Ray Charles is a legend, a genious of music and recording and a fine artist with extraordinary talent. But this book focused more on the times and people surrounding Ray Charles, than the actual man. I got lost in all the music jargin and mumbo jumbo-I wanted to know about this musician, his life, how he felt, what he did, how people felt about his music. But since I am not in the music business, nor do I understand most of the jargin, this book was lost on me. I skipped quite a few parts in the middle chapters because they just bored me and confused me. Not to say this was a bad book, but if you're like me when it comes to the language of music business, skip this one and buy the man's albums. His voice tells it all, you can just feel the emotions in his songs.
Anyone who has read Ray Charles own book, "Brother Roy", may find some of the blanks filled in with this biography. In general, the book is well-written with lots of interesting sidebars. It is rather disappointing, however, for the author to continuously refer to Charles' frugality and military attitude with his employees. As one of the first inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it would have been interesting to hear from those he influenced and why. Not one of the best biographies I have read..but, then again...not one of the worst. If you like Ray Charles, you will find this interesting, but not overwhelminly informative.
I found this book extremely readable and comprehensive. Charles has lived a huge life, and this book does justice to that life. While some might think it is too insular regarding Charles and his music, that would seem to be a true reflection of his life as he lived it. Many of the minor characters are vividly drawn. Lydon's style is graceful and evocative. Music fans should rush out and buy this book!
If you only reading this book because you want to know exactly how friendly Ray Charles is, you might end up disliking him. This book is a tell it like it is. After reading it, I developed mixed emotions towards Brother Ray, that I didn't have before reading it. However, this book is truly a musician's favorite.