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Category Archives: ray charles

A Little Ray to Make Your Day

It’s Friday!!!  Thank the Lord in his blue heaven. 

Here’s a bit of the Righteous Reverand to start the weekend off right….

  Hallejuah, I Love Her So

  Mess Around

  Drown in My Own Tears

and a repeat performance of my all time favorite Ray Charles cover…

  My Bonnie

I think Ray really could have sung the phone book and held everyone, mesmerized.  They just don’t make ‘em like Ray no more.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 3, 2009 in ray charles, Soul, weekdays

 

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Lovin’ JM

Mayerliciousness

Mayerliciousness

My Mayer love is well documented.  If you search the John Mayer tag on this blog, you’ll find many a tidbit concerning the young guitar hero.  I’m really not fangirly over Mayer…I mean he’s cute and all, has a wicked sense of humor, and lives the most enviable life, but more and more I gravitate to JM for the music.

I still find myself migrating  back to Continuum tracks when I’m surfing my iPod on plane trips.  Good music does that.  It beckons listeners back to visit and enjoy.  Now, I know that there are MANY Mayer haters out there (several have visited this blog), that think Mayer is a sell-out and even go so far as to call him “untalented”.  Sorry, but I can’t go there with you.  Mayer’s guitar prowess, alone, commands respect of the music appreciater.  Whether you like the dude or not, his talent is proven.

Besides, he is not in the generic mold of the current day Pop Star.  From his famously big mouth (sardonic & sarcastic) to his unconventional “style” (arm sleeve tattoos and ever-changing hair style), John Mayer is a non-conformist.  Mayer has been able to expand and explore other genres, despite his label trying to keep him constrained to high-selling “pop”.  He can do this because his audience accepts it and even demands it, giving him the leverage to basically do what he wants.  That’s how big talents roll. 

Ray Charles didn’t stay confined to blues and R&B.  He ventured deep into Country, traditional Adult Contemporary, and even a little Rock & Roll.  He did so and was readily accepted because the audience loved and appreciated his TALENT.  I see John Mayer in the same way.  And, before you submit some snarky comment….NO, I’m not saying that John Mayer is on par with Ray Charles.  At least, not yet.  However, he has proven his music ability which has given him the leverage to expand his horizons and that IS in the same vein as the great RC.

Perfect example is Mayer’s alter ego, The John Mayer Trio and their foray into heavy blues, jazz, and “standards”.  I was so pleasantly surprised to find this gem from Mayer’s traditional Thanksgiving night visit to David Letterman.  Normally, I would balk on a “pretender” trying to cover Sinatra on one of my favorite Sinatra tunes, but Mayer takes it and makes it his own, without bastardizing or dramatically retarding the song and its wonderful essence.

Bravo.

  Wee Small Hours of the Morning

 

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Is YouTube Down the Tube?

 

In the on-going battle between media moguls Viacom and YouTube/Google, Viacom has had to take the defensive and quell fears of invasion of privacy of hordes of internet video purusers of the wildly popular YouTube.  It seems that as part of the $1 BILLION dollar copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Viacom against YouTube and its parent, Google, a judge ruled that YouTube must turn over it’s vast database of videos and the usage data along with it.  This data would include user names, IP addresses and profile information that users have included such as hometowns and even names. 

Privacy advocates went ballistic, accusing Viacom of trying to acquire the names of YouTube uploaders and viewers in an attempt to pursue, in the vein of the RIAA’s prosecution of those downloading illegal music.  Viacom suddenly was thrust into a PR nightmare and had to substantially back-pedal and qualify that they only wanted the usage data to either prove or disprove that the majority of YouTube’s content is user established and proprietary to uploaders, rather than copyrighted programming.  As such, YouTube agreed in principle to provide the data “masked” through other naming or numbering to hide the actual user names and information from Viacom.  This may or may not appease the ACLU-types, as masking doesn’t necessarily protect users if they can be tied via a usage pattern to other databases that could provide user data.

It is interesting to me that Viacom had no real issue with YouTube until Google and their deep pockets made the scene.  Perhaps Viacom sees this suit is an easier money maker than, say, providing quality programming that would attract more and better advertisers. 

No, Viacom has chosen to pursue a company that has repeatedly shown that it proactively tries to prohibit copyrighted material from its servers and has always complied with taking down material upon request.  That complies full with the DMCA — the law by which this case is governed.  Confused?  Perhaps this video can shed some light.

In the meantime, there is speculation that Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart will actually be called as witnesses in the case.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it will be to lament how their pockets are being picked by wanton pirates who are uploading their shows, as well as nefarious viewers who are illegally watching their shows through YouTube instead of on The Comedy Channel, where advertisers pay hordes of money to Colbert and Stewart, by way of Viacom, for viewers to tune in there.

Here is a NEWSFLASH.  Viacom, along with many other media companies have MISSED THE BOAT.  Again.  Instead of joining forces with YouTube to further distribute their programming and broaden their audiences, they are once again, shooting themselves in the foot by trying to cripple or destroy one of the outlets that are actually helping them to sustain viewers.

