Music is a multi-faceted universe and Ray Charles made a major contribution to changing its boundaries, bringing different kinds of material into play in order to express their full emotional impact. It takes a rare kind of energy and sensitivity to succeed in the tour de force of combining elements of jazz, blues and country music, trustingly and with no false pretenses, simply using your sense of soul. Ray provides a great example of this, having brought about several stylistic revolutions in the name of the blues, which, without his input, wouldn't have the same spacing, the same breath of life, or the same essential impulse. A one-of-a-kind character, Ray Charles can be compared to Louis Armstrong in many ways. Their extremely distinctive voices aside, Ray & Louis also share a totally liberated form of inspiration, an eclectic range of styles and a musical sensitivity which allows them to work in different musical styles, no matter how diverse. Remarkably, they always get the tone just right and fit in perfectly. They also share a tireless and thoroughly exploited love for live performances, an ever-present sense of humour and were extremely generous; all qualities they eagerly brought to bear in their stage work around the world. Tainted at first by tragedy and drama, the path Ray Charles took through life demonstrated his unwavering energy and determination. In spite of his success, he never forgot where he came from not who he was. This shy and discreet man enthusiastically let himself go on stage, sometimes reaching a state of trance, and revealing a rareability to really get something across to the audience, which made him one of the most impressive showmen of his time.This is the first chapter in the long story of Ray Charles' career as an artist. The second is covered by our album "The Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961" (3CD Le Chant du Monde 2742190.92).