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Ray Charles – “Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles” review

Written by admin on February 25, 2012 – 7:07 pm -

Harley Payette reviews the recent five-CD Ray Charles collection – “Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles.”

ABC-Paramount Records almost gave up the store when they signed Ray Charles to a long term deal in late 1959. The contract the singer received was unprecedented in the industry. After recording and promotional expenses had been recouped, the singer would receive a royalty rate of 75 percent. Generally artists received a rate between one (on the really disreputable labels) and five percent. There was also a $50,000 annual guarantee whether Charles’ records were profitable or not. On top of that, after five years of exclusive use by ABC-Paramount, ownership rights of Charles recordings made at the label would revert to the singer. This is a consideration rare even in today’s more artist friendly industry. What made the deal all the more remarkable was the fact that Brother Ray had only placed one record in the Pop Top Twenty to that point, the same year’s breakthrough masterpiece “What’d I Say.” The fledgling corporate owned label, though, was eager to make the signing because they felt Charles’ name would encourage other artists in the lucrative R&B, jazz and rock and roll fields to see ABC-Paramount as a potential home.

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