I just do not get sick of this album from 1962. I love hearing Ray’s arrangements of these classic country songs.
The album was his idea, as he wanted to cover and pay homage to these country songwriters whom he greatly admired, but the studio had little faith that it would have any success. Thus, they basically left him alone to create it on his own with his recording supervisor, not thinking it would ever go anywhere.
Much to their surprise, the album had multiple hit singles (that went on to become classics in Ray’s repertoire), and created a interesting cross-polination of audiences, from country lovers who never otherwise would have listened to R&B but wanted to hear their favorites reinterpreted, and of Ray fans who never would have been interested in exploring country.
Did you know that Andy Warhol did illustrations for a few of the Blue Note covers in the late 1950s when he was still working as a commercial artist and had not yet achieved any acclaim? I am loving the one above.
Are you surprised to see something by Warhol in this expressionistic (and non-pop) style? Doesn’t the drawing of the woman look very much like a Matisse drawing??
I’ve just dived head-long into what might be aptly described as an obsession with Blue Note and especially the 1500 and early 4000 series covers art directed by Reid Miles and commonly featuring photography by Francis Wolff.
Many more to come, they are a rich visual history of graphic design, typography, photography, illustration, and the hard bop era of New York jazz…