survived in the vaults of the Achievement Summit.
For a report on the whole sumptuous 2003 Summit (also with a concert by Aretha Franklin), read this

09 September 2011

Ray Charles Discussing 9/11 On The Today Show (2001)

The weeks after the 9/11 attack the American airwaves were filled with patriotic songs. Ray's America The Beautiful was probably the song that was most frequently played.
On 3 october 2001 NBC's Today Show had a 5-minute item titled Singer Ray Charles Discusses His Tribute to America With His Patriotic Music (IDs: 5114045222_s40; NY-TDY-20011004-0001; Ardome  1100100612198493322), offering a "look at the patriotic songs paying tribute to America since the tragic terrorist attacks".

Rare playbacked version of original arrangement - in patriotic setting, from 1976:

Other versions of America, currently available online, can be watched here.

The script of the 2001 Today Show item was:
MS: American flag waving in crowd.
SUPERIMPOSITION: American flag and singer Ray Charles singing and playing piano.
MS: Charles singing.

MS: In interview in part VO Charles says "It talks about the country and its beauty. "For spacious skies." You see, it talks about the country. "For amber waves of grain, purple mountains majesty."

SUPERIMPOSITION: Charles sings and audience waves American flags.

MS: Charles says "I think music is within all of us, some kind of music. It might not be my kind, it might not be your kind, but I've never met anybody in my life who didn't like some form of music. And, of course, you know, when we are sad, music is the thing that we lean on, you know, to give us comfort."

CU: Man sings "America" with others in background.

MS: Choir holds candles and sings "America."

MS: African-American man stands at podium and sings "America."

MS: African-American woman sings.

MS: Charles says "That's truly a great thing. That it's just sad that it had to come to this, you know what I mean? It's sad. But I guess it just goes back to show you how great this country is, though. You can knock me down, you know, but you can't knock me out."
STILL: Firefighters raising American flag at World Trade Center ground zero disaster site.

MS: Charles says "I can visualize in my mind's eye these huge buildings, 112, 114 floors, tall, huge, gigantic, and all of a sudden, you see them one minute and the next minute, it's all rubble. And the people, you know, you just imagine the people that were inside this building. I can see all the suffering."

WS: World Trade Center buildings and skyline.
PANNING: Building rubble at ground zero.
WS: Rubble and building remains.
MS: Search dog walks through rubble.

MS: Charles says "I guess in a way, I am kind of glad because I know it's devastating to people who can see, so I know I would not be any different. It would be devastating to me, so maybe it's just as well that I just visualize it and not see it."

2 MS: Firemen hug.

MS: Charles sings and plays organ on stage.
MS: Former President Bill Clinton looks on from dark audience.
2 MS: Charles and Clinton backstage exchange pleasantries.

BRIEF CUTS: Charles performs on stage. People hold hands and sway back and forth as Charles plays on stage.

MS: In interview Clinton says "Well, I think, you know, it's not just the words, it's the beauty of the song. It sort of captures everything we want to believe about ourselves and everything that the people of New York, the people at the Pentagon, the people in that field in Pennsylvania have confirmed about the best in America. And I think, you know, to have a guy that's been doing it as he has for more than 50 years, it's important."

MS: Charles says "I'm just so gratified, you know, and I'm very thankful that people love my work, and they like what I try to do because I do strive to give the people all of me. You know, I mean, I don't short-change, you know. When I do anything in my music, I'm very sincere about it, you know, and I give it all I've got."

MS: Charles performs on stage.

MS: Clinton says "That's my favorite version of America The Beautiful. And I can't say enough about him."

MS: Charles says "It's a wonderful thing when you create something and the public acknowledges it, and they realize what you're trying to say or what you're trying to do. It really makes you feel extraordinarily warm inside. There's no... I don't really know any other way to put it. It's a marvelous feeling."

