'Genius Loves Company': Charles' Parting Gift

From 'Genius Loves Company'

Hear a full-length version of Ray Charles' duet with Natalie Cole:

Listen: 'Fever'

As the old saying goes, "Misery loves company." That may be true, but a new CD by the late, great Ray Charles adds a new spin to the adage.

Detail from the CD cover for Genius Loves Company

Detail from the CD cover for 'Genius Loves Company.' hide caption

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Genius Loves Company is Charles's last album, released posthumously this month. What's obvious from the collection of duets on the CD is that "the company" also loved "the Genius."

Some of the biggest names in music, from several different genres, teamed up with Charles to record a dozen standards and music chestnuts. Among the artists sharing the studio with Charles were Elton John, Norah Jones, B.B. King, James Taylor and Van Morrison.

Billy Preston, a longtime friend of Ray Charles and a standout keyboardist in his own right, and CD co-producer Phil Ramone join NPR's Tavis Smiley to talk about the last album of a great career from a great musician. Genius Loves Company debuted at number two on the Billboard charts — making it Ray Charles' first top-10 album in 40 years.

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Genius Loves Company

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Genius Loves Company
Ray Charles
Concord Records

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