Ray (2004) Script

Always remember your promise to me.

Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.


All right!

Rest stop, 45 minutes.

Come on, folks. We gotta move.

We leave at 2:45 p.m. On the dot. Can't be late.

Hot meals and bathrooms inside.

All right, uh, there's a window out back ... for y'all to buy sandwiches.

And I suggest you make good use of them outhouses.

Ain't nothing but bushes for you in the Carolinas.

Sir.

Can I help you, sir?

Yes, sir.

Seattle?

Who you riding with?

Nobody. Just me.

Boy, I can't take responsibility ... for some blind nigger traveling 3,500 miles alone.

I ... I ... I paid for this here ticket, and it says ... that you have to take me to Seattle.

Don't you be smarting off to me, boy.

With all due respect, sir, I believe I earned the right.

I may have left my eyes on Omaha Beach, but I ain't asking no charity from Uncle Sam.

I got a job waiting for me in Seattle.

You were in Normandy?

Shuttling troopers to the beach.

We took a direct hit.

I'm sorry, son.

I'll keep an eye on you myself.

Come on. Take a seat in the back.

♪ Any time ♪

♪ You're feeling lonely ♪

♪ Anytime ♪

♪ You're feeling blue ♪

♪ Anytime ♪

♪ Anytime you feel down hearted ♪

♪ That will prove your love for me is true ♪

♪ Anytime ♪

♪ You're thinkin' about me ♪

Til, what the hell do you think you're doin'?

Billy, don't get your feathers all ruffled now.

I met this ol' boy over at the O.C. At Clarkfield, and well, he plays a mean jazz piano.

I don't care if he whistles Dixie out his ass.

He ain't gonna do it here.

Sir.

Boy, are you blind?

Yes, sir. Since I was seven.

Well, let me help you out then.

This is a country band.

We don't play no boogie-woogie.

Uh, yes, I understand. I love country music.

All right, go on. Tell me.

What is it you love about country music?

I ... I love the stories.

Uh, you know, about fallin' in love ... and having love knock you around ... and then the pressures of the world on you so tough.

It ... It makes you feel small.

You want to give your soul to God.

You might as well. Your ass belongs to Him.

Boy, are you sure you blind?

Last time I checked.

Okay. Come on in.

Billy, I think you're outvoted.

Til, one hint of trouble, and your blind nigra's out of here.

Damn!

Here.

I'm gonna have to put some glasses before he scares somebody half to death.

Seattle, Washington, folks.

Change bus here for all points north:

Bellingham, Mount Vernon.

Vancouver, Canada.

Uh, that's Diz. Emanon.

Yeah. But what's it spell backwards?

Ah ... ah ... ah, come on, man.

Why don't you give me something difficult?

"No Name."

Say, daddy-o, what ax you play?

Uh, piano.

Just blew in from Tampa, Florida.

Me and my partner, Gossie McGee, came here, you know, want to fatten up our style.

Cop some licks from some more experienced cats. You dig?

You know what?

Why don't you let me take you inside?

You know, show you around.

All right. Perfect gentleman. Yeah.

This is just like my place.

So, what's your name?

Ray Robinson.

I'm Quincy Jones.

Quincy Jones.

Hey, Gerry! This here's my man, Ray.

He's here to see his friend, Gossie McGee.

So I figured I'll show him inside ...

Don't mess with me, Q. He can come in, but not you.

Vice is on my ass for letting you underage kids in.

Get out of here, Q.

Can't you see ... Get out of here, Q.

He's blind! I gotta show him in. Get out.

Jive-ass. What?

Hey, Ray Robinson, when am I gonna hear you play, baby?

Uh, well, that may cost you.

Welcome, all you cool cats and fine felines.

You've come to the place where the sophisti-cats and hipsters ... hang their bebop hats.

So snuggle up and come near ... for tonight is Talent Night at The Rocking Chair.

Let's hear it for "Dancin' Al!"

Gossie's been cattin' around with one of my waitresses since he got here.