WS: Crowd waving American flags in an audience.
MS: Statue of Liberty.
MS: Charles sings America The Beautiful.

As he said, Ray was no doubt totally sincere, but as usual he also took care of the business side, leveraging his patriotic appeal, so to speak. A year after the 9/11 attacks Rhino/WEA e.g. released a compilation, Ray Charles Sings for America, spanning the Ray Charles Songbook from 1960 to 1997. The 20th track, God Bless America Again, was newly produced for this release, and so was a monologue titled Ray Reflects On America, talking about "how wonderful and great, and lovely and beautiful this country we live in is".

08 September 2011

Singular Genius, A 5-CD Box With All Of Ray Charles' ABC Singles

The 5-disk box Singular Genius was  released on 15 November 2011 by Concord Music Group. The set offers all of Ray Charles' 106 ABC single tracks, remastered in mono. Most of it, Conmcord's John Burl claimed, comes from the RPM vaults, some tracks came from dubs that were sent abroad for local distribution, some even were taken from  single pressings.
iTunes offers 30" soundclips of all tunes. Listen to this interview with John Burk of Concord about tracking down the masters. A few real RC aficionados had a very interesting discussion here.

The liner notes were written by Billy Vera. Joël Dufour contributed production and personnel details. Harley Payette wrote an excellent review of the box set.

Concord Records, 15 November 2011, ASIN: B005JLNAQ6.

Amongst this stack of tunes are 21 songs that have never been re-issued before. Two handfuls of these have been sound-clipped on Youtube:
30 of the songs have only been available on rare compilations.

