Friday, 11 June 2004

Ray Charles is Dead

My mum loved Ray Charles. She once took one of her best friends to see him when they were at college. Her friend didn't know who he was but when one of his bouncers came on stage she took rather a fancy to him and thought it was going to be alright. Then Mr Charles came on stage, hunched over, old looking (this was back in the 60s so he probably did well to last like he did!).

When we were kids she used to drive us up to visit her parents in the Highlands, we would have to go by her friend in Melton Mobrey (the one she took to see Ray Charles), Ulverston in the Lake District (to visit Great Auntie Lizzie), Fife to visit another great college friend, and finally on into the great north. This drive would take 13 hours. On the way we would sing along to lots of her favourite music. She had been asked to mime in the choir during performances so wasn't confident about singing but we didn't care. We would listen to a wide variety of things including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Boney M, Dolly Parton, and of course Ray Charles. We knew all the words. It was a blast. She wanted to be a singer in her next life. One of those old style Diva types who wore long sequened gowns and had big voices.

I love Ray Charles. His lyrics are of an era before feminism but the tunes are catchy. Its sentimental to me. He died from some kind of liver complaint, as did my mother, although I suspect his was caused by self-abuse while hers wasn't.

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