He never told me that his partner was a blind 'Bama boy.

Marlene, Demurs just called.

Thurmond's sick.

What about Sassy?

Flat tire.

Okay, 'Bama. Why don't you get on up there and show me what you got?

Well, I — I'm not prepared to do my thing right now, tonight ...

This is the only audition you're going to get, puddin'.

So either get on up there, or you and Gossie can haul your asses back down South.

Here. Smoke some of this.

This ain't no tobacco, man.

No, hold it in, it'll calm you down.

All right, Oberon.

Get on up there and introduce him.

Yes, ma'am.

Okay, 'Bama. Let's go.

Yeah.

Now, I got something special for all you satin dolls.

And I don't mean Oberon's big thunder.

Now that's for another show.

Now we got some new blood for ya.

Yeah, straight off the bus from Florida, I give you Ray "Don't Call Me Sugar" Robinson!

How y'all doing tonight?

Better than you!

Relax, Ray. Relax.

I got it.

Uh-uh, what do y'all want to hear?

How about a little Nat King Cole?

Y'all like Nat King Cole?

♪ If you ever plan to travel west ♪

'Bama ain't bad.

Yeah, I'd say he saved our asses.

What the hell is Ray doin' up there?

Auditioning for you, Gossie.

He ain't no good without me.

How'd you and the 'Bama like to do a week here at the Chair?

I know a good bass player.

A nice jazz trio could score big with the right manager.

Manager?

Come on now, Gossie, don't be so small-minded.

You know you've got to give to get.

Now what exactly do I have to give?

25 percent.

But I'll be gettin' you other gigs.

All right, next question: What do I get?

What do you need?

Double scale as leader, plus 10 percent.

What about the 'Bama?

He's about as green as a blade of grass.

I can handle him.

♪ Flagstaff, Arizona ♪ Yeah, he's green.

♪ Kingman, Barstow ♪ So, Gossie, you don't need to worry ... about a hotel room for the 'Bama.

He can flop at my place.

Hey, y'all never change.

♪ Get your kicks on Route sixty-six ♪

Ray, you coming back to bed?

I'm getting some water.

I can see that, but mama ain't finished yet.

For the first time anywhere, let's hear it for "The McSon Trio!"

♪ A buzzard took the monkey for a ride in the air ♪

♪ The monkey thought that everything was on the square ♪ Ray, when you coming out?

In a minute.

Mama's got some more blackberry cobbler for you, baby.

Damn.

♪ Straighten up and fly right ♪

♪ Cool down, papa, don't you blow your top ♪

Marlene, if you're gonna send us out on tour, we're gonna need more than $5 a day.

How come we can't get paid after each gig?

Because you boys will spend everything you make.

The club sends the checks to me, so as I can bank them.

I just want to see my own checks, that's all.

You don't see, Ray. You're blind, baby.

Or did you forget?

Now, you want to go out on your own and see how well you do?

Ray! Hey, Marlene, where's Ray?

He's in the back bedroom. And wipe your feet.

Ray, uh, six-nine, where you at? Six-nine. Six-nine.

Lionel Hampton just asked me to go on the road with him, man!

Lionel Hampton, man!

Sure he did. Then why you still here?

And dig this: His wife, she kicked me off the tour bus.

Told me to come back when I started shaving. You believe that?

Uh ... uh, Seven-oh, could you do me a favor, man, and close that bag for me?

What's wrong? You got two hands. You can close it yourself.

I got two feet, too. Could you close it?

I got it.

Excuse me, sir!

Man, we're gonna be late.

I got to get my own place, Gossie.

Why? I mean, you got free rent right now.

Like hell it's free rent.

Oh, come on, Ray.

Why you gonna mess with a good thing?

All I'm saying is you keep layin' that pipe with Marlene, and I bet you she's gonna make us all rich.

Hey, sir, excuse me!

