Ray Charles

Aug 072013

Ray Charles in 1968. Photo by Eric Koch via Wikimedia Commons

Henry Stone: My first studio here in Miami was back in 1948 or ’49 on Flagler street, first little funky studio. Actually it was the warehouse for my first distributing company where I had a piano and a tape machine in the back

Who’d you record there?

Henry Stone: A guy by the name of Ray Charles. I heard abut Ray when I was in Jacksonville, FL. He was at the school for the blind in St Augustine. I heard about him, and that he was very, very good. I guess he left and went to California, but in about 1949 he came down to Miami to do a gig. I met him at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel in Overtown. I hadda go see Sam Cooke, who was a very good friend of mine because I’d been distributing his records, and Sam introduced me to Ray at the bar.

I said “Hey, I heard about you up in Jacksonville, man. I heard you’re pretty cool.”

He said “Great, I wanna cut some sides. I need some bread.”

I says “Come on over. I got a studio in the back of my distribution place on Flagler Street.”

So he came over to the studio in the back of my warehouse and we cut 4 sides. When Ray came in he started singing just like Nat King Cole.

I said, “Hey, Ray I want you to sing some blues man, cause I’m more into the blues,” I said, “I know you can do a blues song, man.”

So we did “St. Pete Florida Blues,” a song called “Walkin And Talkin,” and a couple other things. I gave him $200 and, I feel I can say this now that the movie about him came out, he took the money and immediately bought some heroin.

I put the sides out on my Rockin’ label, and I leased a couple tracks to my buddy Bob Shad for his Sittin’ In With label, and yaknow, they did alright, nothin’ special. You gotta remember, at that time he was just another musician. He wasn’t yet the Ray Charles like you know him today.

Shop for Ray Charles on Henry Stone Music

After that, I had this relationship with him through the years yaknow as his distributor. I broke all his records here in Florida. And I was almost instrumental in putting him on Atlantic Records. I say almost because there’s no documents of it, but Jerry Wexler (from Atlantic) was very hip, and he knew that I knew Ray Charles.

He called me up one day and said, “Hey, Henry we’re looking for Ray Charles. We’d like to record him. You know how to find him?”

I said, “Last I knew of him he was in St Pete.”

So Jerry contacted Ray Charles, Atlantic Records signed him, and the rest is history.

May 312013

On Sunday, May 26, 2013, Latimore was interviewed on Harry’s & Diana’s The Right Track Soul Show on 94.4 fm, Salford City Radio in the United Kingdom. He talks about the very beginnings of how he got into the music business to how he met Henry Stone in the 1960s, right up to today with his newest release Latimore Remembers Ray Charles featuring the hit single Hit the Road, Jack.

Latimore Remembers Ray Charles

Apr 292013

The Story with Dick Gordon
Interviews Henry Stone

“The Hits Keep Coming”

Click Here To Listen

Henry Stone has once again been interviewed on a national radio show The Story with Dick Gordon. Talking about the early years of distribution, his relationship with Ray Charles and Latimore’s latest release, Latimore Remembers Ray Charles, Henry Stone relates his 60+ years in the music business.

Click the thumbnail below to check out the CD.

Latimore Remembers Ray Charles CD Insert raycharles

Apr 222013

Latimore Remembers Ray Charles

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Latimore Remembers Ray Charles CD InsertTRACKLIST
1. Hallelujah
2. I Got a Woman
3. Georgia On My Mind
4. Hit the Road, Jack
5. Unchain My Heart
6. Drown In My Own Tears
7. What’d I Say
8. Crying Time
9. I Can’t Stop Loving You
10. St. Pete Florida Blues

Featuring Latimore’s Take on Ray Charles Classics
With a booming voice untouched by time, soul singer-keyboardist Latimore unleashes his gravely blues vocals to pay tribute to legend Ray Charles on “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles,” his 25th album that will be released April 16th by Henry Stone Music. Record industry veteran Henry Stone produced the 10-song set of tunes made famous by Charles, including the sassy soulified single, “Hit The Road Jack,” which is currently receiving airplay at classic soul, blues and adult R&B radio stations.

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Apr 192013

This just in from Vernon Campbell
KTLR AM 890, Oklahoma City, OK:

Praise for “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles”

It’s time for the evening services to begin with a lot of screaming and shouting “Hallelujah” as we begin on Latimore’s hot new release of “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.”

