Ray Charles – A Message From The People (1972)

FrontCover1Ray Charles Robinson, Sr. (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called “Brother Ray”. He was often referred to as “the Genius”. Charles was blinded during childhood, possibly due to glaucoma.

Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic. He contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.

Charles’s 1960 hit “Georgia On My Mind” was the first of his three career No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. His 1962 album Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music became his first album to top the Billboard 200. Charles had multiple singles reach the Top 40 on various Billboard charts: 44 on the US R&B singles chart, 11 on the Hot 100 singles chart, 2 on the Hot Country singles charts.

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Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. He had a lifelong friendship and occasional partnership with Quincy Jones. Frank Sinatra called Ray Charles “the only true genius in show business,” although Charles downplayed this notion. Billy Joel said, “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley”.

For his musical contributions, Charles received the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and the Polar Music Prize. He won 18 Grammy Awards, including 5 posthumously. Charles was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and 10 of his recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked Charles No. 10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and No. 2 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

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A Message from the People is a studio album by the American R&B musician Ray Charles, released in 1972. MusicHound R&B: The Essential Album Guide called it “a protest album of sorts.”

The album was produced by Quincy Jones. Sid Feller worked on some of the song arrangements.

Robert Christgau thought that Charles “turns Melanie’s ‘What Have They Done to My Song, Ma’ into the outcry of black musicians everywhere—which is probably why it rocks (and swings) like nothing he’s done in years.” Ebony praised Charles’s ability to give “wholly new dynamics to those patriotic vintages ‘Lift Every Voice And Sing’ and ‘America The Beautiful’.” The New York Times deemed the album “not one of his more memorable outings,” writing that “the miracle of Ray Charles’ music is his constant ability to survive his material.”

AllMusic wrote that “a gospel feel mixed with R&B locomotion is the engine that drives things here, but [Charles] also uses it to transform Melanie’s ‘What Have They Done to My Song, Ma’ into a syncopated strut, and bring a Sunday Baptist church feel to the Dion hit ‘Abraham, Martin and John’.” Rolling Stone stated that the interpretation of “America the Beautiful” “added gospel overtones and soulful sway to its source material, pushing Charles’ audience to view the song in a new light.”

The recording of “Hey Mister”, a song about government ignoring the needs of poor people, was played during a 1972 Joint Hearing Before the Special Subcommittee on Human Resources and the Subcommittee on Aging of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, where it was praised by Senator Alan Cranston.

Although not licensed for political use until the 2020 United States presidential campaign—when the Lincoln Project placed it in a video that urged people to vote out Donald Trump—Charles performed his version of “American the Beautiful” at the 1984 Republican National Convention (wikipedia)

A good, but not an essential album !

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Personnel:
Ray Charles (vocals, keyboards)
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The musicians remained uncredited. But Don Peake remembered playing his 1931 Gibson L5 acoustic on America The Beautiful, and Donnie Eubank played his congas on #6. Other session musicians: Freddie Hubbard, Joe Newman, Ernie Royal – trumpets; Hubert Laws, Jerome Richardson – reeds; Eric Gale, Jim Hall, Toots Thielemans – guitars; Carol Kaye (on #6, #7, #8 and #10), Bob Cranshaw, Chuck Rainey – electric bass; Ray Brown – upright acoustic bass; Grady Tate – drums; uncredited – strings; The Raelettes (almost certainly: Vernita Moss, Susaye Green, Mable John, and Dorothy Berry; maybe also Estella Yarbrough). (http://raycharlesvideomuseum.blogspot.com)

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Tracklist:
01. Lift Every Voice And Sing (Traditional) 3.08
02. Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong (Ervin/Farr) 4.11
03. Heaven Help Us All (Miller) 4.05
04. There’ll Be No Peace Without All Men As One (Shepard) 3.51
05. Hey Mister (Lapcevic) 3.52
06. What Have They Done To My Song, Ma (Safka) 3.40
07. Abraham, Martin And John (Holler) 4.53
08. Take Me Home, Country Roads (Danoff/Denver/Nivert) 3.31
09. Every Saturday Night (Collins) 3.20
10. America The Beautiful (Traditional) 3.34

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Ray Charles – Doing His Thing (1969)

FrontCover1Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called “Brother Ray”. He was often referred to as “The Genius.” Charles started losing his vision at the age of 6 due to glaucoma.

Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic. He contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.

Charles’ 1960 hit “Georgia On My Mind” was the first of his three career No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. His 1962 album, Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, became his first album to top the Billboard 200. Charles had multiple singles reach the Top 40 on various Billboard charts: 44 on the US R&B singles chart, 11 on the Hot 100 singles chart, 2 on the Hot Country singles charts.

RayCharles01Charles is a 17-time Grammy Award winner. He was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987; 10 of his recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by Louis Jordan and Charles Brown.[12] He became friends with Quincy Jones. Their friendship lasted until the end of Charles’s life. Frank Sinatra called Ray Charles “the only true genius in show business,” although Charles downplayed this notion. Billy Joel said, “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley”.

In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked Charles #10 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” and #2 on their list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” in 2008.

Doing His Thing is a 1969 studio album by Ray Charles, released by Tangerine Records. The cover artwork was by Lafayette Chew. (by wikipedia)

Most tracks on Doing His Thing were written by Jimmy Lewis, who also took care of a contemporary ‘soul’ sound for the album. Lewis had been cranking out a living hustling songs and singing with The Drifters. Ray heard him singing demos, liked his raw style, and shocked Lewis by offering to do an entire album of his songs. Jimmy became one of Ray’s staff writers. It was by far Ray’s funkiest album – most of it it feels a bit alien, but a few tracks (#6 standing out!) are 100% vintage Brother Ray.

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With The Ray Charles Orchestra (all musicians remained uncredited, but with Doug “Doctor Music” Riley, who contributed as arranger and “second keyboardist”.

This is a solid R&B album from Ray Charles in collaboration with Jimmy Lewis. The backing musicians are not credited unfortunately. (David Ritter)

It´s more than only a “solid R&B album” … it´s a pretty good album …

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Personnel:
Ray Charles (keyboards, vocals)
Doug “Doctor Music” Riley (keyboards)
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Jimmy Lewis (vocals on 09. )
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. The Same Thing That Can Make You Laugh (Can Make You Cry) (Lewis/Charles) 2.08
02. Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers (Chambers/Holiday/Lewis) 2.25
03. You Ought To Change Your Ways (Chambers) 2.44
04. Baby Please (Chambers) 3.36
05. Come And Get It (Chambers) 2.49
06. We Can Make It (Chambers) 3.45
07. I’m Ready (Chambers) 3.20
08. That Thing Called Love (Chambers) 2.51
09. If It Wasn’t For Bad Luck (Lewis/Charles) 4.45
10. I Told You So (Chambers) 4.10

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Ray Charles (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004)

Tony Bennett – Playin’ With My Friends – Bennett Sings The Blues (2001)

FrontCover1.jpgPlayin’ with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues is a 2001 album by Tony Bennett featuring duets with notable vocalists.

Tony Bennett’s latter-day albums tend to have themes, and this one has two, as indicated by its double-barreled title: It is both a duets album and a blues album. The duet partners include ten singers who range from his recent touring partners Diana Krall and k.d. lang to fellow veterans Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Kay Starr, and younger, but still mature pop stars Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, and Billy Joel. All sound happy to be sharing a mic with Bennett. Not surprisingly, the singer’s conception of the blues does not extend to the Mississippi Delta or the South Side of Chicago; rather, he is interested in the blues as filtered through the sound of the Swing Era, particularly from around Kansas City, and as interpreted by Tin Pan Alley and show tunes. For the former, his true mentor is Count Basie, whose overt influence is heard on six of the 15 tracks.

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Bennett makes no attempt to hide this, leading off the album with two songs, “Alright, Okay, You Win” (a duet with Krall) and “Everyday (I Have the Blues)” (a duet with Wonder), closely associated with Basie singer Joe Williams. The Broadway and Hollywood blues style is introduced in three selections written by Harold Arlen. On about half the tracks, the Ralph Sharon Quartet is augmented by Harry Allen’s saxophone and Mike Melvoin’s Hammond organ, but this remains a small, intimate affair that emphasizes the singers. There are missteps — Sheryl Crow’s Billie Holiday impersonation on “Good Morning, Heartache” is unfortunate, and Natalie Cole, as usual, sounds out of her depth on “Stormy Weather.” But the trade-offs Bennett enjoys with King and Charles are priceless, and the Joel duet is surprisingly effective. On the whole, this is yet another entry in Bennett’s lengthening series of autumnal recorded triumphs. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Harry Allen (saxophone)
Tony Bennett (vocals)
Clayton Cameron (drums)
Paul Langosch (bass)
Mike Melvoin (organ)
Gray Sargent (guitar)
Ralph Sharon (piano)
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Ray Charles – Natalie Cole – Sheryl Crow – Billy Joel – B.B. King – Diana Krall – K.D.Lang -Bonnie Raitt – Kay Starr – Stevie Wonder – Judy Garland

