Ray Charles’s finest moment, revisited

When Ray Charles recorded Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, in 1962, the idea of an R&B star cutting an album of Nashville standards — with a big band, strings, and a choir — was a head-scratcher.

But Charles’s gamble paid off: In critical and commercial terms, Modern Sounds was a triumph. Next week, the album comes out again, in a glorious reissue that includes the second Modern Sounds collection (recorded later that same year) and features a stellar cover of “You Are My Sunshine.” Even today, Charles’s singing on these albums has the power to knock down walls.

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