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'Genius Loves Company': Charles' Parting Gift

Detail from the CD cover for 'Genius Loves Company.'
Detail from the CD cover for 'Genius Loves Company.'

As the old saying goes, "Misery loves company." That may be true, but a new CD by the late, great Ray Charles adds a new spin to the adage.

Genius Loves Company is Charles's last album, released posthumously this month. What's obvious from the collection of duets on the CD is that "the company" also loved "the Genius."

Some of the biggest names in music, from several different genres, teamed up with Charles to record a dozen standards and music chestnuts. Among the artists sharing the studio with Charles were Elton John, Norah Jones, B.B. King, James Taylor and Van Morrison.

Billy Preston, a longtime friend of Ray Charles and a standout keyboardist in his own right, and CD co-producer Phil Ramone join NPR's Tavis Smiley to talk about the last album of a great career from a great musician. Genius Loves Company debuted at number two on the Billboard charts -- making it Ray Charles' first top-10 album in 40 years.

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