I’ll be bragging to the world “I Got A Woman” that will be joining me in evening service on Vernon CampbellBlues Hall Of Fame” on KTLR AM 890 right here in Oklahoma City.

It feels so good and inspirational to sing along with Latimore on “Georgia On My Mind.” I believe I’ll gas up the old car and swing by Henry Stone’s house and pick up Henry & Joe to come and “Hit The Road, Jack” with me. My heart is full with gladness that I want to “Unchain My Heart” with the release of this hot new CD of “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.”

It has me “Drowning In My On Tears” that the phones are lightning the Oklahoma City skies up and saying to all our listeners “What I Say” “It’s Cryin’ Time” if you don’t call in your request from this new hot CD “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.” All I can say about this new CD is “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Remember, this new CD will begin a new rapture of shouting “Hallelujah” to the world.

I will close and sing along with Latimore because I’ve got a taste of the “St. Pete Florida Blues.” I thank God for Mr. & Mrs. Henry Stone & Joe Stone because they saw the vision to make this historical master piece a reality “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles“.

Vernon Campbell Vet Air Personality/MD
One Accord Broadcasting Corp/KTLR AM 890
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mar 282013


Soul singer “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles”

Teams with industry veteran Henry Stone for album salute that will be released April 16th, “Hit The Road Jack” hits radio

Miami, FL (28 March 2013): With a booming voice untouched by time, soul singer-keyboardist Latimore unleashes his gravely blues vocals to pay tribute to legend Ray Charles on “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles,” his 25th album that will be released April 16th by Henry Stone Music. Record industry veteran Henry Stone produced the 10-song set of tunes made famous by Charles, including the sassy soulified single, “Hit The Road Jack,” which is currently receiving airplay at classic soul, blues and adult R&B radio stations.

There is plenty of history entrenched in “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.” Latimore and Stone first connected in the mid-60s, which led to the release of Latimore’s self-titled debut album 40 years ago on Stone’s Glades imprint. Going back further, the now 91-year-old Stone first recorded Charles in 1951 in his Miami warehouse.

Stone recalls, “I first recorded Ray Charles in the back of my little distribution warehouse on Flagler Street after Sam Cooke introduced me to him at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel in Overtown in 1951. Possessing distinctive artistry that is instantly identifiable, Latimore is a uniquely gifted artist in his own right capable of interpreting Ray’s music. This album could propel Latimore back into the national consciousness.”

Latimore’s weathered, soulful blues baritone commands the spotlight on “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.” Like Charles, his rural Southern upbringing and churchgoing roots enhance the raw emotion poured from his impassioned vocals. You can hear the urgency in his fiery guttural growls on boisterous rockers like “Unchain My Heart,” “What’d I Say” and “I Got A Woman” and feel his vulnerability on heart-wrenching ballads such as “Drown In My Own Tears,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Crying Time.” Stone penned “St. Pete Florida Blues,” a scorching Southern fried blues joint that opens the album. Latimore preaches from the pulpit on the gospel spiritual “Hallelujah” and carves his own name onto Charles’ signature hit, “Georgia On My Mind.”

“I always liked what Ray Charles did. When I first heard his playing, it really knocked me out. He definitely influenced me early on. It was fun paying tribute to the artist and the songs that he made famous while putting my own twist on them,” says Latimore.

Born Benjamin “Benny” Latimore in Charleston, TN, Latimore’s breakthrough single was 1973’s “Stormy Monday.” He rose to #1 the following year with “Let’s Straighten It Out” and cemented his presence in the R&B top 10 with “Somethin’ ‘Bout ‘Cha” and “Keep The Home Fire Burning,” all of which were released on Stone’s Dade and Glades labels. To date, Latimore has released 24 albums and charted 12 singles. His considerable keyboard skills graced multimillion-selling hits on Stone’s TK Records label such as Betty Wright’s “Cleanup Woman,” Gwen McRae’s “Rockin’ Chair,” and Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love.” More recently, he played on three albums by blue-eyed soul singer Joss Stone – her 2003 debut “The Soul Sessions,” the 2004 follow-up “Mind, Body & Soul” and 2011’s “LP1.” Additional information about Latimore is available at

“Latimore Remembers Ray Charles” contains the following songs:
“St. Pete Florida Blues”
“Unchain My Heart”
“Hit The Road Jack”
“What’d I Say”
“Georgia On My Mind”
“Drown In My Own Tears”
“I Got A Woman”
“I Can’t Stop Loving You”
“Crying Time”

