Genius Loves Company Given the high regard in which Ray Charles was held in the music business, a star-heavy album of duets was a natural. Unfortunately, Genius Loves… Genius Loves Company Given the high regard in which Ray Charles was held in the music business, a star-heavy album of duets was a natural. Unfortunately, Genius Loves… 2004-08-31 Ray Charles
Music Review

Genius Loves Company (2004)

Ray Charles | STING RAY Unfortunately, Charles' last record comes off maudlin
Image credit: Ray Charles: David Corio / Retna
STING RAY Unfortunately, Charles' last record comes off maudlin
EW's GRADE
C

Details Release Date: Aug 31, 2004; Lead Performance: Ray Charles

Given the high regard in which Ray Charles was held in the music business, a star-heavy album of duets was a natural. Unfortunately, Genius Loves Company -- recorded just before his death -- pays homage to his penchant for big-band corn rather than his road-house soul. Norah Jones, James Taylor, Diana Krall, and Bonnie Raitt, among others, dutifully line up to sing with their hero, but the songs suffer from sterile supper-club production (particularly on Charles and Willie Nelson's excessively maudlin team-up, ''It Was a Very Good Year''), and the material, which includes ''Somewhere Over the Rainbow'' and ''Fever,'' isn't terribly inspiring either. As Charles and his pals trade verses, everyone sounds good yet distant, as if the performances had been taped in different studios. Company? Plenty. Genius? Not enough.

Originally posted Aug 30, 2004 Published in issue #781 Sep 03, 2004 Order article reprints
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