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Tracklist:
01. Alright, Okay, You Win (with Diana Krall) (Watts/Wyche) 3.31
02. Everyday (I Have the Blues) (with Stevie Wonder) (Chatman) 3.39
03. Don’t Cry Baby (Bernie/Johnson/Unger) 2.43
04. Good Morning Heartache (with Sheryl Crow) (Drake/Fisher/Higginbotham) 4.56
05. Let The Good Times Roll (with B.B. King) (Moore/Theard) 3.14
06. Evenin’ (with Ray Charles) (Parish/White) 4.15
07. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (with Bonnie Raitt) (Arlen/Koehler) 3.55
08. Keep The Faith, Baby (with K.D. Lang) (de Jesus/Lerner/Watts) 3.52
09. Old Count Basie Is Gone (Old Piney Brown Is Gone) (Turner) 3.25
10. Blue And Sentimental (with Kay Starr) (Basie/David/Livingston) 3.21
11. New York State Of Mind (with Billy Joel) (Joel) 4.31
12. Undecided Blues (Rushing) 3.18
13. Blues In The Night (Arlen/Mercer) 3.34
14. Stormy Weather (with Natalie Cole) (Arlen/Koehler) 4.34
15. Playin’ With My Friends (Cray/Walker) 4.50
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16. I Left My Heart In San Francisco (with Judy Garland) (Cory/Cross) 3.08

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Various Artists – The Many Faces Of The Rolling Stones (2015)

FrontCover1This is a great sampler from Mexico !

The Rolling Stones have become the reincarnation of rock itself, being the representation, both musically and in terms of image and behavior, what rock & roll represents. In The Many Faces Of The Rolling Stones, we will highlight their side-projects, their roots, their favorite songs and even a brand new song, which becomes and event in itself, for all the Stones’ fans around the world. The idea sounds wonderful right?. Well, The Many Faces Of The Rolling Stones will meet the expectations of even the most demanding Stones fan. We have a lost recording by Leslie West (Mountain’s guitarist) with Mick Jagger playing guitar, a duet by Keith Richards with Ian McLagan (Faces’ keyboardist), and also the hard-to-find single versions of Bill Wyman’s solo hits.

Also we have Mick Jagger and Keith Richards all time favorite songs (handpicked by themselves), and an extremely rare track titled Catch As Catch Can, that was released only in a limited edition in France as a 7″ and never previously available on CD single, by musician and producer Robin Millar (Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Sade) recorded in 1973 along with Mick Taylor, Bobby Keys and Mick Jagger!!!.

Finally, we have the originals versions of the best songs the Stones covered during his long and illustrious career. This is a marvelous project that with remastered sound, beautiful cover art extended liner notes is an essential addition to your collection. (promo text)

Yes, yes, yes … a real great and intersting Project … Listen and discover the many faces of The Rolling Stones !
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Tracklist:

CD 1:
The Adventures Of The Stones:
01. Leslie West feat. Mick Jagger:High Roller (Jagger/Richards/Laing/Palmer) 4.13
02. Ron Wood & Ian McLagan: She Stole It (McLagan) 3.45
03. Bill Wyman: Monkey Grip (single edition) (Wyman) 3.17
04. Ian McLagan & Keith Richards: Truly (McLagan) 5.58
05. Toots & The Maytals feat. Keith Richards:- Careless Ethiopians (Hibbert) 3.22
06. Ron Wood & The Jones Gang: Had Me A Real Good Time (Lane/Wood) 4.45
07. Ian McLagan feat. Bobby Keys: Somebody (McLagan) 3.00
08 .British Invasion All-Stars feat. Dick Taylor: Gimme Some Loving (Winwood) 4.15
09. Bill  Wyman: (Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star (single edit) (Wyman) 3.23
10. Robin Millar feat. Mick Taylor, Nicky Hopkins & Bobby Keys: Catch As Catch Can (Millar)  3.33
11. John Phillips feat. Mick Jagger, Mick Taylor & Keith Richards:- Zulu Warrior (Phillips/Jagger) 3.30
12. Ron Wood & The Jones Gang: Stay With Me (Wood/Stewart) 5.09
13. Chris Farlowe produced by Mick Jagger: Out Of Time (Jagger/Richards) 3.15
14. Johnny Winter: Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Jagger/Richards) 4.42
CD 2:
Mick & Keith’s Favourite Tracks:
01. Little Walter: I Go To Go (Walter)  2.41
02. Muddy Waters: Forty Days And Forty Nights (Roth) 2.50
03. Robert Johnson: Stones In My Passway (Johnson) 2.28
04. Ray Charles: Lonely Avenue (Pomus) 2.34
05. Z.Z. Hill: Everybody Knows About My Good Thing (Grayson /Horton) 4.57
06. Blind Willie Johnson: Dark Was The Night (Cold Was The Ground) (Johnson) 3.20
07. Howlin’ Wolf: Forty Four (Burnett) 2.48
08. Jesse Fuller: Stagolee (Traditional) 3.44
09. Bill Broonzy: When Did You Leave Heaven (Bullock/Whiting) 3.29
10. Elmore James:- It Hurts Me Too (Red/James/London)  3.19
11. Little Walter: Key To The Highway (Segar) 2.45
12. Erna Franklin: Piece Of My Heart (Ragovoy/Berns) 2.38
13. Chuck Berry: Memphis (Berry) 2.14
14. Robert Johnson: 32-20 Blues (Johnson) 2.52
CD 3:
The  Originals:
01. Chuck Berry: Around And Around (Berry) 2.40
02. Larry Williams: She Said Yeah (Jackson/Williams) 1.50
03. Nat King Cole Trio: Route  66 (Troup) 3.01
04. Muddy Waters:  Just Want To Make Love To You (Dixon) 2.51
05. Howlin’ Wolf: Little Red Rooster (Burnett/Dixon) 2.26
06. Buddy Holly: Not Fade Away (Holly/Petty) 2.23
07. Jimmy  Reed: Honest I Do (Reed/Abner) 2.42
08. Dale Hawkins: Suzie Q (Hawkins/Lewis/Broadwater)  2.19
09. The Coasters: Poison Ivy (Leiber/Stoller) 2.42
10. Jim Harpo: I’m A King Bee (Harpo) 3.04
11. Robertt Johnson: Love In Vain (Johnson) 3.20
12. Bo Diddley: Mona (McDaniel) 3.39
13. Gene Allison: You Can Make It If You Try (Jarrett) 2.09
14. Eric Donaldson: Cherry Oh, Baby (Donaldson) 3.07
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Various Artists – Soul Christmas (1968)

FrontCover1Originally issued as an Atlantic compilation back in 1968, Soul Christmas is just what is says: a collection of songs featuring R&B legends such as Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Solomon Burke, Joe Tex, Clarence Carter, William Bell, King Curtis, and Booker T. & the MG’s. But if you’re looking for a compilation of mostly traditional Christmas tunes, this is not the record to buy. Apart from nods to time-honored classics like “White Christmas” (gloriously reinterpreted by Redding), Booker T.’s perky “Jingle Bells,” and the R&B favorite “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” (featuring sax man King Curtis at his bluesy best, along with a guitar solo by Duane Allman), the songs are all tailor-made originals that fit the style of the respective artists. Thus, Carter’s “Back Door Santa” is a hilariously salacious cut; Tex gives us a preacherlike “I’ll Make Everyday Christmas (For My Woman)”; and Thomas is at her most cute and innocent with “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas.” Redding’s version of “Merry Christmas Baby” (a hit for Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers) is an obvious standout, while Bell’s “Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday” is the only bona fide charted single (albeit back in January 1968). For added value, Rhino has included three bonus tracks, including a 1978 recording by Ray Charles of “Christmas Time.” (by David Nathan)