About Henry Stone Music

Henry Stone Music is the Miami, FL-based record label and catalogue presided over by Henry Stone, a pioneering record man who has been at the forefront of musical tastes and trends decade after decade for more than 60 years. One of the first to record Ray Charles, Stone worked closely with James Brown for many years. His various record labels, including Alston, Brownstone, Cat, Chart, Dade, Dash, Glades, Glory, Hot Productions, Marlin, Rockin’, TK and Weird World, were formative in the creation of the Miami Sound, Southern Soul, Disco, and Miami Bass with roots firmly planted in R&B, blues and gospel. TK Records was arguably disco’s most successful label, which amassed more than 20 gold and platinum albums and catapulted the careers of KC & The Sunshine Band, Peter Brown, Foxy, Anita Ward, George McRae, Gwen McRae, Bobby Caldwell, and Betty Wright. Music from the vast Henry Stone Music catalogue is frequently licensed for use in motion picture and television soundtracks and commercials. For more information, please visit

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Feb 252013
My big interview with Dick Gordon

My big interview with Dick Gordon


Last week I got a call from Carol, a producer for “The Story, With Dick Gordon,” a really great nationwide public radio show that wanted to interview me for a segment on The Miami Sound.

So today, I drove up to the WLRN studio in Downtown Miami and got on the ISDN line with Dick Gordon in North Carolina for the interview.

Wow, he really did his research. We talked about my early days as a trumpet player in the first integrated army band at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. We talked about my moving to California after the war, how I worked with a 17 year old Mel Torme at the studio of Ben Pollock, how I ended up with the Bihari Brothers at Modern Records, and my early distribution efforts (nationwide) with the train porters.

We got into my big move to Miami, my first million selling single (The Charms, on DeLuxe), co founding James Brown, discovering Sam & Dave, and of course recording Ray Charles.

We talked about my Tone Distributing, growing with Atlantic, hitting the road with Leonard Chess, and a few big hits I had like “Cleanup Woman,” “Funky Nassau,” “Rockin’ Chair,” and of course the first ever worldwide disco hit “Rock Your Baby” with George McCrae.

All in all, it was a great story, and I can’t wait to hear it on the radio, playing to over 125 FM stations around the U.S. (and a couple of AM stations too). And I can’t wait for you to hear it too. I will make sure and let you know when it’s out.




Mar 112011

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Jose Feliciano
1. Light My Fire Listen to a Sample Sample
2. California Dreamin’ Listen to a Sample Sample
3. High Heel Sneakers
4. La Bamba
5. Walk Right In

Ray Charles
6. Georgia On My Mind
7. Hit The Road Jack Listen to a Sample Sample
8. Unchain My Heart
9. I Can’t Stop Loving You Listen to a Sample Sample
10. Drown In My Own Tears

Stevie Wonder
11. Signed, Sealed, Delivered Listen to a Sample Sample
12. My Cherie Amour
13. For Once In My Life Listen to a Sample Sample
14. Superstition
15. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life

The new break out single Hit The Road Jack from the CD Instrumental Magic features saxophone sensation Jeff Zavac, joined by the legendary Gwen McCrae, the powerful singer of the hit Rockin’ Chair and of her recent success, the classic duet with Latimore, Let’s Straighten it Out.Gwen and the Craetts join Zavac on several cuts on this instant classic. Listeners and the record buying public have made their choice for the single after racking up thousands of downloads on the track Hit The Road Jack.

Zavac has a style unlike any other sax player, with one added twist, he was born blind. The legendary Henry Stone of TK Records fame (home of KC & The Sunshine Band and many others) heard Zavac play one night. Stone, with over 30 Gold and Platinum records and number one hits worldwide, was in the studio with the original TK rhythm section when he decided to cut this body of work with Zavac. Stone then brought in Gwen McCrae and her daughters (The Creaetts ) to sing background vocals using a very unique arrangement style. The result is magical, thus the title of the CD Instrumental Magic.

This CD is dedicated to those who cannot see but have given all of us a world of vision.

Instrumental Magic symbolizes the magic of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, where an individual walks in the door hoping that the Miami Lighthouse can help them as they endure their vision loss, their blindness, and what happens because of that. After a few months with the training provided in the music program, computer labs, mobility training and personal management, the individual develops confidence, and when they leave the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind that confidence turns into independence. This music CD is a symbol of what can be done at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind.

