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Ray Charles: St. Pete Florida Blues - Rare Early Recordings By Ray Charles to Be Digitally Released for the First Time Ever


Ray Charles "St. Pete Florida Blues" - Rare Early Recordings By Ray Charles to Be Digitally Released for the First Time Ever. The world's leading distributor and marketer of independent music The Orchard, along with label partner The Legendary Henry Stone Presents, announced today the digital release of four rare, early tracks by the incomparable Ray Charles.

This marks the first legitimate distribution of these four tracks, in their original form. These Ray Charles racks will be exclusive to iTunes for a period of four weeks. The tracks will then become available to all other legal digital music services supplied by The Orchard including eMusic, Napster, Musicmatch, Rhapsody and Buymusic -- over 90 services in all.

The four tracks are, "Why Did You Go?" "Walkin' and Talkin' To Myself," "I'm Wonderin' and Wonderin'," and "St. Pete Florida Blues" (also known as "I Found My Baby There"), were recorded in Miami in 1951. Then known as Ray Charles Robinson, Charles recorded the songs while attending a school for the blind in St. Augustine, Florida. Legendary producer and talent scout Henry Stone saw Charles performing the songs at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel. Henry Stone recognized his genius immediately, and the tracks were recorded the next day at Stone's Flagler Street studio and released on vinyl on the Rockin' Records label. They went out of print before the end of the 50s.

The new digital release of these rare recordings was organized by Joe Stone, the son and business partner of Henry Stone, and by Orchard label manager Craig Finn.

The release of these rare recordings comes at a time of great interest in the late Ray Charles. Universal Pictures released Ray starring Jamie Foxx, on October 29 and "Genius: A Night for Ray Charles" aired on CBS October 22, with performances from Stevie Wonder, Usher and Elton John to honor the work of the
master. Ray Charles' most recent recording, "Genius Loves Company", debuted on the Billboard charts at #2 and was certified platinum on October 20, the first platinum record of Charles' career.

"These four tracks manifest the promise of digital distribution -- access to great music that was previously not available to music fans. Even in the off chance someone knew about these obscure sessions, tracking down old vinyl records remains in the realm of the elite collector, not the average music customer," said Greg Scholl, chief executive of The Orchard and managing director of Dimensional Associates, the company which owns both The Orchard and eMusic.

"Ray Charles is one of America's cultural treasures, and we're grateful that Henry Stone has chosen The Orchard to represent these songs, and all of the other great artists in The Legendary Henry Stone catalogue."
"Ray Charles recorded these songs in one afternoon. Most of them on one take. It was magic," said Henry Stone. "He's one of the great artists of all time and this release of his earliest recordings is a tribute to his genius."

Henry Stone is a legend in the recording industry. As a producer, he was one of the first to record Ray Charles and James Brown and launched several successful record labels before spending the balance of his career as a pioneering distributor, distributing Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Roll before any major labels had taken an interest. The company has spent the past few years meticulously archiving and digitizing its rare, out-of-print catalogue.

Ray Charles "Ray!" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: ORDER IT NOW.


Ray Charles did not attend the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind when he recorded the songs named here. According to biographer Michael Lydon, young R.C. Robinson had left the school in 1945. By 1951, he was an established recording artist, having waxed his first singles in 1949.

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