Two Blind Musicians Excelled despite their Blindness Sept 8, 2019 14:01:04 GMT -5
Post by Radrook Admin on Sept 8, 2019 14:01:04 GMT -5
Two Blind Musicians Excelled despite their Blindness
5. JOSE FELICIANO - Blind
Video - Light My Fire
Born a Puerto Rican/American and blind, Jose has become one of America's best known entertainers internationally. He has a strong following in Europe and especially in Latin America. When people think of great American guitar artists they think of Duane Eddy, The Ventures, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie VanHalen and others, over looking one of the truly great guitar artist, Jose Feliciano. He belongs in the upper echelon of the great guitarist of our time.
His version of the national anthem performed at Tiger Stadium in Detroit in the late 1960's was controversial at the time but has become recognized as one of great interpretation's of the song. In the United States he is best known for his million selling hit "Light My Fire" and the Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad" He helped to mainstream Latin music influence on Rock 'n' Roll
RAY CHARLES (1930 - 2004) - Blind
Video (Country Song) - You Don't Know Me
Ray began life with sight but in poverty. At the age of five he watched helplessly as his brother drowned in a large tub. Two years later he was blind due to Glaucoma. He attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. It was here he received a formal education in classical music. It was a common practice among students at residential schools for the blind to have impromptu jam sessions usually around a piano in the residence hall.
This allowed students to personalize in a jazz forum what they were learning in school. With this base and his growing interest in Jazz and Blues he began to develop his musical style. Much of the South may have been segregated, but the radio dial was not. He listened to Country, Blues, Gospel, Pop and Jazz. While attending the school he did some performances on a local St. Augustine radio station. His father had died when he was ten and his mother when he was fifteen.
After school he traveled in several different bands performing in the panhandle area of Florida. He developed a style based on the great Nat King Cole. The 1955 hit "I Got A Woman" departed from his Jazz and Nat King Cole imitations. It was all Ray. in 1960 a man from Florida,Ray Charles, (Yes, Ray was born in Georgia, but grew up in Florida.) recorded a song by a man from Indiana, Hoagy Carmichael, that would become the state song of Georgia, "Georgia On My Mind".
Ray had a dark side. Following a performance at Anderson, Indiana in 1961 he was arrested for possession of drugs at an Indianapolis area motel. This was the first of several arrests that culminated in an arrest at the Boston airport in 1964 on possession of Heroine. His drug problem nearly ended his career and his life. He had a dozen children by nine women of which only two had ever been his wife. Neither one of these two failings contributed to his greatness. If anything they were a hindrance, and otherwise scared an illustrious career.
Ray never let his blindness stand in his way. He went on to become one of the greatest recording artist of all time. In the era of Rock and Pop Soul he still believed in the Big Band and Pop Standards. His recording career included Big Band, Pop Standards, Jazz, R&B and Country. One of his most daring feats was the recording of the album "Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music". His friends and advisers thought it was commenting professional suicide. It gave him his biggest hit, "I Can't Stop Loving You". He proved them wrong. It was one of the most brilliant moves in his career. He loved how music allowed him complete freedom of expression. The so called biographical film "Ray" is less than accurate but is entertaining and somewhat informing.