Ray Charles to perform at casino

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

[7/17/03]Music legend Ray Charles will perform in Vicksburg Aug. 10 at an outdoor concert at Ameristar Casino Hotel.

“He is headline entertainment, and it’s a wonderful thing that we are able to bring him to Vicksburg,” pubic relations manager Annie Mitchell said.

The concert will be at 8 p.m. in the parking lot on Washington Street. Tickets are $20 and $25 and can be purchased at the Ameristar Gift Shop, online or by phone.

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Also, concert-goers must be at least 21 years old and will have to present a Star Awards Club card to get into the show. Star Awards Club cards are free and can be obtained at the casino.

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson in Albany, Ga., on Sept. 23, 1930. Because of glaucoma, he was blind by age 7.

It was at the St. Augustine School For The Deaf and Blind that he picked up a variety of musical instruments before settling on the piano leading to a musical career that has spanned four decades.

In 1950, Charles moved to Los Angeles, where he landed two Top 10 hits while with the Swingtime label and signed on with Atlantic Records in 1952. During this time, Ray also played and arranged for blues and R&B legends such as Lowell Fulson, Guitar Slim and Ruth Brown.

Charles scored his first No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955, with “I’ve Got A Woman,” which was followed by other hits including “Born to Lose,” “What I’d Say” and “Georgia on my Mind.”

“Ray Charles has touched people throughout the world with his passion, style and love for music. It’s going to be a great event,” said Ameristar general manager Ray Neilsen. He won a Grammy in 1963 for his hit “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and for “Busted.” He also contributed to the soundtracks of two major films, “The Cincinnati Kid” in 1965 and “In The Heat of the Night” in 1967 and has appeared in movies including “The Blues Brothers” in 1980.

In 1982, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Charles is often called “The Genius” and is credited with influencing the early rock and roll sound and creating a sound that came to be known as soul.