Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ray Charles!

I still remember the first time I heard this song. I was listening to WRR out of Dallas late one night on the highway between Mexia and Corsicana. Those were the days.

25 comments:

jj solari said...

i need for someone to explain to me why he was a genius. and at what.

Cynthia R. said...

I believe Ray Charles once submitted a paper on antimatter in an entangled quantum environment to The University at Leeds in 1972. They of course immediately put it into what they call the "Martian" file, from which it has since disappeared. All who were connected with the incident even now want to kick themselves. Some actually have.

gomer said...

i aint byin' it, cindy.

Randy Johnson said...

Damn Gomer. You don't capitalize and can't spell either. That's "buyin it" if one wants to get southern and leave off the g on the end.

Strother Martin Lewis said...

pwRay Charles was reputed to have solved "the porcelain problem." I am not sure exactly what that is but I think it involved some innovative porcelain-making process that would have allowed anyone to make high quality porcelain in the average kitchen. Maybe without even heat. At any rate the U.S. government was involved to broker - or I should say get extorted - to trade the kidnapped Ray Charles, who was learned to be in Red China very much against his will, in exchange for the process, which the Chinese then destroyed. They may also have done some destroying within Ray Charles' head itself which would explain the lyrics to "What'd I say."

Simon Ize Wright said...

Ray Charles worked with Hedi Lamarr, the actress and ahead-of-her-time inventor, on a device to shield polished metal circular slabs from gravitational influences without them being abandoned in space by the earth whizzing away from them, so to speak, once the device was activated. Their earnest and yet playful experiments accounted for the sudden and dramatic upsurge in "UFO" reports that more or less defined the 50's culture in a very real way. Since shielding anything from gravity resulted in the sudden and almost immediate loss of the object due to the earth leaving its vicinity, they both considered this an astoundingly vexing problem which, according to record, they never solved.

gomer said...

randy johnson, you and Capt Capitals really need to pool your talents and find something else to do together besides engage in sphincter envy regarding my typos and my insatiable reluctance to go to all the trouble to hit the upper case button regarding crap i aint never gonna get paid for. and i really dont appreciate you interrupting this forum regarding ray charles, which i am actually marginally interested in, in order to make it all about you and your ability to unerringly target my errors in aim on this keyboard. i suspect that if we were in a spelling bee within three seconds it would be just me and 9 year old apouangagolong guaoangitay left on the stage and you would be back on the bus halfway home to picayuneville nevada to return to your life of counting the beads on the backs of jila monsters to make sure they are all in proper random-sized patterns.

Initialit Juantz said...

The genius of Ray Charles, noteworthy as it already was, took yet another step of seven leagues away from the pack when he discerned the manner of building - and i believe the occasional moving! - of the "Coral Castle" ...a collection of mammoth stones and carvings that although of such weight as to even confound the mind of a modern industrial crane, such minds as they have; the rambling monstrous ediface and garden a lone eccentric recluse built for the unrequited love of a woman who, baasically, thought he was nuts and needed to be avoided by all, with herself at the head of the pack-in-hiding. The fellow died alone and left behind his ponderous, weight-laden immovable objects and a sky-wide mystery as to how they were moved about. Ray Charles, once running his hands over and across the gigantic carvings cried out "I know how he did it! I can feel the marks!!" Apparently his blindness had turned his hands into a form of eyes that the rest of us can never have any understanading of, and he was able to detect the residual impressions left by an apparatus - or something - that had been used in the moving of the rocks. He was then approached by a journalist who asked a battery of questions regarding social justice, which Mr. Charles politely addressed, and the moment was lost and forgotten in a blanketting of bus rides, riots, minimum wages, and other matters connected to the discussion. How do I know all this? I will answer all of that tomorrow. It is late right now and I must rest.

Ruggio said...

Hey, Gomer; gila monster's spelled with a g. Not a j. You really ARE an idiot. Just like everyone says.

Smudgepot Eddie said...

I once saw Ray Charles memorize and then recite the names of all the 6,000 visible stars in the sky after having them read to him once. It was astounding.

Sam Suong said...

The mathematician Richard Feynman was once discussiing some obscure problem in quantum physics to a class at Cal Tech and Ray Charles was by coincidence in the room installing a revolutionary, and still not released, variety of solar panels into the ceiling, or I should say supervising the intalling, and he was listeniing out of the corner of his ear to Prof. Feynman's quandry regarding a means of creating a way to revolutionize the learning process to better enable earthlings to understand with their terrestrial evolutional limitations, concepts that our minds are almost by natural design prevented from comprehending. Ray Charles immediately said a few simple words of explanation that so resolved this apparently unresolveable puzzle that all the students in the room gasped with a kind of other-worldly insight into the nature of quantum laws. It was like spiritual and emotional fireworks had gone off in the room.

Hub L. Ronnard said...