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01. Clarence Carter: Back Door Santa (Carter) 2.10
02. King Curtis: The Christmas Song (feat. Duane Allman) (Tormé/Wells) 3.11
03. Otis Redding: White Christmas (feat. Booker T & The MG´s + The Memphis Horns) (Berlin) 3.09
04. Joe Tex: I’ll Make Every Day Christmas (For My Woman) (Tex) 3.32
05. Booker T. & The MG’s: Silver Bells (Evans/Livingstone) 2.33
06. Carla Thomas: Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas (Cropper) 2.47
07. Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby (feat. Booker T & The MG´s + The Memphis Horns) (Traditional) 2.34
08. Solomon Burke: Presents For Christmas )D.Burke/S.Burke) 3.13
09. Booker T. & The MG’s: Jingle Bells (Traditional) 2.238
10. William Bell: Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday (Bell) 2.40
11. King Curtis: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (feat. Duane Allman) (Loesser) 3.45
12. Carla Thomas: All I Want For Christmas Is You (Williams) 1.45
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13. Ray Charles: Christmas Time (Shepard) 4.31
14. Booker T. & The MG’s: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Gillespie/Coots) 2.35

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Ray Charles – Genius & Friends (2005)

FrontCover1Atlantic/Rhino’s 2005 Genius & Friends is the end result of a project Ray Charles initiated a few months before his death in June 2004. According to James Austin’s liner notes, Charles called Austin in December of 2003, asking if he could find the masters to an unreleased duets record Ray recorded in 1997 and 1998. Austin found the tapes, but Charles was too sick to work on them, so after his passing — and after his final studio album, the duets record Genius Loves Company, became a number one hit in August of 2004 — Atlantic/Rhino decided to finish off the project, bringing in producer Phil Ramone to oversee the completion of the album. This included bringing in singers to record their parts, since apart from two tracks — a 1994 duet with Diana Ross on “Big Bad Love” and a live 1991 version of “Busted” with Willie Nelson (taken from the television special Ray Charles: 50 Years in Music) — these are all studio constructions, with vocalists duetting with a previously recorded Ray. While not quite the monstrosity it could have been — posthumous duets albums like this always bear an unsettling ghoulish undertow — Genius & Friends is also not a particularly good album either. This isn’t because the pairings are ill conceived — apart from the woefully outmatched American Idol winner Ruben Studdard on “Imagine” (which boasts perhaps Ray’s best vocal performance on this record), there’s nobody here who doesn’t hold his or her own, and Ramone has skillfully edited the new recordings with the existing tapes so it sounds like they were recorded at the same time, even if it rarely sounds as if the vocalists were in the same room together. Rather, the problem is that the productions are caught halfway between ’90s adult contemporary and modern neo-soul, sounding too slick and polished to really be memorable. It’s pleasant enough — and it’s top-loaded, too, with the duets with Angie Stone, Chris Isaak, and Mary J. Blige being among the best cuts — but it’s not as relaxed or appealing as Genius Loves Company, which had the feeling of being a real duets album. This feels like what it is — a professional studio creation. Not a terrible thing per se, but not something that makes for a good album, either.( by Stepen Thomas Erlewine)

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Tracklist:
01. Angie Stone:  All I Want to Do (McKinney/Walden) 4.00
02. Chris Isaak: You Are My Sunshine (Davis/Mitchell) 3.48
03. Mary J. Blige: It All Goes by So Fast (Hirsch/Levy) 5.07
04. Gladys Knight: You Were There (unknown) 3.41
05. The Harlem Gospel Singers / Ruben Studdard: Imagine (Lennon) 3.41
06. Leela James: Compared to What (McDaniels) 3.42
07. Diana Ross: Big Bad Love (Sample/Stephanie Tyrell/Steve Tyrell) 3.42
08. Idina Menzel: I Will Be There (Dakota/Walden) 4.43
09. George Michael: Blame It On The Sun (Wonder/Wright) 4.46
10. John Legend: Touch (McKinney/Walden) 4.40
11. Patti LaBelle / The Andraé Crouch Singers: Shout (Hilden/Walden) 5.10
12. Laura Pausini: Surrender To Love (unknown) 4.13
13. Willie Nelson: Busted (Howard) 2.32
14. Alicia Keys: America the Beautiful (Bates/Ward) 2.58

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