♪ Straighten up and fly right ♪

♪ Straighten up and stay right ♪

♪ Straighten up and fly right ♪

♪ Cool down, papa ♪

♪ Don't you blow your top ♪

Just back from their triumphant tour ... of the Yakima Valley, The McSon Trio!

They'll be back right here, same time, same place, next week.

Hey, baby, you sound more like Nat than the King himself.

What's your name?

Ray Robinson.

Ray Robinson?

I'm Jack Lauderdale, Swing Time Records.

Oh, hey ... hey, hey, Jack! How you doing, man?

Good. Oh, good.

How about us makin' a record together?

Oh, yeah, yeah. Hell, yeah! Let's do that.

Can I help you?

I don't think so.

We're just talking a little business.

Then you need to talk to me, 'cause I'm his manager.

Whichever way the wind blows.

It's blowing.

Jack Lauderdale, Swing Time Records.

Marlene Andres. Marlene?

Gossie McGee. Gossie McGee.

Great set, baby.

We're going to talk with Mr. Lauderdale here.

Come on, Jack. I'm buying.

I'm coming in, uh, to talk to him.

You are doing a fabulous job!

Yes, man.

Eh, look, let's talk to him about this record.

Hey, no, no, we're gonna let Marlene handle that.

You get Oberon to call you a cab, all right.

Great set, Ray.

Goss!

Hey, daddy-o, want a smoke?

I got some gage, fresh off the boat.

It's clean and seedless.

So that's how it is, huh?

You keep me high while they talk the business?

I ain't the one playing you, man.

Oberon, listen ...

You know, Marlene and Gossie are the ones running the game on you, Ray.

What?

They sliced up the pie the first night you played.

35 percent off the top.

Plus Gossie's double scale as leader.

Leader? If anybody's leading the band, I'm the one that's the leader.

Forget the bo' humps. You know what?

I ... I'm ... I'm gonna go my own way.

Who's gonna book your gigs?

Marlene's got you locked up.

And she ain't gonna give up her golden goose.

♪ Straighten up and fly right ♪

♪ Cool down, papa, don't you blow your top ♪ Hey, Ray Robinson, you are fantastic.

There you go. Give me some skin.

What's that?

Jack's card.

I got his number at the hotel.

Come on, Q. It's not that complicated.

Now let's just play it again.

That's a B flat, C 7, scale it up, and triple it off the back end.

Yeah, nigger! Yeah, that's it.

Ray, what did I tell you about cookin' in the dark?

Are you tryin' to burn the house down?

Think about it, Marlene. Uh ... uh, what do I need the light for?

Well, you don't need to be cookin' anyway.

We brought you takeout from Oscar's.

Well, get your money back.

I got fried chicken right here.

Come on, Seven-oh, try this.

Yeah! About time.

Hey, that's home-cooked, right there.

Mmm, no, thank you.

This chicken is the mostest, huh.

Just needs a little hot sauce and it'll be perfect.

Yeah. So, what did Jack Lauderdale have to say?

Oh, I clocked him comin' out the gate.

He's a two-bit hustler.

Oh, I see.

Yeah, turns out the only hit that Swing Time ever had ... was Open the Door, Richard, which was a joke record.

Uh ... uh ... uh, what about him recordin' me?

Oh, he'll record you, if we pay the freight.

Scratch a liar, find a thief.

What's that supposed to mean?

This.

You see I saw Jack Lauderdale tonight, and he gave me a $500 advance on my record.

He also said he'll put me on the road with Lowell Fulson ... and pay me three times what you pay.

Now, that's a lie!

Hey, no way he's not gonna put some blind man on the road. Think about it.

I mean, you ... you need watchin' out for.

And he ain't got the time to look after you the way I do.

Is that what you've been doing, Gossie? Watchin' out for me?

Is that why you get paid double what I do?

Who told you that?

It's true, ain't it?

You two have been gaming me since I got here.

Ray, baby, listen ... I ain't listening to you!

Ray, I've ... I've been meaning to talk to you about that.

Then why aren't you talkin'?

Um, look, Ray, Ray, let's not do nothin' stupid.