I don't know if this is the signature of "genius" or not, but I was at a Ray Charles concert once in the 80's and a fire broke out in the aisle. Well, that's how it appeared, actually the fire was brewing beneath the roof and a load of flaming debris had cascaded down a side wall into the aisle. It was a moment for murderous panic if there ever was one. Ray Charles immmediately stopped playing and singing and the band stopped and he turned towards where the fire was and said with a wide grin, "I'M HOT TONIGHT!!!" This so charmed the audience that with laughing happiness and jocular nonchalance all the people in the immediate vicinity calmly and effortlessly "stepped" the fire into an extinguished, smoking darkness, and several people, CO2 foggers in hand athletically scrambled into the rafters and with wonderful happy laughter sprayed out the flames and Ray charles calmly turned back to the keyboard and laughed, "I'm gonna SING about it!!" And he certainly did, inventing a song right then and there and having a swell time for himself and also for us! It was wonderful.

Gen'r'l Florid Sapiens said...

You know, Gomer, you really do need to think about finding other people to infect with your blather than the ones here. We are a gathering of sane, unarrogant, pleasant people, talking about sane, unarrogant, pleasant topics in a sane, unarrogant, pleasant environment. Your particularly low bred, ignorant, uninteresting brand of septic toxicity is not really being appreciated here. Why don't you just go away to your mother's house or some other equally dirty place and let us clean up your mess and get on with our business here. Thank you.

Prof. Cycorix Schticks said...

I think by "genius" is meant, in the Ray Charles scenario, not so much a range of intellectual scope so much as is meant a level of what APPEARS to be genius when measured within the parameters of a similar test group; which in this case would be other blind piano players. Therefore if the word "genius" is to have any meaning at all with regard to Ray Charles it can only have meaning when we compare him to the other blind piano player that there actually WAS, and that would be George Shearing. Who in fact never sang while playing! Was this sheer stupidity?.....or merely a lack of genius. And thus, yes, there is the issue. And on this I think all would have to agree. My own opinion on the matter is that George Shearing was able to sing but simply chose not to do so, prefering to concentrate all of his entertainment focus on the sounds coming from the piano rather than from his throat as well. Does this mean he was not a genius? Or does it simply mean that he was lazy. Well, now; there we have some angry grist for a violent milling. I myself would prefer not to really get into it, but were I to speak of it "from a distance," so to speak, I would have to say Yes; George Shearing was lazy. This can also be demonstrated by what the result was of the little energy that he did in fact use to make a living; and that result was that his music had what was called a "relaxed and easy nature." George Shearing's music was the closest thing musically to an infant's dreams turned into sound. I would be criticized by many were I to call it "lazy music." Such is his status.. But I will risk it. I am calling it lazy music. George Shearing played lazy music. But that still does not mean that Ray Charles was a genius just because at every performace he decided not to steal his paycheck but to instead actually earn it with some expenditure of energy. It just means more likely that he was simply more ethical. But without a doubt it is all a fascinating topic that I am sure has only just here on this site been actually unwrapped and examined. I am sure the excitement on this matter is only just beginning to bubble.

elzadie jones said...

If Ray charles was a genius his brilliance certainly was not manifest in the site-presented song "What'd I Say." Let's just IGNORE the lyrics. That's a whole 'nother discussion. Lets talk about the "music." What is it, three chords? Over and over and over and over? What was he a genius for, being the tonal precursor of rap?..... for creating rap without dialogue? If there is a more simplistic song than "What'd I Say" you would have to scour the first grade to find it. Maybe nursery school. I don't really smell genius here. I smell the white man talking down to the black man via a preposterous adulational adjective. It still comes out being spelled bs.

Mokes said...

Ray Charles was the inventor of the ink jet printer. He used peanuts.

bobby said...

I am having a problem with the logic of wishing a happy birthday to a corpse.

ZA said...

He sang, wrote, and played good...real good. Hence, a genius. And he founded logical positivism and redesigned the Studebaker, and his tears cured cancer. And we wish his spirit a happy natal anniversary.

Todd Mason said...

More than any other single person, though Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin came close, he infused R&B and rock, and then country, with the energy and approach of the gospel music he was raised with. He was also a good jazz player, but he was a great R&B/pop player, one of the greatest.

But you knew that.

gomer said...

i never really cared for the guy

Maurice Ravel (deceased) said...

That Professor fellow, Pick Up Sticks, or whatever his name is, I would remind you that Stevie Wonder is blind. In fact in the link provided one of the mini-thumbs is Ray Charles and Steve Wonder performing together Wonder's "City" song. That one song of Mr. Wonder has more genius in it than all of Charles' songs put together, including the ones he's writing now in the hereafter with choirs of angels making suggestions, which they are probably all exhausted doing, and probably to no avail, Ray preferring the more simplistic beats and melodies and lyrics he is comfortable with.

Julius Sumner Molar said...

