Sunday, March 17, 2013

Course Correction

Just because you put "Ray Charles" on the sleeve of your album, or lure in the curious with "songs of Hawaii" on it, does not mean it is worthy of your turntable.  It seems when eying this one I just picked out aforementioned key words, which when out of context, did not equal what I thought it did when actually heard from the speakers.  Upon first listen I think I almost melted.  Every track was on the verge of being a christmas sing-a-long circa 1950.  Not the sort of thing that is going to get a lot of mileage around this pad.

My mistake for not making the distinction between "The Ray Charles Singers" and the actual "Ray Charles," soul singer, that everyone knows.  Apparently this is none other than the no-one-has-heard-of Charles Raymond Offenberg, composer and leader of the Ray Charles Singers.  How does he get away with parading around as "Ray Charles"?  Does.Not.Compute.  Indeed the group appearing on this record, is also the group who did schmaltzy commercial jingles and choral records for 35 years.  GREAT.  Why didn't anyone inform me of this before spending an entire dollar at the RAG (Recycled American Goods) Shop in Berkley Springs, WV?
And since I'm slagging off on this piece of goodness, who is this faux Mark Rothko that contributed art to this album?  Is this a pig snout? A hippo face? Surely an animal, or a rendering of the Hawaiian islands that they are singing about.  Poop.

Well it's fair to say that the VVers only lasted for half of the first half of side A before running screaming to lift the needle.  In fact, it was so bad, that we took that chance that really nothing could be worse and threw on some Sesame Street tunes that we have in our listening queue for no reason.  In fact Bert's Blockbusters proved to be the perfect follow up.  There were only a few crayon marks on the vinyl.
Lots of gems here.  "Doin the Pigeon" is a stellar and catchy dance number.  The album ends with "Bert is Sick".  Ernie obliviously reads his "How to Tell Someone is Sick Book" to Bert while he is obviously ill.  Priceless.

So, in conclusion I would like to thank the Ray Charles singers for being so awful.  If not for their old-timey harmonizing from heck the VVers would not likely have spent the remainder of the night listening to all of our Sesame Street records.  Happy ending.

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