I might be blind, but I ain't stupid!

Q., get my bag from upstairs.

What? Get it!

Wha ... right now? Now.

Ray, man, we done been through a whole lot.

Ray, now wait a minute. I can explain everything.

Think about what you're doing.

Ray, Ray, now you're makin' a big mistake.

That clown is spoutin' promises that he can't keep.

You'd be a fool to follow him.

Ray, Ray, we'll make a new deal!

Whatever makes you happy!

The deal is you can lay the pipe now.

You'll break your neck going down these stairs by yourself. Hang on.

Oh, man.

Ray, I ain't never seen you do nothing like that, man. Never.

That ain't nothing, Seven-oh.

Stop cheating, Ray.

George, you can't catch me. Come on.

Aretha!

Come on, George.

Aretha Robinson, have you lost your mind?

Eula, you promised to split every wash basket with me, fair and square!

And I did!

Hell, you did!

You charge white folks one thing and pay me another.

Now who's gonna wash these?

You can. Now pay me my money!

Okay, I'm a-giving you your two little dollars.

But don't you be expectin' no more work out of me!

I got all I need out of you.

Ray and George, come on!

That's right. Get out of my yard ... and don't y'all never come back!

Y'all got to learn to read and write real good, so you never have to work for people like that.

Scratch a liar, find a thief.

Understand?

Yes, Mama.

Smell that, Ray. Smell the success.

We're in LA, man, the place where the Negro comes to spread his wings.

You ... you know, man, I know my ears ain't deceivin' me.

Is that Art Tatum?

It sure is, baby. You want to meet him?

I ... I can't meet him. A-Art Tatum is the most.

So, Ray, we got to talk about your name, man: Robinson.

Sugar Ray got the Robinson franchise all sewed up.

So I'm thinkin' we go with your middle name, Charles.

As in, Ray Charles.

I don't care what you call me, man, just as long as my name's on the record.

But we're gonna toast to that.

Hey, what's the haps, Jack?

Oh, my goodness. Give me some skin.

What's up, baby? How you doin'?

Lowell Fulson, meet your new piano player: Ray Charles.

Ray Charles, the blind sensation.

Ow! Damn! I'm gonna use that on the album cover.

He's really the sensation.

I ... I love your music, Mr. Fulson.

Uh, the man's got taste.

Hey, and the man ain't been on the road ... with a band before, so now you take care of him.

Like my own brother.

Ray.

I'm gonna be right back.

All right.

Yeah, you got the one on the left.

Look here, let me do the talking.


Don't go inside that place.

You know what Mama said.

Go home and don't tell Mama nothin'.

Go, George.

George, get out of here!


Hey, boy, who let you in?

You must be Aretha's son, huh?

Yes, sir. Ray Charles Robinson.

I've been seeing you sneakin' around here.

You like the piano, huh?

Come on, you want to learn how to play?

Come on over here.

Let me show you how to play. Come on.

I'm gonna teach you how to play.

What we'll do, I'm gonna teach you three notes, right?

This is the first note, right here.

Play that.

And here's the second note, right here.

Play that.

Here's the third note.

Now, here's the way it goes.

Listen. Listen closely, now.

Play that.

Good!

Try the other notes.

Every club we hit, it's your responsibility to rehearse the band.

These are some lazy-ass bastards, so you gotta make sure that they don't slough off.

You gotta be ready and dressed to open the show.

Now, Lowell likes to take a nap before he goes on.

You just do your thing until he feels like comin' out.

And when Lowell's playin', you keep the band sharp.

Uh ... uh, just one thing.

What?

Did Jack tell you that I have to be paid in singles?

You just do your job, you're gonna get your money.

♪ Baby, come on, down ♪

♪ Your daddy's in the heart of town ♪

♪ Come on down ♪

♪ Your daddy's in the heart of town ♪

How'd you get the name Fathead anyway?

Why do they call me Fathead?

Nah, you don't want to hear.

But this is what I really want to know.