While Ray Charles did not invent the piano, he did invent the Theramin. It was originally called the Charles, and only he could play it since it had no physical object, or at least no VISIBLE physical object that had to be interacted with. since to Ray Charles everything was invisible, it was natural that he would create an instrument only he could "see." Humble to an almost saintly degree he created the theramin "biography" that is known to us today and remained the instrument's unsung creator, content to allow the false story to flourish, so as not to estrange his "familiar music" public. He was quite a guy. Not to change the subject but he is not actually "dead" in the way we normally understand dead. Another act of anonymous genius that at some point he himself will explain, when we have advanced ourselves to a point where we can calmly listen to it without fear.

Sihnseeld DiLevrd said...

Ray Charles was the invisible orchestrator of the creation of Area 51. Having "read" the notebooks of Nikola Tesla via a process of "induction" which he never revealed the nature of, the baffling theories became immediately clear to him and he deomonstrated to the US government how to propagate "useable electricity" through the air, much as we commonly propagate radio waves and other electromagnetisms. Galvanized into enthusiasm, the Defense Department built Area 51 and propagated the notion that alien technology was being deciphered there. Whereas in truth all the deciphering has been done and it is totally terrestrial. The "electrical transmission" aspects of the Tesla notes, incidentally, were the LEAST fantastic entries Mr. Charles elucidated to the Pentagon - disturbing, and, yes, thrilling, as that fact might be in it's implications.

clearing The Record said...

While Ray Charles certainly deserves his reputation as a genius, one of his alleged creations was not really of his making at all. "Goatmeal," while made by Ray Charles, it was not Ray Charles the musician. The Goatmeal inventor was a Bostonian, and in his own way was the Ron Popeil of the 40's, always on the lookout to make routine chores a little easier. Goatmeal was created in order to make the lives of Haitian voodoo practitioners just a little bit easier. As Ray himself put it in one of his advertising slogans, "Why steal a goat when Goatmeal's so cheap." Goatmeal touted everything needed for the ceremonies that you would get from a live goat without all the hassle. Designed to make the lives of the sorcerers and acolytes and campfollowers of the voodoo church members easier, Goatmeal provided all the viscera, entrails, offal, brain matter, stomach mulch, ruminant feces and cloven-hoofed goodness crucial to any successful spell, curse, or incantation involving the summoning of Satan or the resurrectiing of the dead. Mr. Charles knew that zombie reanimation is not as much a science as an art, involviing the spiritual status of the spellcaster as well as the raw ingredients of the goat. An inferior goat contributed inferior goat parts. With the unholiness of the priest subject to variance, why have to worry about the goat's worthiness as well? Or as Mr. Charles used to say, "The blackest soul of the priest will not suffice to balance the scales for a slightly imperfect goat." Or in other words, while the witch doctor may be perfectly bad, if the goat is not perfectly good, then things will go awry, or unnaturally. A perfect spell invovles a perfect goat. And Mr. Charles saw to it that all the goats used in the making of Goatmeal were at the very minimum, perfect. This freed-up the sorcerer to focus on his own evil progress rather than having to devote a large part of each ceremonial warm-up to prowling and skulking about at midnight from farm to farm, yard to yard, procuring a goat from who knows who and in who knows what kind of condition. Mr. Charles' cannister labels were also
innovations of the time, listing every single body part and in what percentage to every other. No longer did you have to kill a goat today to inflict Mr. Jones with leprosy and then kill another goat tomorrow to kill the children of Mrs. Smith. One cannister would do it all, spell after spell, curse after curse and one evil-eye punishment after another. And you could vary the amount! To inflict an almost-dead-anyway ricket-boned octogenarian neighbor with a sudden and painful overnight demise, before Goatmeal (tm), you would have to kill an entire goat just to blend a few ounces of butchered and dissolved goat sediment, whereas with Goatmeal, you just used a tablespoon instead of a cupful. As Mr Charles used to say, "The goats are in here." Regretfully, Goatmeal never became the revolutionary adjunct of the the voodoo practitioner's inventory Mr. Charles
hoped it would become. It turned out that the emotional biofeedback and adrenal involvement and elevation of emotion and intent provided to the congregation and staff by the actual killing of a struggling, writhing, bleating, wide-eyed-with- terrified-fury, living, breathing goat and the subsequent immersion of the fingers and hands into the hot steaming guts of the split open and still flailing goat could not be substituted by the popping of a cannister lid and the scooping out of six ounces avoirdupois of dry goat powder. Spells fell dramatically in potency and power; people who should have died screaming and bursting into flames lingered on in empty paralysis for months and sometimes didn't die at all but reached full recovery. Babies slated for dissolution by invading, antler-headed worms crawling into their cribs and eating them alive experienced uninterrupted slumber and grew healthy and strong. Things became better everywhere. Goatmeal (tm) fell into total disuse and Mr. Charles went broke and died in poverty. Haiti soon returned to its natural state and remains so today, thriving with voodoo, and none there mourn Mr. Charles or the demise of his product. It's an unknown tragedy rarely told.

gomer said...

i guess its a good thing that ray charles the singer lived so we could learn this.