Ray Charles Christmas Songs & Music
The music of Ray Charles is a blend of so many different sounds
and styles, it is little wonder the soul legend turned his hand to
Christmas songs as well. His treatment of carols and seasonal hits
blends r&b, blues, jazz, country and rock, resulting in some of
the most unique Christmas hits around. Throughout a career spanning
almost sixty years, Charles turned out only two holiday albums, but
he made sure they were memorable!
1985: The Spirit of Christmas
Ray Charles lends his trademark growl to eleven holiday favourites in this, his first Christmas compilation. The album opens with a soulful and unique rendition of the classic What Child is This?, before letting loose with a host of upbeat favourites such as Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Charles saves the best for last however, closing with his 1961 cover of the jazz standard Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Charles performs this number with songstress Betty Carter, producing the perfect song for sipping eggnog by the fire!
2004: Ray Charles Celebrates: A Gospel Christmas With the Voices of Jubilation
In 2003, Ray Charles made musical history, by performing live with the 120-member Voices of Jubilation Choir. The resulting album is available on both CD and DVD and makes for interesting listening. The music harks back to Charles’s gospel roots, even if the superstar is notably absent for much of the performance. The concert opens with a lengthy set from the choir performing traditional gospel selections of praise and worship. When Charles finally makes an appearance, it is brief, although thankfully followed by a longer set later in the program. He delivers memorable renditions of Silent Night and several other classics, before closing with a touching cover of America the Beautiful. Although Charles is clearly old and frail in this performance, both he and the choir manage to keep the Christmas spirit flowing and drum up plenty of good will to men!