Do any of you fine young ladies know ... where we can get a nice steak this time of night?

You mean something big, thick, and juicy?

Oh, yeah, that's just what I mean.

Fathead, where you guys headed, man?

I ain't babysittin' no blind cat.

Uh, I'm sorry, Ray, but, uh, the law says there's only six to a cab.

Come on, ladies, let's get out of here.


♪ Everyday ♪

♪ Everyday I have the blues ♪

♪ Everyday, everyday ♪

Pay up, baby! Yeah, that's all right.

I been shootin' craps since I was 12 years old.

Don't never shoot craps on a white woman's grave.

Why not?

It's bad luck.

♪ You know bad luck and trouble, people ♪

♪ Well, you know I had my share ♪

That's for being late to the bus.

Wilbur, you a low-down piece ...

You better move on.

Ah, Mr. One-dollar Bill.

$5, $10, $15, $20 ...

Now, you like to start counting that again?

All right, damn you.

$284, $285 ...

Listen, man, I ain't no damn seein'-eye dog.

♪ You know ain't nobody worried about me ♪

♪ I don't see nobody, nobody cryin' ♪

Fathead, open up. Open up. I got to take a leak.

Hey, what you doing, man? Close the door, Fat!

Say, Ray, we'll be in here for a little while.

Use the women's can, down there on your right.

I don't want to use the women's can.

This way, alright.

Oh, God!

Say, Ray, you all right?

Yeah, I must have slipped on the wet.

There's a pipe broke.

There's water everywhere. You see it?

Let's go, man. Close the door.

All right, quit playing, Ray.

We'll be in here a while. Now go on now!

Where you from, Ray?

North Florida.

Oh, North Florida boy.

Your people still down there?

No.

All right.

Hey, uh, pardon me for askin', but how do you get around so good ... without a cane or a dog?

How do you get around so good without a cane or dog?

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry.

My ears got to be my eyes, man. Its ...

Everything sounds different.

You know that's why I wear hard-soled shoes, so I can hear my footsteps echo off the wall.

So when I pass by an open doorway, the sound changes.

Wow. That's cool.

You know you got to learn pretty quick if you want to get around on your own.

Yeah.

You know, during the war, there was a whole lot ...

I had to learn fast, or I wouldn't be here.

Seein' that much death ain't natural.

Yeah, seein' death ain't natural.

Boys, get from 'round that still.

Y'all know better than that.

Come on, catch me.

Stay from 'round this fire and get clean.

Dinner will be ready soon.

Hear me, Ray?

I got you. I got you.

No, you didn't. You missed me.

Stop cheatin', Ray.

Okay, you got me.

But I got you back.

I'm not playin' no more.

Sissy!

Come on, Ray. Let's go swimmin'.

Let's go swim in Mama's washtub.

Ray, come on, Ray, play with me.

You better get down before Mama sees you.

I'm a giant!

Some giant.

Come on, George. I ain't playin' this game.

That ain't funny.

Boys, I got some field peas and rice cooking.

And there's that smothered corn left from yesterday.

And if you're real good, I might have two pieces of peach cobbler.

Ray, didn't I tell you to get in this house?

Dear God, no!

That's Aretha's boy!

Breathe, baby, breathe.

Just breathe, baby, breathe. Let it out!

Let it out, please!

Breathe for your mama, now.

Come on, George.

Why didn't you do somethin'?

Why didn't you call me?

Help us, Lord!

The Lord done took him home.

All right.

Food and piss stop. Open it up.

The food is hot. You've got 45 minutes.

I could eat a horse. Where's it?

Follow your nose. Right over there.

Wilbur.

What?

45 minutes ain't enough time.

We need more than that, Jack.

Not to eat, you don't.

Now if you got other business, you better choose, because this bus is rollin' on time.

Come on, Mercedes got a washroom in the back.

And you, you can smell it.

Jeff.

Yes, sir?

Uh, could you help me in there?

Sure thing, Ray.

Hey, Mercedes.

