The Ray Charles Singers

Command 4046, 1964
Billboard: #3

No, not that Ray Charles. "Love Me With All Your Heart" first appeared in 1961 as "Cuando Calienta El Sol" — "When The Sun Is Hot", more or less. Steve Allen recorded it in 1963, billed as "Steve Allen and the Copacabana Trio"; it was to be Allen's last chart single (at #85, as Dot 16507). Michael Vaughan put an English lyric to Carlos Rigual's melody, and it fell into the hands of Charles Raymond Offenberg, twelve years older than Brother Ray. Charles had been associated with Perry Como for many years, and his "Ray Charles Singers" had served time as background vocalists on Como's television show, cutting the occasional record on the side. "Love Me..." fused the Singers to a bouncy plink-plink accompaniment probably deliberately reminiscent of Percy Faith's "Summer Place", and it wound up being the biggest single ever on Enoch Light's Command label. It might have even made Number One, had it not been for the sudden chart dominance by longhaired Brits. The Singers scored ten chart hits in all, the last in 1970. And "Cuando Calienta El Sol" is reportedly George "Sulu" Takei's favorite melody, though I have no idea what he thinks of Charles' vocal forces.

Where can I get this on CD?
Varèse Vintage had a Ray Charles Singers compilation out back in 1995 — Love Me With All Your Heart: The Command Performances (VSD 5626) — and there may still be a few copies floating around.

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Copyright © 2002 by Charles G. Hill
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