The 53 singles compiled in this box set are:
  1. My Baby (I Love Her Yes I Do)/Who You Gonna Love (ABC Jan-60 #10081)
  2. Sticks And Stones/Worried Life Blues (ABC May-60 #10118)
  3. Georgia On My Mind/Carry Me Back To Old Virginny (ABC Aug-60 #10135)
  4. Them That Got/I Wonder (ABC Aug-60 #10141)
  5. Ruby/Hard Hearted Hannah (ABC Nov-60 #10164)
  6. Hit The Road, Jack/The Danger Zone (ABC Aug-61 #10244)
  7. Unchain My Heart/But On The Other Hand, Baby (ABC Nov-61 #10266)
  8. Baby, It’s Cold Outside/We’ll Be Together Again (w. Betty Carter) (ABC Jan-62 #10298)
  9. At the Club/Hide Nor Hair (ABC Mar-62 #10314)
  10. I Can’t Stop Loving You/Born To Lose (ABC Apr-62 #10330)
  11. You Don’t Know Me/Careless Love (ABC Jul-62 #10345)
  12. You Are My Sunshine/Your Cheating Heart (ABC Nov-62 #10375)
  13. Don’t Set Me Free/The Brightest Smile In Town (ABC Feb-63 #10405)
  14. Take These Chains from My Heart/No Letter Today (ABC Mar-63 #10435)
  15. No One/Without Love (There Is Nothing) (ABC May-63 #10453)
  16. Busted/Making Believe (ABC Aug-63 #10481)
  17. That Lucky Old Sun/Ol’ Man River (ABC Nov-63 #10509)*
  18. Baby, Don’t You Cry/My Heart Cries For You (ABC Feb-64 #10530)
  19. My Baby Don’t Dig Me/Something’s Wrong (ABC May-64 #10557)
  20. No One To Cry To/A Tear Fell (ABC Jun-64 #10571)
  21. Smack Dab In The Middle/I Wake Up Crying (ABC Sep-64 #10588)
  22. Makin’ Whoopee (vocal)/Makin’ Whoopee (piano) – LIVE (ABC Nov-64 #10609)
  23. Cry/Teardrops From My Eyes (ABC Jan-65 #10615)
  24. I’ve Got a Woman (Part 1)/I’ve Got A Woman (Part 2) LIVE (ABC Mar-65 #10649)
  25. Without A Song (Part 1)/Without A Song (Part 2) (ABC Apr-65 #10663)
  26. I’m A Fool to Care/Love’s Gonna Live Here (ABC Jun-65 #10700)
  27. The Cincinnati Kid/That’s All I Am To You (ABC Sep-65 #10720)
  28. Crying Time/When My Dream Boat Comes Home (ABC Oct-65 #10739)
  29. Together Again/You’re Just About To Lose Your Clown (ABC Mar-66 #10785)
  30. Let’s Go Get Stoned/The Train (ABC May-66 #10808)
  31. I Chose to Sing the Blues/Hopelessly (ABC Aug-66 #10840)
  32. Please Say You’re Fooling/I Don’t Need No Doctor (ABC Oct-66 #10865)
  33. I Want To Talk About You/Something Inside Me (ABC Feb-67 #10901)
  34. Here We Go Again/Somebody Ought to Write a Book About It (ABC Apr-67 #10938)
  35. In The Heat Of The Night/Something’s Got to Change (ABC Aug-67 #10970)
  36. Yesterday/Never Had Enough of Nothing Yet (ABC Oct-67 #11009)
  37. Go On Home/That’s A Lie (ABC Jan-68 #11045)
  38. Understanding/Eleanor Rigby (ABC May-68 #11090)
  39. Sweet Young Thing Like You/Listen, They’re Playing My Song (ABC Aug-68 #11133)
  40. If It Wasn’t For Bad Luck/When I Stop Dreaming (ABC Nov-68 #11170)
  41. I’ll Be Your Servant/I Didn’t Know What Time it Was (ABC Feb-69 #11193)
  42. Let Me Love You/I’m Satisfied (ABC Apr-69 #11213)
  43. We Can Make It/I Can’t Stop Loving You, Baby (ABC Aug-69 #11239)
  44. Claudie Mae/Someone to Watch Over Me (ABC Nov-69 #11251)
  45. Laughin’ And Clownin’/That Thing Called Love (ABC Jan-70 #11259)
  46. If You Were Mine/Till I Can’t Take it Anymore (ABC Aug-70 #11271)
  47. Don’t Change On Me/Sweet Memories (ABC Feb-71 #11291)
  48. Feel So Bad/Your Love Is So Doggone Good (ABC Jul-71 #11308)
  49. What Am I Living For/Tired Of My Tears (ABC Nov-71 #11317)
  50. Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma/America The Beautiful (ABC Jun-72 #11329)
  51. Hey Mister/There’ll Be No Peace Without All Men As One (ABC Nov-72 #11337)
  52. Every Saturday Night/Take Me Home, Country Roads (ABC Jan-73 #11344)
  53. I Can Make It Thru the Days (But Oh Those Lonely Nights)/Ring of Fire (ABC Apr-73 #11351)
* Actually, that should've been Ol' Man Time - in the U.S. Ol' Man River was never released as a single!

The 3 singles which were distributed by ABC, but for pragmatical reasons were released under variant labels, were not selected for this collection:
  • I’ve Got News For You/I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (Impulse #202, June 1961)
  • One Mint Julep/Let’s Go (Impulse #200, February 1961)
  • Booty Butt / Sidewinder (Tangerine Records, TRC #1015, March 1971)
Michael Doherty wrote a good, extensive review. Hyperbolium's review has some more interesting details on the release.

