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Comprising performances of songs from the Ray Charles repertoire, the very belated release of what would have been the young Jackie's first album, plus 13 rare bonus Liberty masters.

Between October 1960 and July '61, Jackie DeShannon released three Liberty singles which, although excellent performances, had not dented the US Hot 100. So it was a major leap of faith for the company to book Jackie into Fine Recording Studios in New York with producer Clyde Otis to record an album of songs written by or closely associated with Ray Charles. Once completed, Liberty scheduled the release of her “Hits Of The Genius” LP in January 1962. However, in November 1961, not long after Jackie's sessions, Bobby Darin also recorded an album's worth of Ray Charles songs. When Atlantic Records announced the release of “Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles”, this effectively put the kibosh on Liberty's plans.

Of the 11 tracks intended for Jackie's shelved album, ‘Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying' would be included on her “This Is Jackie DeShannon” LP in 1965. Liberty issued ‘Ain't That Love' and ‘I'll Drown In My Own Tears' on singles in late 1961 and early '62, and ‘This Little Boy Of Mine' appeared on a Ray Charles tribute collection over 40 years later; the stereo mixes of all three debut here. The remaining seven “Hits Of The Genius” tracks are previously unreleased in any format. Jackie's soulful vocals are sensational throughout: torrid and exciting on the up-tempo ‘Swanee River Rock', ‘I Got A Sweetie', ‘What'd I Say', ‘Yes Indeed' and ‘Hallelujah, I Love Him So', and moody and atmospheric on the slower ‘Night Time Is The Right Time' and ‘Georgia On My Mind'.

Among the bonus tracks are a further six recorded in New York with producer Clyde Otis, of which ‘I Won't Turn You Down' and ‘Baby (When Ya Kiss Me)' appear here in stereo for the first time, the latter in an alternate take. Elsewhere, ‘I Don't Think So Much Of Myself Now', produced by Dick Glasser in Nashville, is here in first-time stereo and ‘That's What Boys Are Made Of' is an alternate take. The other nine bonus titles - including two more Ray Charles songs and several written by Jackie with Sharon Sheeley - are previously unreleased full stop.

After all these years, Jackie's recollections of the “Hits Of The Genius” project are still focused: “I always had such respect for Ray Charles. For me, he was an artist who brought country, blues and rock'n'roll to the forefront. Unfortunately, although I saw him perform, I never got to meet him. I thought it would be interesting to record some of his songs and I wanted to experience what it would be like to delve into his catalogue. My favourites from the sessions are ‘Night Time Is The Right Time', ‘I'll Drown In My Own Tears', ‘What'd I Say' and ‘Yes Indeed'. To me, those are the heavy-hitters. ‘Fool For You' is another one I particularly like. All the musicians on this project were extremely talented and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in the recording sessions.

  • Rock/Pop

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