RAY CHARLES / “Drown In My Own Tears”

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3 Responses to “RAY CHARLES / “Drown In My Own Tears””

AumRa Frezel Says:
July 27th, 2005 at 9:16 am

Black music, for me, has never been solely about the fidelity of the recording but the overall sound or mood of the performance. I try to listen for the spirit inherent in the piece and the intent of the artist. One of the most interesting things about Brother Ray is the sound of his voice. The God voice is utilized by most Black preachers when spitting droplets of judiciousness. That razor-sharp yell/scream can cut to the core of being. A vocal quality both spiritual and sexual that is quite capable of raising the kundalini for whatever purpose you may intend at a particular point in space and time. True indeed, it was this ecstatic quality that caused many of his early fans to publicly denounce his departure to secular music while privately getting drunk and God knows what else to Ray’s secular sound privately. As far as getting “rocked and rolled”, after Ray got through with it, ‘Lets Go Get Stoned’ didn’t sound like so bad an idea. It was as though the blind man had led his flock of followers down the path to damnation. Speaking of damnation only Ray Charles can take a song like America the Beautiful and try his damnest to save the wretched from themselves. As Felipe Luciano says on the album Right On, “Jibard!”

It was or has been pretty much the same for Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, Al Green and scores of other performing artists attempting, whether purposely or subconsciously, to blur or erase entirely the line of demarcation between secular and sacred music.

Every Marvin has a What’s Going On inside. Every Lauren has an Unplugged. Every Stevie has a Music of My Mind. And though in the case of Mahalia who was ridiculed because of the mere association with Duke on the recording Come Sunday, the fact remains; there seems to be a need to pigeon-hole artists and art. Folks not only partied to What’s Going On, they listened and comprehended that there was a man who knows ‘my situation’, knows ‘my life’. When Marvin said “don’t go and talk about my Father, God is my friend, Jesus is my friend. He loves us whether we all know it and forgives all our sins. And all that He asks of us is we give each other love.” We testified, danced and well, ‘loved each other’ sort to speak. So likewise we listen to Ray with our hearts and minds and various other body organs as well because, after all, it’s the same energy. It’s all a matter in how it gets directed. We feel Ray in intangible ways. Ray expressed drowning in his own tears so emotionally eloquent that we all at once knew exactly what he felt because at one time or another we all have had so many good cries that our souls have grown deep. Comprehending and communicating existence in abstract ways is an aspect of self-determination.


March 8th, 2007 at 6:49 pm

This is an awesome article.

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