“Genius Loves Company,” a duets album with a cross-section of top-flight collaborators, proved to be the final studio album completed by the great Ray Charles prior to his death in June 2004. Amazingly, a decade has passed since Charles left us and the folks at Concord are paying tribute to him with a deluxe 10th anniversary edition of the album.
The expanded version includes a bonus DVD that features an hour-long “Making of Genius Loves Company” behind-the scenes documentary. The film features assorted interviews and previously unreleased video footage of the “Genius” recording sessions. It’s essential viewing for longtime Charles fans.
The original 12-track album has been augmented as well, with a pair of previously unreleased tracks in “Mary Ann” featuring Poncho Sanchez and “Unchain My Heart” featuring Take 6. The original album still sounds great, most notably Charles’ collaborations with Norah Jones (“Here We Go Again”), Diana Krall (“You Don’t Know Me”), Natalie Cole (“Fever”), Bonnie Raitt (“Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?”), Willie Nelson (“It Was a Very Good Year”), B.B. King (“Sinner’s Prayer”) and Van Morrison (“Crazy Love”). This one is worth the upgrade. (Jeffrey Sisk)