Neither pop nor jazz, once again Charles is hard to categorize even though many of the musicians have strong jazz credentials; Paul Gonsalves, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims and Bob Brookmeyer, for example. The album's strength (in addition to Brother Ray) lies in the choice of classic songs matched with lush orchestration. Ray's soulful voice will break hearts on 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'', 'Just For A Thrill' and the ultimate song for hopeless romantics, Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen's starry-eyed 'Come Rain Or Come Shine'. The excellent recording, particularly with Ray's up-front vocals, is the work of Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Bill Schwartau.
Q (5/00, p.134) - Included in Q Magazine's "Best Soul Albums Of All Time" - "...Finds the great man swinging, emoting, cajoling and laughing his way through a selection of standards that he makes his own....it exudes pure class."
If you are a fan of the Ray Charles of songs like "What'd I Say?" or "I Got a Woman", do NOT buy this album. This is nothing more than a collection of rather bland big band jazz arrangements. Of course, Charles performs with gusto, but there is no "soul" here, nothing that made the man a great musician. This is as bland as music can get, unless this is what you want to hear from Ray Charles. It doesn't sound right.