Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962) by Ray Charles

Categories: 1962 and Music.

Though is definitely a pop soul version of the soul Ray Charles helped create, and though the backing vocals and syrupy strings date the record horribly, this album transformed two genres so drastically it’s probably hard to imagine either without it.

On the one hand, it showed soul artists (and other rhythm and blues-based genre artists) that one could mine other traditions than the blues for songs, leading to numerous soul and R&B covers of songs that never would have been covered Charles never did this.
Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, it showed country musicians that they could use contemporary arrangements and record production on country songs, leading to both good things (country rock, alternative country) and bad things (the gradual transformation of country from a distinct American genre of music to pop and rock songs with accents, fiddles and steel guitars).
Neither of these things would have happened without this record.
Also, Charles is in fine form as a singer, even if the arrangements around him feel written for white audiences.


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