For 75 years, since 1931, the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been providing rehabilitation services, socialization, social activity, children’s programs, blind babies programs, adult rehabilitation and much more. The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Gala on November 4th, 2006 is a celebration for the entire community of Miami to commemorate its accomplishments and to celebrate the confidence and independence provided to its clients.

This CD was a dream of Henry Stone, Virginia Jacko and others because they wanted to do something special for the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and to say thank you for the rehabilitation services they each received.

To Order: Click the RED “Add To Cart” button below. Then, proceed to checkout.

Order Jeff Zavac - Instrumental Magic CD @ $15.98

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Mar 102011

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1. John Lee Hooker -Real Real Gone
2. John Lee Hooker – Guitar Lovin’ Man Listen to a Sample Sample
3. John Lee Hooker – My Baby Don’t Love Me
4. Ray Charles Orchestra F/ Rufus Beachum On Guitar – Guitar Blues
5. Ray Charles – Walkin’ And Talkin’ To Myself Listen to a Sample Sample
6. Ray Charles – I’m Wonderin’ And Wonderin’
7. Ray Charles – Why Did You Go
8. Red Tam – Red And White Blues
9. Red Tam – Red Tam Is A Lover
10. Percy Welch – Back Door Man
11. Lee Shot Williams – The Love You Save
12. Don Hollinger – Let Him Go
13. Don Hollinger – I Been Hit By Love

Ray Charles: In 1949, while I was working in Jacksonville, Florida I began hearing stories about a great blind singer who had attended the school for the blind in St. Augustine. His name was Ray Charles. After returning to Miami, I was out one night at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel, an all black Hotel located in what is today known as Overtown, I met Ray Charles. He was in Miami working a few gigs and I suggested a recording session for him to pick up some extra bread. In 1951 I arranged for myself and Eddie Shaw, my engineer and shipping clerk, to take him to my recording studio on West Flagler Street where we recorded these tracks.

John Lee Hooker: Was born near Clarksdale, Miss. He recorded for Sensation Records in Detroit. Next he recorded for Modern Records where he had his million selling Boogie Chillen’. About 1953, while I was recording at the King recording studios in Cincinnati, I was having breakfast at the Mance Hotel when I met John Lee Hooker. Henry Glover, the King Records A&R man, introduced us. In our discussion about making records, he wanted to know if I was interested in recording some sides with him. Knowing his background as a great Blues guitarist and singer, I thought it would be a great idea. I took him to the King Studios and recorded quite a few sides, some of which are heard on this CD. They were originally released as single 45s on my Rockin’ label.

Red Tam: Came into my Miami studio in the mid-60s. He was a Blues singer from the south who sang and played guitar. I loved his Blues sound and recorded him with these tracks. In Red, White, and Blues you can hear the great Blues guitar licks that Red laid down. Red Tam Is A Lover brought out even more of his soulful Blues sound where his guitar and his vocals are backed up with female studio background singers that added that special 60s flavor that continues to sound good today.

Don Holinger: Was another great Blues singer from Miami who I recorded in the early 70s on my Dash label and I felt he should be included on this compilation. He is one of the most prolific Blues singers out of Miami. Willie Clarke had the unique opportunity to produce Don. Out of the projects of Overtown in Miami, Don Hollinger is number one in Blues Miami style.

Percy Welch: Was another great Blues singer that I recorded in my small upstairs Hialeah studio. He had a unique Blues novelty sound. His great guitar playing on the instrumental break is a stand out performance. This Back Door Man is a front row talent.

Lee “Shot” Williams: Is a southern Blues style vocalist. He got the nickname “Shot” from his mother because he liked to dress up like a “big shot.” Born May 21, 1938 in Lexington, Miss., he moved to Detroit in 1954 and Chicago in 1958. He recorded on quite a few different labels over the years. Being a great Blues singer with a very soulful groove right from the heart, I thought he should be included in this Blues package taken from my Roots label.

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Mar 102011

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1. St Pete Florida Blues (aka I Found My Baby)
2. Walkin and Talkin
3. Why Did You Go
4. I’m Wondering and Wondering

4 Track EP

At the time I recorded Ray Charles, my warehouse was at 505 West Flagler Street, behind a storefront. I was distributing records in the warehouse, and in the back section I had a little Ampex recording machine with an upright piano.

I met Ray Charles the night before at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel in Overtown, a happening section of Miami in the early 50s. He was performing at the Harlem Square, a nightclub in Miami.

