The fact that Genius Loves Company will be Ray Charlesís final new album inspires an unavoidable blue feeling.
But itís also a happy reminder that the man spent the last months of his life at work doing what he loved.
The overall effect of these dozen duets is autumnal and smooth.
Brother Ray is on point and cruising here. Fine moments abound--you can hear his delight even in the rather stiff company of Diana Krall and Natalie Cole.
His voice sounds a bit frayed by ill health at times, but it also allows for great performances like the slyness behind the ache in his version of the old soul hit ĹHey GirlĹ with Michael McDonald and a grand ĹCrazy LoveĹ with Van Morrison.
Potently, he and Gladys Knight remind us of the continued timeliness of Stevie Wonderís ĹHeaven Help Us All.Ĺ Its best moments make Company one more essential purchase for Ray Charles fans