Go through this with me.  Let’s use The Daily Show for an example.  Now, certainly, there are people who watch The Daily Show every day.  They consider Jon Stewart a god and tune in every day at x:30 to soak up his sardonic witticism and sarcastic political diatribes.  Let’s say that he gets a 10 share or 10% of American TVs were tuned in (a generous number, here).  That leaves 90% of us who are not watching him or maybe not watching anything, for that matter.

Common sense tells us that unless they happen to miss an episode, the loyal 10% are not relying on YouTube to provide their Jon Stewart fix.  So, YouTube is really a big, ole billboard for The Daily Show in that people like me may tune in to a YouTube video linked onto a blog that I read or that someone emails me.  Then, perhaps, Mr. Stewart intrigues or entertains me enough to take a real interest in what he has to say.  Well, I will want to hear him say it at x:30 on the days that he’s on and if I can’t make it, I can always set my DVR to record it.  Regardless, I am going to the source to get my content.

Let’s face it, old movies and TV shows don’t make YouTube until they’ve already been played on TV.  How does this affect my viewership of something like The Daily Show on The Comedy Channel?  They aren’t running every show in re-runs for me to catch up.  Some networks like NBC do provide episodes of their TV programs to watch via their websites, so I can understand their beef.  But, again, isn’t YouTube simply providing trailers for people to find these shows?  Very rarely are you going to find ALL of the episodes of a particular TV program on YouTube.  But, a snippet of one might just cause you to seek out the TV program (on its network), if you are appropriately stimulated to do so.

I also find it interesting that The Daily Show can be found on the front page of Hulu.com, so evidently they are not above having viewers watch their show on a competing network’s vehicle.  (Hulu is owned by NBC/Universal.)  While I understand that they are getting paid, why not try to strike a similar deal with YouTube.  YouTube actually approached Viacom about cutting a deal that would allow them to broadcast Viacom shows and in return, YouTube would build filters (similar to their porn filters) that would block material from Viacom projects from being uploaded without consent.  Viacom views this as strong-arming and has declined.  It just appears a bit hypocritical to me that Viacom agrees to sell its programming to Hulu (a competitor) and won’t work out a deal with YouTube and Google.  Sadly, what they miss is that if they did, they would be viewed as pioneers of progress and amply rewarded by increased viewership. 

While the revenue stream for musicians and writers is more convoluted, they are missing the same boat by not embracing the awareness-building outlet of YouTube to gain exposure for their music.  Some artists “get it” and that’s why you’re starting to see YouTube channels like Radiohead, AliciaKeys, mayermusic, and AmosLeePodcast.  These guys understand that YouTube is a vehicle for distribution.  To engage the viewer/listener.  To evoke enough of an interest to have that viewer buy tracks, seek out concert tickets, and become A FAN.  Once you’ve got fans, then the word of mouth of people like you and me become more precious than diamonds and gold.  The label is not getting the arist the kind of exposure YouTube and other non-traditional on-line outlets, like blogs, are providing.  Again, why not embrace the change instead of trying to eradicate it.  In the annals of history, there is no-one who has ever stopped progress through limiting technology.  Why try something that has been proven to fail every time?

YouTube may have a bit of a rock road to travel, however because of Google’s deep pockets they are here to stay.  IMO.  If not, I’m going to be really pissed.

Here’s some Tubeliciousness that I came across today.  Imagine being deprived of these?

  Astral Weeks, Van Morrison

  Street Corner Preacher, Amos Lee

  It Take Two to Tango, Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles

  Slip Slidin’ Away, Paul Simon (live @ Abbey Road)

 

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Out of the Ordinary is the Ordinary…Ray Charles

Ray Charles was such a complete and uncanny talent. There was really nothing he couldn’t sing nor anywhere he couldn’t sing it. Here are a few songs that demonstrate his unparalleled range and adaptability, throughout his magnificent career. I think he encapsulates it best in the interview here:

If you can sing what’s in your heart, and keep time…well, that’s it.

My Bonnie

In the Evening

Let the Good Times Roll, Tel Aviv

While I maintain that NOBODY sings Yesterday accept McCartney, I think Ray comes close:

Yesterday

But, perhaps my favorite of Ray’s Beatles’ covers is Let It Be. His tempo changes and little touches create a whole different feel to the wonderful classic, yet still makes it believable.

Let It Be

Ray had a certain af-FECK-shun and ap-PREE-she-ashun for The Beatles. Other wonderful Ray Beatles’ covers:

Long & Winding Road

Eleanor Rigby

Never short of genres to invade, Ray conquered them all and all of their artists.

Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Ring of Fire

Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma with Babs

Livin’ for the City, with Stevie Wonder

Oh Happy Day with The Voices of Jubilation

He even conquered the instruments:

On Lead Sax

And I just have to add this one, because it’s one of my all time favorite Ray tunes:

Drown in My Own Tears

Amen, Reverend.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 31, 2008 in blues, Country, music legends, ray charles

 

How do you spell Legend?

The awesome talent that is Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald, long after their prime and both without sight.

Truly inspirational.

Route 66, at the Moulin Rouge in Paris

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2007 in music legends, ray charles

 
 
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