Hey, baby. I hope you wiped your feet before you came in here.

There you go. Come on. Take that.

The bathroom's right there in front of you.

Okay.

You want me to fix you a plate?

Uh, no, I'm ... I'm fine.

All right.

Sweet potato pie it is.

Whoo, let's go, man.

That was a long bus ride, wasn't it?

Oh, come on, man.

Hey, man! The can's down the hall.

I know where the can is. What y'all doing?

Do yourself a favor and leave.

I'll leave when I'm gettin' ready to leave.

Come on, Fathead, I want in.

This ain't no weed, Ray.

And we ain't snorting no bitch.

This is boy.

Boy'll make your ass null and void.

So get on out of here, man.

Null and void, just like my life.

I'll be right at home.

Look, I ain't gonna wait all night.

Hell, it's his funeral, man.

Ray, let's go get something to eat.

I'll leave when I get a taste.

Ray, what you gonna do, man?

This train's pullin' out, brother.

I ain't having nothin' to do with this.

I warned you, Ray. Come on, man.

I been warned.

Sit down, Ray. Right there.

I'm gonna take you on a little ride.

It'll cost you, though. You got some cash?

Will this do?

That'll do.

Where you been? Where them other fools?

Come on, get it while it's hot!

You're going to feel a little pinch.

I ain't givin' up on you, boy.

Feel it, baby?

Just take the ride.

It's better than sex.

There ain't nothin' better than sex.

♪ We will walk ♪

♪ through the streets of the city ♪

♪ Of the city ♪

♪ Where our loved ones ♪

♪ have gone on before ♪

♪ We will stand on the banks ♪

♪ of the river ♪

♪ Of the river ♪

♪ Where we'll meet ♪

♪ to part no more ♪

♪ I pray ♪

♪ I pray ♪

♪ Be free from now on ♪

♪ Pray to you, Lord ♪

♪ Where our true ones have gone ♪

♪ Gone before ♪

♪ Gone before ♪

♪ We will stand on the banks ♪

♪ of the river ♪

♪ Where we'll meet ♪

♪ to part no more ♪


Ray, come on, let me put this salve on I got from Dr. McLeod.

No, I don't like it. It stings.

Boy, get up here.

I paid a whole dollar for it. It better work.

Now hold up your head, like the doctor says.

This is gonna make you feel better.

Ray, come on in for dinner.

And stop rubbin' those eyes.

Ray, I won't beat around the bush with you.

You're goin' blind.

The doctor's sayin' there's nothing they can do, so we got to do it ourselves.

Yes, ma'am, I know, but ...

Stop it.

Stop it right now.

We ain't got no time for no tears.

Ain't nobody gonna have no pity on you ... just 'cause you're goin' blind.

Now wipe them eyes.

Yes, ma'am.

Okay, I'll show you how to do something once.

I'll help you if you mess up twice.

But the third time, you're on your own, 'cause that's the way it is in the world.

All right, now get up.

Remember, you goin' blind, but you ain't stupid.

Remember how many stairs there were?

Four.

Good. You're gonna have to learn how to use your memory.

Now turn around.

I want you to hold out your hands, and use them as your eyes, and find the door.

Good. That's real good, baby.

Hi.

♪ Baby, let me hold your hand ♪

♪ Till I make you understand ♪

♪ Oh, baby ♪

♪ Let me hold your hand ♪

♪ I really true believe ♪ This fool makes one record, and you'd think he's the star of the band.

Well, he's got somethin', ain't he?

His wax won't even hit the charts.

You're still the man.

♪ I want you to know ♪

♪ I'm in love ♪ She wasn't that fine.

There's somethin' wrong with you.

No, man, she's fine. She's fine. You leave her alone.

Look at Ray.

You see that?

He feels her wrist 'cause he figures ... that's the way to tell if she's good-looking or not.

You know I had my eye on you all night long.

Oh, he right this time.

See what a little fame does to Null and Void?

Anybody see that fine-looking gal in the yellow dress?

