takes you back stage to see the Blues Foundation
give Ray Charles his Lifetime Achievement Award
at the House of Blues...



John Andrew Parks

Kacey Musgraves


Quincy Jones introduces Ray Charles

Old friends Willie and Ray hug when
they meet backstage.

Ray Charles is presented with the 
Lifetime Achievement Award
Genius...It's a term overused in the extreme within the hyoperbole-laden music industry.  But the braintrust
at Atlantic Records did not overstate the case one iota when they anointed Ray Charles with the enduring
mantle in 1959 with the enduring mantle in 1959.  Charles personifies the exalted term in most righteous
fashion; if not for his groundbreaking hybrid of Blues and Gospel, the invention of Soul music might have
never taken place at all (or developed in some very different directions).

Born Ray Charles Robinson (he dropped the surname early to avoid confusion with boxing champ Sugar Ray
Robinson) in Albany, Georgia on September 23, 1930, he grew up in Greenville, Florida.  Poverty was no
stranger to the household--shoes were considered a luxury-but there was always music to make life more
joyful.  Local pianist Wylie Pitman was quick to take the lad under his wing, getting him started tinkling the
88s at the tender age of three.

John Melencamp introduces Willie

Willie Nelson receives the B.B. King 
Blues Hero Awards (click him for more.)

Diane Schuur

Tragedy struck when Ray was five:  he began to lose his sight.  Two years later, he was totally blind.  But that didn't stop him from pursuing a musical direction.   Sent away to a school for the sightless in St. Augustine, Fl, he furthered his piano skills at the facility, falling in love with
the hip pianistic of Nat King Cole and Art Tatum as well as bedrock Gospel, down home Blues, swinging Big Bands, and even the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts that floated through the school's corridors every Saturday evening.  All these interconnected musical styles coalesced into Ray's singular musical approach.

Billy Preston

Billy Preston lights up the stage

Ashford and Simpson

Talented Valerie Simpson

Blues Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Awards

QUINCY JONES--An impresario in the broadest and most
creative sense of the word.  His career has encompassed
the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer,
arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record
company executive, magazine founder and multi-media
entrepreneur.  As a master inventor of musical hybrids,
he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African,
and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing
virtuall every medium, including records, live perform-
ances, movies and television.

Willie Nelson

The one and only Phil Spector

Germain Jackson and friends

Representative from the House
of Blues Foundation

Mickey Raphaell and his wife backstage 
before he goes on with Willie Nelson. 

Norma Jean, who has performed at Farm Aid
 was a guest at Phil Spector's table.

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Buffalo Benford Productions, LLC

all photos property of Benford Standley


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