Friday, March 12, 2010

Ray Charles: Generations Blindness to One Man's Insults

If life was like a game of Family Feud and Ray Charles was the topic the answers would likely look like this. 2) Piano 3) Sunglasses 4) Jamie Foxx Bio-Pic 5) Musical pioneer. Number one would likely be cute little old blind man, unless of course everyone in the survey pool was like me, than survey would likely say “antagonizer”. For those of you who have seen the movie Ray, this likely isn’t all that far-fetched as you already knew of Ray’s checkered past such as his Heroin addiction. But for the benefit of those who still view Ray as an innocent old man allow me to explain.

As much as Ray is known for his “banging and swaying” style on the piano today, early on in his career he was known for something entirely different; disrespecting the Church. When I first learned of this shocking de velopment it made sense, perhaps Ray was bitter and saw this as an attack on God for leaving him blind. However I was wrong, as Ray was not born blind but, was rather blinded because of an eye infection from contaminated water that was left untreated. So it is unlikely that Ray had any qualms with God. No, Ray simply loved pushing the envelope.

Ray , unlike modern day trouble makers, who merely spew out offensive SoundBits in order to gain free publicity. Ray was talented and his talent gained him all the attention he wanted, he caused controversy, because he legitimately enjoyed doing so. Even more impressive, Charles didn’t have to just say offensive things, he actually worked them into the structure of his music, thus killing two birds with one stone.
Example 1) “This Little Girl of Mine”: In this piece Ray strips the famous gospel hymn “This Little Light of Mine”. Normally this song tells a story of one who finds faith in God and decides to share this new found faith with the world. Doing so by shining the light of God on them in hopes they too will see the light. Ray however makes it a tale of a man whose found a woman who “loves him even when he’s bad”, calls him up late at night for dates (booty calls) and stops traffic with her scantily clad body.

Example 2) “What’d I Say Part 2”: Although this song isn’t based on any particular hymn, it is once again an example of Ray taking the gospel hymn style and secularizing it. Unlike Ray’s other songs, this song was not preplanned, but rather was born out of Ray’s need to fill the last few minutes of a live set. To do so Ray and The Raelettes improvised using the call and response method often employed by African-American churches. Except, rather than cries of “Praise Jesus” followed by howls of “hallelujah” or “amen”, there was the moans and very sexual groans of Ray and the Raelettes. This isn’t just the opinion of one eccentric write either, on the subject of this song Ray had this to say. “I'm not one to interpret my own songs, but if you can't figure out 'What I Say', then something's wrong. Either that, or you're not accustomed to the sweet sounds of love.” Fans agreed as part 2 was boycotted nationwide, while part 1 was played even on white radio stations (controversy creates cash). Eventually, this became Ray’s first album to go gold (sex sells). Lyrics starts around the 1:35, while the 2:00 features one of the first instances of an artist talking about a women shaking her ass and part 2 starts around 4:30, but feel free to listen to the whole thing, because it’s great.

3) “I’ve Got a Woman”: This song once again utilizes both the beat and lyrics of a famous gospel hymn, this time drawing from “It Must Be Jesus” and “My Jesus is All the World to Me”. The initial hymn was about how Jesus is the center of our lives and how he gives us the strength to do all things. Charles’ version however spoke of a sugar momma, who not only provided Ray with money to do nothing all day, but also provided him with “lovin’” both day and night. Furthermore, mainly will recognize the style as a model for Kayne Weste song “Gold-digger” , which ironically deals with the reverse topic. Although Kayne is often chastised as a scum-bag extraordinaire, in this instance he did the right thing and gave Ray posthumous credit for writing the song (although this may have just been at the urging of his legal team).

Honorable Mention: “Let’s Go Get Stoned”: Deals with Ray’s recent stint in rehab and the lure drugs still possess.
If I haven’t destroyed Ray’s pristine image yet, I leave you with this, according to Jerry Wexler who often worked with Ray, "We didn't know shit about making records, but we were having fun".1 Cheers to Ray and company for their complete lack of professionalism and ability to have fun at the expense of others. If only others would be willing to drop the overly PC (politically correct) attitude our society has developed and live for themselves.

As always feel free to drop a comment at our formspring

Sources: 1



We have special treat for all you ETS Daily out there, in conjunction with one of our web associates,

For all readers who sign up over there and attend one of the online give-aways, you will get six (6) FREE codes for players from your favorite NBA team!!!

You can whisper the secret code
to AdrenalynXL in the thread ETS Daily Promotion to be recognized as part of the promotion.

Welcome To Minus the ETS

Minus the ETS is a sports news blog dedicated to the sports that ESPN and your local news decide to leave out. Everything from the NBA to professional wrestling, now with movie reviews!!!

Coming Soon:
Learn a Foreign Language Articles!!!
Countdowns of the Best Players!!!
Why Lebron is Better than Everything Else!!!
Play-by-Play Breakdown of Taco Bell Superbowl Ad!!!
and as always more ridiculous sports!!!


"I read your articles on ETS Daily a few days're a good writer...there was good stuff there..i didnt know someof teh stuff you were talking about but it was still interesting and I am offically a fan lol:)" - Beyond devoted anonymous reader