March 8, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 51: The Ray Charles Singers ~ Something Special for Young Lovers

I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes in addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling (link below). This is about about one of them. Interested? Contact me by email please, not by a comment.

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I started writing about this album and while I was researching, I came across a fantastic blog on vinyl LPs and reel-to-reel tapes. It's called, Stax o' Wax, by a lady named Esther from Dallas, Texas, and it has some terrific reviews. You should check it out. It's not an active blog; it's last entry was on Saturday, December 08, 2012, but the reviews are many about a lot of interesting stuff; check it out. Anyway, how I found it was by an entry she had on the Ray Charles Singers tape I photographed and was writing about. I couldn't have done a better job, so I reproduced it below. She currently has another blog, The Spin-O-Rama Hour; really nice stuff there as well.

Thanks, Stax o' Wax!

Stax o' Wax  Avatar

Stax o' Wax blog entry on The Ray Charles Singers ~ 
Something Special for Young Lovers:

While the name may remain the same, this Ray Charles has no connections whatsoever to the R&B legend of Georgia on My Mind and What'd I Say fame. Instead, Charles Raymond Offenberg was primarily known for his easy listening and lush adult-oriented remakes of standards from the first half of the 20th century. The Ray Charles Singers were an ersatz conglomerate that held onto the last gasps of the mature middle-of-the-road fare that had all but dominated the pre-British Invasion pop charts.

The Ray Charles Singers ~
Something Special for Young Lovers
reel-to-reel tape box front
photo by Styrous®

 During the burgeoning days of Beatlemania, The Ray Charles Singers were able to take Love Me With All Your Heart from this long-player all the way to number three on the top singles survey -- indeed, a lofty feat for any artist in April of 1964. 

 The Ray Charles Singers ~
Something Special for Young Lovers
reel-to-reel tape box back
photo by Styrous®

The majority of the album's dozen entries were recent hits on the stage and silver screen. More, from 1962 film, "Mondo Cane", has a light samba breeze wafting through the melody. According to the original LP jacket notations, guitarist Tommy Mottola and pianist Dick Hyman, respectively, contribute to the instrumentation -- which is presumably true of the entire platter. 


 The Ray Charles Singers ~
Something Special for Young Lovers
reel-to-reel tape box back details
detail photos by Styrous®

The spirited take of the title song to "Hello, Dolly!" is offered with a suitably gregarious demeanor, although it doesn't hold a candle to Louis Armstrong or even Carol Channing's luminous interpretations. Mottola -- whose effervescent banjo frail is undeniably and infectiously fun -- and Hyman's ragtime-inspired tack piano are again singled out for their efforts. 

 The Ray Charles Singers ~
Something Special for Young Lovers
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®

The twinkling music box opening on What Kind of Fool Am I? -- from the score to "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off" -- reinforces the number's strong melancholy sentiment. Conversely, the intimacy is considerably diminished by the extended choral-style vocal arrangement. Enthusiasts of the genre and/or folks seeking a bit of sonic nostalgia will be pleased to note the 2005 CD reissue of both 1964's Something Special for Young Lovers and its follow-up from the same year, Al-Di-La and Other Extra-Special Songs for Young Lovers

by Collectors' Choice Music.

End of Stax o' Wax blog entry.

Something Special for Young Lovers
reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Track list:

Side 1:

1 - This Could Be The Start Of Something - 1:59
2 - I Left My Heart In San Francisco - 3:13
3 - More (From "Mondo Cane") - 2:25
4 - There! I've Said It Again - 2:13
5 - This Is All I Ask - 2:56
6 - Dominique - 2:36

Side 2:

1 - Hello, Dolly! (From "Hello, Dolly!") - 2:11
2 - Quiet Nights - 2:41
3 - Love Me With All Your Heart (Cuando Calienta El Sol) - 2:18
4 - Charade (From "Charade") - 2:54
5 - What Kind Of Fool Am I? (From "Stop The World, I Want To Get Off") - 3:23
6 - Sweet Little Mountain Bird - 2:21


Command, ABC Records  RS 866 SD

reel-to-reel listings on eBay

Styrous® ~ Saturday, March 8, 2014

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