during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues
, and blues
styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records
. He also helped racially integrate country
and pop music
during the 1960s with his crossover
success on ABC Records
, most notably with his Modern Sounds
albums. While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company.
I got a woman way over town, That's good to me, Oh yeah!
Tell your Mama Tell your Pa Gonna send you back to Arkansas
Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.
Music has been around a long time, and there's going to be music long after Ray Charles is dead. I just want to make my mark, leave something musically good behind. If it's a big record, that's the frosting on the cake, but music's the main meal.
The fact of the matter is, you don't give up what's natural. Anything I've fantasized about, I've done.
I started to sing like myself — as opposed to imitating Nat King Cole|Nat Cole, which I had done for a while — when I started singing like Ray Charles, it had this spiritual and churchy, this religious or gospel sound. It had this holiness and preachy tone to it. It was very controversial. I got a lot of criticism for it.
Do it right or don't do it at all. That comes from my mom. If there's something I want to do, I'm one of those people that won't be satisfied until I get it done. If I'm trying to sing something and I can't get it, I'm going to keep at it until I get where I want it.
Before I begin, let me say right here and now that I'm a country boy. And, man, I mean the real backwoods! That's at the start of the start of the thing, and that's at the heart of the thing.