“I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water.”
“I did it to myself. It wasn’t society… it wasn’t a pusher, it wasn’t being blind or being black or being poor. It was all my doing.”
“What makes my approach special is that I do different things. I do jazz, blues, country music and so forth. I do them all, like a good utility man.”
“Love is a special word, and I use it only when I mean it. You say the word too much and it becomes cheap.”
“Affluence separates people. Poverty knits ’em together. You got some sugar and I don’t; I borrow some of yours. Next month you might not have any flour; well, I’ll give you some of mine.”
“I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t been able to hear.”
“There’s nothing written in the Bible, Old or New testament, that says, ‘If you believe in Me, you ain’t going to have no troubles.'”
“I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great.”
“There are many spokes on the wheel of life. First, we’re here to explore new possibilities.”
“Learning to read music in Braille and play by ear helped me develop a damn good memory.”
“Music’s been around a long time, and there’s going to be music long after Ray Charles is dead. I just want to make my mark, leave something musically good behind. If it’s a big record, that’s the frosting on the cake, but music’s the main meal.”
“What is a soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.”
“My music had roots which I’d dug up from my own childhood, musical roots buried in the darkest soil.”
“My version of ‘Georgia’ became the state song of Georgia. That was a big thing for me, man. It really touched me. Here is a state that used to lynch people like me suddenly declaring my version of a song as its state song. That is touching.”
“The fact of the matter is, you don’t give up what’s natural. Anything I’ve fantasized about, I’ve done.”
“Hey mama, don’t you treat me wrong,
Come and love your daddy all night long.
All right now, hey hey, all right.
See the girl with the diamond ring;
She knows how to shake that thing.
All right now now now, hey hey, hey hey.
Tell your mama, tell your pa,
I’m gonna send you back to Arkansas.
Oh yes, ma’m, you don’t do right, don’t do right.”
What’d I Say, from the album What’d I Say (1957)
“Soul is when you take a song and make it a part of you — a part that’s so true, so real, people think it must have happened to you. … It’s like electricity — we don’t really know what it is, do we? But it’s a force that can light a room. Soul is like electricity, like a spirit, a drive, a power.”
“But now if I can wrap myself up in that song, and when that song gets to be a part of me, and affects me emotionally, then the emotions that I go through, chances are I’ll be able to communicate to you. Make the people out there become a part of the life of this song that you’re singing about. That’s soul when you can do that.”
“I started to sing like myself — as opposed to imitating Nat Cole, which I had done for a while — when I started singing like Ray Charles, it had this spiritual and churchy, this religious or gospel sound. It had this holiness and preachy tone to it. It was very controversial. I got a lot of criticism for it.”
“Do it right or don’t do it at all. That comes from my mom. If there’s something I want to do, I’m one of those people that won’t be satisfied until I get it done. If I’m trying to sing something and I can’t get it, I’m going to keep at it until I get where I want it.”
“You better live every day like your last because one day you’re going to be right.”
“Before I begin, let me say right here and now that I’m a country boy. And, man, I mean the real backwoods! That’s at the start of the start of the thing, and that’s at the heart of the thing.”
“I was born with music inside me. That’s the only explanation I know of, since none of my relatives could sing or play an instrument. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me — like food or water.”
“When I was going blind, I didn’t turn to God. It didn’t seem to me then — and it doesn’t seem to me now — that those items were His concern. Early on, I figured I better begin to learn how to count on myself, instead of counting on supernatural forces.”
“Oh beautiful for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self, our country loved,
And mercy more than life,
America, America may God thy gold refine,
Til all success be nobleness
And every gain devined.
And you know when I was in school,
We used to sing it something like this, listen here:
Oh beautiful, for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain,
But now wait a minute, I’m talking about
America, sweet America
You know, God done shed his grace on thee,
He crowned thy good, yes he did, in brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.
You know, I wish I had somebody to help me sing this
(America, America, God shed his grace on thee)
America, I love you America, you see,
My God he done shed his grace on thee,
And you oughta love him for it,
Cause he, he, he ,he crowned thy good,
He told me he would, with brotherhood,
(From sea to shining Sea).
Oh lord, oh lord, I thank you Lord
America the Beautiful, Ray Charles
Wikipedia Page: Ray Charles