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Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  327 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Ray Charles (1930-2004) led one of the most extraordinary lives of any popular musician. In Brother Ray, he tells his story in an inimitable and unsparing voice, from the chronicle of his musical development to his heroin addiction to his tangled romantic life. Overcoming poverty, blindness, the loss of his parents, and the pervasive racism of the era, Ray Charles was accl ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 27th 2004 by Da Capo Press (first published 1978)
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I guess I really didn't know who Ray Charles was before reading this book. This was a pretty fun read. I like these stories of how famous people developed a skill, became known, and had lots of success. There are so many great musicians who never do get discovered that it's interesting to me to read about those who do.

In reading this book I kept forgetting that Brother Ray was blind. He certainly didn't live like he was handicapped. He did so much and was so brave. Ray was also a very honest (i
This is the most honest and down-to-earth book I have ever read and one of the most humanistic and uplifting stories of all, not just biographies. If you are a great admirer of Ray's supernatural musical talent, you will be amazed and deeply satisfied by his equally great gift of story-telling and you will appreciate his music even more after you get an insight into his unbelievable life.

But even if you are not familiar with Ray's enormous contribution to contemporary Western culture and music,
Jill Edmondson
Full speed ahead!!! This was terrific! It felt like Ray was in my living room having a chat with me. I've never seen the biopic, and didn't know much about the man, but - WOW! - quite the life he led! He tells his story with respect and fondness, and with a healthy dose of self-reflection. His "can-do" attitude and his refusal to be pitied or to wallow in bitterness are inspiring. Highly recommended.
The was the an incredible biography told in Ray Charles's own voice.

His voice is direct, raunchy, and after several chapters you will feel that you are in his world. Some would not understand, but keep reading and your heart and soul will be captured by the shear incredible life this musician lived to inspire, enrich the world with his presence.

This is the way a biography should be complied, leaving their history for all to see without covering up to save face.

There are no hard question just t
Ray Charles - well, he forged his own trail, didn't he? The film about his life is based on this book which was written in 1978 when Ray was 46 years old. It's a good tale about an interesting life led by a musical genius (a term Ray himself questioned). Having seen and enjoyed the film, I still found a lot of new information worth hearing listening to this reading, and the reader, Andrew Barnes, sounds enough like Ray to be believable - that was important, since Ray himself introduces the book. ...more
I really enjoyed his unique narrative. Especially the 'jive' way of speaking. "Das coo" and "This muthafucka..." and "All I need in life is my music and a decent piece of pussy to end my day" It was a treat to hear the actor who did the audiobook version of this render Ray's voice as he told the story. The story unfortunately ends in where Ray was in his life in the 1970s which is my one regret about the book, since we know he lived until 2004.
I really feel like I am Ray Charles's friend now, an
A truly enjoyable autobiography. I ate it up. You can really hear Ray Charles' voice throughout, mercurial and bold as brass. It doesn't hurt that his life was truly remarkable, a genuine rags-to-riches story without all that painful lack of common sense. He is unabashed and unapologetic about being a skinflint, a disciplinarian, a philanderer and a drug addict. Reading this book felt like spending some time with someone truly comfortable with themselves. He might have big faults, but he sure se ...more
May 14, 2007 Kevin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone and Everyone
Amazing book, amazing story! Ray is one of my hero's after reading this book. It was really interesting how someone who had been blind since childhood could do, such as driving, flying (planes and 'copters), riding a bike all for the most part on his own. Ray would say his ears were his eyes but maybe it's because I have two eyes that's just amazing. I thought this was better then the movie and i LOVED the movie. This along with Bob Dylan's and Johnny Cash's are books that are in my vault for li ...more
This was a really interesting book. I've loved Ray Charles' music but never really knew much about him. This book is an honest, no-holds-barred telling of Brother Ray's life. He doesn't whitewash things, and in fact comes across as kind of a dog in his dealings with women, and while I didn't care much for that behavior in general, it did feel like it was true to him and who he was and I liked that he didn't really make excuses for things. I love how the book shows that Ray was really honest with ...more
Man O'neal
This is what the title says it is: Ray Charles' Own Story. It is interesting enough, and this combined with the easy writing style that comes with many autobiographies makes it a very enjoyable read. I will say that I didn't find myself deeply engaged in any of the pages. I simply found it pleasant and amusing. Nothing special, but good. On a side note, if you saw the movie than this book will probably be much less rewarding to you.
After reading a few musical autobiographies, one starts noticing a fair bit of repetition: Artist grows up poor, artist find music, artist struggles, artist perseveres, artist takes drugs and sleeps around. artist grows up.
Maybe i've read too many books in this genre. It is a good read, but nothing mind-blowing
Mark Farley
Very much the inspiration for the film, this account is written with music writer David Ritz but very much through the eyes and mouth of the singer. Interesting and heartwarming and truly timeless. Makes you feel like you are with Brother Ray through every part of his extraordinary journey.
this as-told-to tome changed my summer of 2007. beautiful, powerful, deceptively stark language that belies a depth i haven't found in many other texts. imagine if The "Alchemist" loved gin, women and generally gettin' freaky.
a must-read.
Very insightful about Ray's rise to becoming an icon in soul music. Definitely recommend this book to those interested in the culture of the time
I laughed, I cried, I fell in love. Worship this book! The movie is one of my favorites as well, but if you like biographies, read this fo sho.
I learned so much about the triles and tribulations about this book so difficult to understand the way ray charles lived.
I gave it two stars. It's worth reading but it's a typical biography of a famous musician. Worth reading if you're a fan.
Really good read. I appreciate the fact that the Co-Author let Ray speak for himself! Very insightful.
Jun 20, 2011 Alice added it
I read this years ago and was so moved by his story. I think I feel like reading it again.
Yana Bogushevskaya
One of my fav singers! Ray is amazing, David Ritz is good in biographies.
Brandi Worley
I know Ray better. Down to earth thinking. Real common sense.
The man had a pretty fascinating life. Makes for a good/great read.
I so totally read this book way before they made the movie.
Joseph Daly
This guy was something else, ya gotta love him!
mary erb
AMAZING. poignant. daring. honest.
Bjm Index
Jul 12, 2012 Bjm Index added it
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Ray Charles Robinson, known by his stage name Ray Charles, was an American pianist and musician who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues. He brought a soulful sound to country music, pop standards, and a rendition of "America the Beautiful" that Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes called the "definitive version of the song, an American anthem — a classic, just as the man who sung it."

Frank Sinatra called him
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