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Ray Charles and El Michels Affair: The Record Lady

Two wonderful albums from Ray Charles and El Michels Affair that belong in your record collection in 2021.

El Michels Affair and Ray Charles Record Album Covers

2021 is just flying by and I will have a lot more to say about my Record Store Day 2021 purchases in the coming weeks but I wanted to focus on these two records that have been in rotation at home. El Michels Affair is something that has grown on me and I’m liking it more and more with each listen. Ray Charles’ iconic Genius + Soul = Jazz is something that I think everyone should own; both for the music and because it sounds so good. It’s hard to pick one Ray Charles album but this is a fantastic reissue.

El Michels Affair – Yeti Season

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The new album Yeti Season from El Michels Affair out earlier this year has been one of great intrigue for me recently. I’d noticed the eye-catching album cover and title a few times online and decided to check it out after seeing a friend recommend it. El Michels Affair is described as a “cinematic soul” group, and this album leans heavily on Turkish and Indian influences to create its distinct brand of soul music.

The record is mostly instrumental, with guest vocals from Piya Malik on a few tracks. It does have a dramatic, cinematic feeling to it, and is best enjoyed in one sitting. Once you hear it for the first time, you’ll keep reaching for it again and again. 

Ray Charles – Genius + Soul = Jazz 

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Impulse! Records is releasing a whole suite of reissues this year to celebrate its 60th anniversary, and Ray Charles’ Genius + Soul = Jazz is among the first to be released. It’s received the audiophile treatment with a pressing from Acoustic Sounds that sounds fantastic. The music on this record is sweeping and grand, with an all-encompassing sound coming from the big band.

Ray Charles is always commanding your attention whether he’s singing or playing alongside the band. I was not super familiar with this album before getting this reissue, but it’s quickly become one of my favorites to spin.

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