I ordered this week’s posts randomly, so imagine my surprise when the first voice I heard when firing up Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company was that of Norah Jones, yesterday’s featured artist.
Jones is one of 12 artists with whom Charles teamed up for this collection of duets, the last album he would record before his death in June of 2004. The album was released posthumously two months later, becoming Charles’ first #1 record in 42 years.
Genius Loves Company rode that nostalgic wave to the best album sales of Charles’ career and eight Grammy wins, including Album and Record of the Year.
For all of its success, I’m sorry to say this is not a very good album. Apart from today’s duet with the always wonderful Bonnie Raitt, nothing here grabbed me.
Uninspired song selection and syrupy production sink what might otherwise have been fruitful collaborations with artists including Elton John, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, and Willie Nelson.
It’s always nice to hear Charles’ distinctive voice, but I’ll set this swan song aside and reach back into his extensive catalog if I want to get that fix.
Do I ever cross your mind?
Darlin’, do you ever see
Some situation somewhere, somehow
Triggers your memory, huh?
And do you ever wonder
What became of all the time
Honey, do I ever, ever cross your mind?
[Verse 2: Bonnie Raitt]
Do you ever wanna know
Do all dreams go on endlessly
Or do they just run down somehow
And gradually become a custody?
Oh, that melancholy jailer
For all the time, oh my
Do I ever darlin’, ever cross your mind?
Do I ever cross your mind uninvited
Or when you’re lonely
Or does it only happen to me?
[Verse 3: Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt]
Darlin’, do you ever wanna know
What became, became of all the time?
I wanna know, do I ever, ever cross your mind?
Oh baby, baby
[Outro: Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt]
Little darlin’, do you ever wonder
(Do you ever wonder)
What became of all the time?
Please tell me, do I ever, ever cross your mind?
Do I ever, ever cross your mind?
I really must have been checked out of music in 2004, other than perhaps the Wiggles, because I have no recollection of this album or it’s commercial success and Grammy success.
The album cover is so familiar that I bet we owned it, though likely didn’t play it much for the reasons Clay mentions. That said, I’m enjoying hearing Bonnie and Ray’s voices together this morning.