He came into the warehouse the next day with a few of his musician buddies and I recorded them live right in the warehouse. The other guys brought their own instruments and that is where we recorded “St. Pete Florida Blues”, “I’m Wondering and Wondering”, “Walkin’ and Talkin’”, and “Why Did You Go”. All four songs were recorded live in one session that day. The records were released on my label, Rockin’ Records. – Henry Stone

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Mar 082011

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1. St. Pete Florida Blues – Ray Charles
2. Alley Corn – Earl Hooker
3. Sweet Angel – Earl Hooker
4. Goin’ To New Orleans – Little Sam Davis
5. She’s So Good To Me – Little Sam Davis
6. On The Hook – Earl Hooker
7. Goin’ Home To Mother – Little Sam Davis
8. 1958 Blues – Little Sam Davis
9. Jammin’ – Earl Hooker
10. Ride Hooker Ride – Earl Hooker
11. After Hours – Earl Hooker
12. Jealous Man – Johnny Lewis
13. She’s Taking All My Money – Johnny Lewis
14. Ridin’ Home – Leslie Louis
15. Don’t Do It Again – Leslie Louis
16. Alley Blues – Jimmy Wilson
17. Walkin’ The Streets – Lightnin’ Hopkins Listen to a Sample Sample
18. Mussy Haired Woman – Lightnin’ Hopkins
19. Goin’ Back Home Today – Willie Baker
As heard on “Suits” episode #105!
20. A Fool No More – Eddie Hope & The Mannish Boys Listen to a Sample Sample
21. Lost Child – Eddie Hope & The Mannish Boys

1) Ray Charles – Born Ray Charles Robinson, he attended the school for the blind in St. Augustine, FL. I met Ray Charles at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel, a hotel in Miami located in what is today known as Overtown. I arranged for him to come to my recording studio on West Flagler Street where we recorded four tracks, one of which is included on this CD, “St. Pete Florida Blues” (1951).
2) Earl Hooker – Master slide guitarist, born in 1930 in Clarksdale, he is John Lee Hooker’s first cousin. He was in his early 20’s working in a funky club in Arkansas when our paths crossed. I cut eight tracks with him at a tiny recording studio, one of which was a remake of the classic “Black Angel Blues”, later entitled “Sweet Black Angel”. Other releases on this CD from the Rockin’ label are “Alley Corn”, “On
the Hook”, “Jammin'”, “Ride Hooker Ride”, and “After Hours”. I released Hooker on my Rockin’ label in 1952. Unfortunately, Earl died at the early age of 41 in Chicago, April 1970.
3) Willie C. Baker – aka W.C. Baker worked for me as a shipping clerk. I recognized his talent as a Blues singer and guitar player and recorded several tracks, one of which is on this album, “Goin’ Back Home Today” (1953).
4) Lightnin’ Hopkins – This CD includes two tracks, “Walkin’ the Streets” and “Mussy Haired Woman” from Texas Bluesman “Lightnin'” Sam Hopkins. These tracks were released on my Chart label. Hopkins went on to become one of the foremost Blues guitarists and singers of the 50s and 60s. I met Hopkins in Texas in 1956. Born in Centerville, Texas on March 15, 1912, he passed away January 30, 1982.
5) Little Sam Davis – Veteran harp blower Davis learned harmonica at age 8. He left the Mississippi delta and headed for Florida to work in the orange groves. In 1952 he cut four sides for my Rockin’l abel (with Hooker providing accompaniment), “Goin’ to New Orleans”, “She’s Good to Me”, “Goin’ Home to Mother”, and “1958 Blues”, all included on this CD.
6) Johnny Lewis & Leslie Louis – aka one man band Joe Hill Louis. He moonlights on four tracks as
Johnny Lewis and Leslie Louis due to contractual obligations elsewhere. These tracks include Johnny
Lewis’ “Jealous Man” and “She’s Taking All My Money”, and Leslie Louis’ “Ridin’ Home” and “Don’t Do It Again”.
7) Eddie Hope and Mannish Boys – Some of the best early releases on the Marlin label were by Eddie Hope and the Mannish Boys. “A Fool No More” and “Lost Child” are cult collectors items, showing that I could match anything the Chicago Blues companies could bring to the market.
8) Jimmy Wilson – Called “Mr. Tin Pan Alley”, Jimmy Wilson recorded four tracks for Chart in 1956. This CD includes “Alley Blues”, a reworking of his old hit with down-home guitar work by Johnny Fuller.

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