Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2

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Country music has its fair share of purists—those who believe the genre should be hermetically sealed, lest its essence be tainted by elements of other styles. And for almost a half-decade, those folks have been forced to contend with the artistic triumph of Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. In 1962, flush with confidence after the success of his explorations of blues and gospel, the “Genius of Soul” recast 12 country favorites in big-band and orchestrated settings with a visionary’s easy grace.
This new reissue pairs the original Modern Sounds album with its follow-up, which was recorded only seven months later and replicated the original’s approach and its success. The two volumes of Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music represent an implicit argument against borders both musical and social, but this is no antiquated museum piece—Ray gets to the heart of each of these 24 songs in a way that remains thoroughly modern.

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