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Ray Charles: Love And Peace

Penny Valentine, Melody Maker, 28 October 1978

IT'S RARE FOR any artist to re-emerge successfully from a long period of musical sterility. Harder still, somehow, for black musicians, whose problems – brought about by the inherent contradictions of the very mechanics of the business they're in – are compounded by the institutionalised racism that pressures them to opt for acceptance by making their music as "inoffensive" as possible. (Bobby Bland is still suffering; I await daily the news that Gladys Knight has turned her back on Las Vegas.)

Total word count of piece: 508