A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while Ray (the movie) is not really for kids, Ray Charles' last album is perfectly appropriate for the whole family.
What's the story?
GENIUS LOVES COMPANY turned out to be Ray Charles' last album, and it's a gem. Listening to these duets with a dozen accomplished musicians, one can only imagine how exciting it must have been for these singers to work with the iconic and brilliant Ray Charles. The result is that almost every one of them rises to the occasion, in turn inspiring some great work from \"the genius.\" The sweet and charming opener, \"Here We Go Again\" with Norah Jones, is one highlight. Other great moments include the gospel-infused \"Heaven Help Us All\" with Gladys Knight, a soulful \"Sinner's Prayer\" with Billy Preston and B.B. King, and the grand finale -- a live recording of \"Crazy Love\" with Van Morrison and gospel-choir background vocals.
Is it any good?
As on any compilation, some songs work better than others. If there's a weakness here it's in the saccharine production of a couple songs and a couple of lackluster performances by Natalie Cole and Diana Krall. But young Wizard of Oz fans will get a kick out of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" sung with Johnny Mathis, despite the drippy string arrangement, and older kids will appreciate the varied, wonderful playing and singing on the sparser tunes. The whole project comes across with so much heart, soul, and love that the few weak moments are insignificant.