Promotional clips:

06 September 2011

Ray Charles, His Band & Peter Nero On Local TV In Philadelphia (1997)

In a Keyboard Magazine interview Ray Charles, when asked about his favorite pianist, was quoted as saying, “Art Tatum could play anything he wanted to. He's one of the few people who I truly believe could play anything he thought of… and Peter Nero plays his buns off!”
Probably the first time the two of them met and played together was at The Dinah Shore (Chevy) Show in 1963. Here's the finale of that show, where Dinah Shore, Ray, Liberace, Peter Nero and Big Tiny Little perform Zip A Dee Do Dah (at 54.39):

On 18 January 1996 Nero invited Ray to perform at the Florida Philharmonic Pops benefit at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The audience response was so good, that the invitation was repeated exactly one year later.
In an interview published by AllAboutJazz on 8 July 2009, Nero shares his story on the '96 Pops event:
Q: "It's interesting that you mention Tatum, because Ray Charles once compared you to Tatum in terms of your ability."
A: "Ray Charles has always been very good to me in the press, going back to the early '60s, when I started to record. And then we finally linked up and met and played together. From about 1991-2000, I ran the Florida Philharmonic Pops, and they had a gala with their music director conducting, and I performed the Rhapsody In Blue on the piano, and then Ray came out for the second half with his conductor, and asked me if I would sit in with him. So we did a duet in which he played organ and I played piano. It was an experience I shall never forget, and it was repeated after that.
At that particular concert, we did an A-flat blues. He set it up so he had an organ bench and I had a piano bench, right next to each other at a 90 degree angle. Ray, playing organ, faced the audience, and I was seated in the usual piano position facing stage left. He gave me a big intro, and we just comped the blues, and he soloed first. And our shoulders were touching, my right shoulder touching his left. So I'm just comping for his solo, but now comes my turn to play choruses, and he's comping for me. And as you know, he's very vocal, moaning and groaning, and then when he likes something I'm doing, he digs his left shoulder into my right shoulder, [laughter] so my right foot is on the pedal, but my left foot is on the floor trying to keep Ray from pushing me off the bench [laughter]! It was really fun, just a great experience."
On 4 July 1997 Ray was on again, in a concert on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, with Peter Nero and the Ray Charles Orchestra. Nero, in the same interview, puts the wrong year to it, but his anecdote is funny and interesting again:
A: "A couple of years later, we had a Fourth of July concert in Philly at the Parkway, with around a million people attending. Ray had his own band on that one. Interestingly, there was a problem in Ray's written contract with the city. In writing it, they neglected to put a few things in there. One, they wanted him to do America The Beautiful. And more importantly, they made no mention of the fact that it was going to be telecast locally. When he found out about the mistakes, he said he would only do 15 minutes unless he was properly remunerated for performing that song and for the TV hookup.
He was angry they didn't tell him up front, and felt they were ripping him off. The city called me and asked me if I knew Ray. They claimed ignorance about negotiating a theatrical contract. Understanding that it was an innocent slip up, I emailed him and told him, "You're right (which he was), Ray - but please understand it was an error and not a devious one." But when it came time for the show, nobody knew for sure what he was going to do. So at the concert, I did my segment with the Philly Pops, and then joined him in his trailer while another act went on. We just talked in general, not about the contract. The bottom line was that not only did he do the whole 45 minutes they wanted, but another five minutes or so doing the blues duet with me. And then he did America The Beautiful. When I got home, the city representative had left me an answering machine message saying, "I owe you one!" But it was really Ray's generosity - that when he understood what the situation was, he came through."
Q: "I remember that performance of America The Beautiful. It was one of the most memorable things that ever happened in Philadelphia. [...]"
The TV station implied in the story above was the local ABC 6 channel.

Video still with Peter Nero.
I've watched a VHS copy of the 6 ABC/WPVI broadcast. The soundmix wasn't fantastic, but Ray and the band were in a good mood. Ray visibly highly enjoyed Peter Nero's contribution to #11, Blues For Big Scotia. The celebration of Independence Day of course justified the unusual encore with America The Beautiful.

