NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — One night in Stockholm half a century ago, Ray Charles gave a blood-pumping, soul-shaking concert that was nearly lost to history.
The evening begins with a finger-snapping rendition of Charles’ classic concert opener, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, followed by an electrifying “What I See”. Charles then delivers two more rarities, a hazy, sad version of “I’ve Had My Fun” followed by “Game People Play”. He ends with a frantic “Mary” followed by an extended 8-minute version of “I’ve Got a Woman”. The crowd goes wild.
Many details of that night are lost, such as the exact date, where Charles was hosted in the city and the identity of the mysterious engineer who did his job. But it cannot be denied that this is a remarkable record.
John Burke, who produced Charles’ last album, the Grammy-winning “Genius Love’s Company,” says it “captured an incredible moment where he was especially playing and singing well and the band was on, and So they’re just great versions.” , “He was at the peak of his powers.”
In between songs, Charles can be heard interacting with the audience. “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to introduce some femininity this time around — I like it myself,” he says before singing “Game People Play”, giving each of his four-part backing vocals the raclette to shine. gives a chance.
“You get a window into the power of this artist at a time when he was relatively young, strong and at the top of his game. And it’s so cool that nobody heard it before,” Burke says.
That night’s eight-track distillation is making its way to the digital platform on Friday. It was previously released on limited-edition vinyl for Record Store Day in 2021.
The recording was discovered while Burke and the Ray Charles FoundationValerie Erwin, were putting together 2021’s “True Genius,” a limited edition box set featuring 90 songs from Charles’ legendary career that would have been his 90th birthday.
Burke wondered if there might be an exciting live recording in the vault. “Live in Stockholm” was revealed.
“A lot of the live recordings that are in the vault aren’t necessarily of very high quality, but it sounded great,” said Burke, co-founder of Acceleration Music. “It also had an incredible energy from the audience.”
It was added to the box set.
Only one Charles album has been reissued this year to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The year 1972 also saw the release of the studio album “A Message from the People”, perhaps Charles’ most socially conscious record. It will be remastered and re-released on June 17, capping a big year for Charles, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last week.
“A message from the people” includes “O Mister,” a powerful call to end hunger; “Abraham, Martin and John” about the three slain symbols of social change; John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” A cover of “Lifts Every Voice and Sing” and closes with the now-classic “America the Beautiful”.
“I think it’s the only record he ever did, where he made a complete record about a statement to the world and what’s going on,” Burke says. “It’s about hope for what could be the American dream and he’s also uncovering some of the obstacles to actually achieving that dream.”