Wait…Isn’t that a Ray Charles album? Yes!
The Band of Heathens have put their Americana style to work on a cover of Ray Charles’ seminal civil rights soul record. And it’s not just good—it’s great! None of the material feels dated, and all of it is both instantly recognized as a cover, while having value-added from the unique flavor that the band brings to it. The whole album isn’t available to stream, but a few songs are. Let’s start at the end, with America the Beautiful…
The irony Ray brought to this song in 1972 wasn’t lost on the audience at the time: Protesters were being attacked by police dogs, yet here was a black man singing a song of hope. And a blind man at that! Then there’s the classic song made famous by the whitest of all white men, John Denver…
…Which is still a good song (admiit it, you know most of the words), and with the country sound it feels as authentic and relevant as ever.
Perhaps the best song on the album is Heaven Help Us All.
It’s what sold me on this record, frankly.
Every track is great on this record. It’s a true timeless keeper, even if you’ve never heard Ray’s own renditions.
Buy on sight!