You hear this man?

You snooze, you lose.

We gonna dock your pay, man.

That's $2 off of your busride.

♪ Baby, I want you by my side ♪

♪ I do ♪

♪ I want you to know ♪

♪ Our love we will never hide ♪

♪ Oh, no, no, no ♪ All right, who's next?

It's a shame, Jimmy.

You're just gonna piss this right up your arm.

You don't tell me what to do with my money.

All right, come on. Step up. The $1 sensation.

You wanna keep counting?

What's the matter with you, boy?

$50 ain't good enough for you?

That ain't $50. Keep counting.

I guess you want charity, since that record of yours ain't selling.

Get him off my back!

Break it up!

What the hell's going on in here?

The blind sensation don't like the money I'm trying to pay him!

He's cheating me! I quit!

Oh, you lying son of a bitch!

Don't be fighting nobody that can see!

Listen, I ain't runnnin' around lookin' for singles for this chump!

There's $50 here, Ray.

You see that, fool?

Shut up, Wilbur! Ray, from now on, I'll handle your pay myself.

I'm tired of this!

I'll tell Jack to find you somebody else!

You sure? It's cold out there.

Don't worry about me, I can take care of myself.

Ray! Damn it, Wilbur!

Let him go!

What we gonna do now?

"After the death of Moses, the Lord spake unto Joshua saying:

Moses my servant is dead.

Now therefore arise. Go over to Jordan.

Be not afraid, For the Lord thy God is with thee."

Mr. Charles.

Who is it?

Mr. Charles, my name is Ahmet Ertegun.

May I have a moment of your time?

What do you want, man? I'm at church.

I'm sorry. I'll come back later.

You're here now. What do you want?

My company, Atlantic Records, has acquired ... your contract from Swing Time.

I'd like to discuss your future.

Hold on. Don't jive me now. I ain't for sale.

May I sit down?

You see, Mr. Charles, Jack Lauderdale has found himself, shall we say, a little overextended, and has had to unload some of his talent.

When your name came up, I jumped at ... the chance to work with you. I'm a big fan.

What if I want to go to another company?

There's a guy out there right now that is willing to pay me ... seven cents a record. Can you do that?

Man, I could promise you 15 cents a record, but you won't get it any more than he'll pay you seven.

What I will do is promise you five cents a record ... and pay you five cents a record.

If you think pennies, Mr. Charles, you get pennies.

You think dollars, you get dollars.

I like how you put things together, man.

Ahem, you know what?

Omelet, you're all right with me.

Ahmet. Ahmet.

What kind of name is that?

I'm Turkish.

Well, you know what?

I guess Jack Lauderdale's bad luck is my good fortune.

I knew that Atlantic Records was bigger than Swing Time.

You guys do good music. I dig Atlantic.

You could have fooled me.

Well, you know, I gotta keep my eye on you city boys.

Down home, we call it "country dumb."

Hey, man, it ain't Turkish.

♪ Went to see my sweetheart ♪

♪ Last night around about ten ♪

♪ She said, move, sweet papa ♪

♪ Squeeze me every now and then ♪ What do you think?

Man, nobody wants another Nat King Cole.

♪ 'Cause she sleep that way ♪

♪ The midnight hour ♪

♪ Has found me lonely ♪

♪ So unhappy ♪

♪ As I can be ♪ Ahmet, it's just like Charles Brown.

Okay, I'll talk to him.

All right, fellas, that's a cut. That's a cut, fellas.

Fellas!

Band can take five.

He just don't get it.

You either sound original, or you got nothin'.

Ahmet, what'd you think of that?

Ray, I want to tell you something, and I don't want you to take it wrong.

Then give it to me right.

I signed you because I sensed something special in you ... not because you sound like Nat Cole or Charles Brown.

I thought you like what I do.

We ... we love the timbre of your voice, we like your virtuosity, your energy ...

But not my music.

Come on, man, I didn't say that.

Ahmet, this is what I do, man.