The setlist was:
  1. BBC (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. Intro Ray Charles
  3. Riding Thumb
  4. Busted
  5. Georgia On My Mind
  6. Intro Raelettes (by RC)
  7. Chain Of Fools (ft Estella Yarbrough)
  8. I Can't Stop Loving You
  9. Smack Dab In The Middle
  10. Intro Peter Nero
  11. Blues For Big Scotia (with Peter Nero - p)
  12. What'd I Say
  13. America The Beautiful
  14. Outro
The instrumental, BBC (#1), was written and arranged by Bob Florence.
The personnel of the band and the The Raelettes was identical to the line-up of the group that toured Europe from July 6 to August 2 (cf. this).

Ted Murdock, Roger Ingram, David Hoffman, Ken Scharf - trumpet; Mike Guerrier, Steve Sigmund, Clay Lawry, Wayne Coniglio - trombone; Al Waters, Al Jackson, Steve Elliott, Rudy Johnson, James Farnsworth - saxophone; Kenny Carr - guitar; Tom Fowler - bass; Ernest Vantrease - keyboards; Peter Turre - drums. The Raelettes: Estella Yarbrough, Katrina Harper Cooke, Kathy Mackey, Karen Evans, Tonette McKinney.
*Line-up kindly confirmed by Dave Hoffman.

Wolfgang's Vault has released a (superior) audio-only recording of this concert. I guess this YouTube audio-only copy was extracted from that:

04 September 2011

Ray Charles Band Promoting Pepsi Clothing Line In Glendale (1991)

In April 1991 Ray Charles and his Orchestra performed in a series of promotional gigs at U.S. shopping malls, showing Pepsi's Uh-huh clothing line.
For PR footage of such a promotional concert at the Galleria mall in Glendale, California on 29 April 1991, see this. You'll hear bits of Riding Thumb, Busted and Georgia. For more on the Pepsi campaign, read this.

03 September 2011

Ray Charles Co-Billed With Louis Armstrong At Kent State Gig (1967)

(c) Kent Stater

With his special talent to get the most out of duets and other forms of collaboration, Ray Charles has recorded with an impressive longlist of other stars - singers as well as instrumentalists (also see the "With"-labels in the sidebar of this page). And in the almost sixty years of his career, Ray Charles has shared the stage with a representative sample of other contemporary, American blues, jazz, rock, country, and pop stars. Nevertheless, only a fraction of these events has been documented in a meaningful way.
(c) KSU Chestnut Burr Yearbook..
Therefore it's great fun to find a richly illustrated article like this: Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong Co-Headline a 1967 Homecoming Extravaganza on Kent's Campus, by Jason Prufer. It describes the programming by the Kent State University Homecoming committee in 1967 (accidentally the year that I have paid quite some attention to; see a.o. this and this article), that must have been generally considered - also by contemporaries - as highly peculiar.~
(c) KSU Chestnut Burr Yearbook..
The article quotes a newspaper review which provides a lot of details about the Ray Charles Show. First there was the Ray Charles Orchestra, playing a choice of tunes, from Walk On By* to Willow Weep For Me**,  interspersed by Billy Preston doing Agent Double O Soul and Shotgun*, and The Raelettes performing Respect*. After the intermission, Ray did an expected set with Georgia, Hit The Road and Can't Stop, promoted his recent albums through renditions of Crying Time and Here We Go Again, and plugged his newest single, Yesterday. He also threw in his piano solos on Premium Stuff***.
The Kent Stater wrote, "The lengthy applause which followed was acknowledged by the perfomer's comments, 'Go ahead! I appreciate it! Ain't no harm to it!'"
Ray and Louis were interviewed for WKSU-FM. The taping seems to be lost, but Prufer has reconstructed some of the contents with the help of deejay Rich Phoenix.

~  Prufer understandably ignores the third co-billed artist, Mitch Ryder, who certainly was a star at the time, and may have brought his Detroit Wheels to Kent State. * Never recorded. I think the writer meant to refer to the very similar tune Goin' Out Of My Head, which was on the playlists of the other '67 tours.** Never recorded live. *** Never recorded; also mentioned in this 1967 review, with the remark "here you had the comedian, exploring the possibilities of humor in music".