October 03, 1988 12:00 PM

Ray Charles

To say that this is a particularly good Charles album is like saying the Mona Lisa is looking especially interesting today. But let’s gild some lilies anyway: This is a wonderfully bluesy, funky bonanza of an album. Less countrified than he has sounded on recent albums, Charles is vigorous, funny, subtle and uniquely musical. Listen to how resourcefully he picks up all the nuances of cynicism and regret in David A. Morgan’s rueful gem of a song, Now I Don’t Believe That Anymore (“Once I thought an honest man/ Could count on winning in the end/ And time would always settle every score…”) Hear how Charles and Gladys Knight sing a real duet—to each other as well as the audience—on the Kim Morrison Phelps—Ruby Hice tune I Wish I’d Never Loved You at All. Enjoy the earnestness of the Ken Hirsch-Doc Pomus tribute to devotion, I’d Walk a Little More for You. Share the fun Charles, Lou Rawls and jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson generate on Save the Bones for Henry Jones. Even Charles’s keyboard contributions seem measured to create the most music per note. Charles, at 58, remains a marvel. (Columbia)

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