I gotta make a living. This is what the people want.

I don't know no other way.

We got to help you find one.

Look, let's try a little change of pace, okay?

You're familiar with stride piano?

You kidding me, man? The man who I learned the piano from is a stride player.

Okay, I got a song. It's called "The Mess Around".

"The Mess Around." Cute title. Who wrote it?

I did.

Ah, you wrote it.

Yeah.

Well, sing it to me, man.

Sing it? Yeah.

It ain't like I can read the lyrics.

Okay. Well, it's the key of G.

Okay. Key of G.

Uh-huh.

Yeah.

Yeah, but it's a kind of Pete Johnson thing.

Pete Johnson.

Yeah, yeah, that's it.

You like that? Here we go. Two, three, four.

♪ You can talk about the pit barbecue ♪

♪ The band was jumpin', the people, too ♪

♪ They're doin' the mess around ♪

♪ They're doin' the mess around ♪

♪ They're doin' the mess around ♪

♪ Everybody doin' the mess around ♪ All right, that's good. Let me take it from here.

♪ Now this band's gonna play from nine to one ♪

♪ Everybody here's gonna have some fun ♪

♪ Doin' the mess around ♪

♪ Ah, doin' the mess around ♪

♪ They doin' the mess around ♪

♪ Everybody doin' the mess around ♪

♪ Now you see that girl with that diamond ring ♪

♪ She knows how to shake that thing ♪

♪ Mess around ♪

♪ I declare she can mess around ♪

♪ Ah, mess around ♪

♪ Everybody do the mess around ♪

Now we got something!

That's all right there.

What do you think, Ahmet?

Great, Ray!

Unbelievable!

Who's that?

Ray, I want you to meet my new partner, Jerry.

Mr. Ray Charles, Jerry Wexler.

Hey.

Don't worry, Ray. I'm going to step back, I'm gonna watch, I'm gonna learn how to produce a record. I'm in awe.

That was out of sight.

That's some running and riffing, man!

Well, this'll make you shout, man.

We're listening to that new recording, Mess Around ... by Atlantic recording artist, Ray Charles.

And we have the gentleman live here in the KCOH studios.

So, Ray, when you're not making your own music, what do you listen to?

You know what, the fact is, King Bee, I really and truly love gospel.

One of my favorite groups is from right here in Houston:

The Cecil Shaw Singers.

You heard it: Ray Charles endorses Houston's own Cecil Shaw.

We'll be playing gospel all day Sunday ... but right now, let's hear some more ... of that Mess Around by Ray Charles.

K.B., line 1.

King Bee.

Mmm-hmm.

Yeah, he's right here.

Miss Della Antwine of the Cecil Shaw Singers.

Hello, Miss Antwine.

You sung tenor in Jesus Is My Shepherd, right?

Yes.

How did you pick me out?

Actually, I ... I hear like you see.

Like that hummingbird outside the window, for instance.

I can't hear her.

You have to listen.

Yes.

Yeah.

Yes, you can.

OH-OH.

You hear that?

What?

Her heart just skipped a beat.

Oh, did you like my record?

The one that King Bee was playin'?

It was very nice.

Different than the others.

I've heard a lot of your music.

Was it very nice, too?

Look, Miss Antwine, if you don't really like the record, you ain't got to beat around the bush with me. I mean, my mama never did.

It's not that I don't enjoy your music.

It's just that I feel I've heard it before.

I keep wondering what the real Ray Charles sound like.

Ray Charles? Who's he?

Nobody, if you don't know.

Huh?

Sorry. I should have kept my mouth shut.

Oh, no, no. Then you wouldn't be you.

You know, it's not like I haven't heard that before.

I guess I just, uh, never really listened, that's all.

Ain't nobody ever put it that sweet, I guess.

You know what, Miss Della Bea Antwine?

You really are a country girl. You know that?

Yes. How'd you know?

I could tell by the way you ordered.

"Let me get molasses with my cornbread."

Were you raised on a farm?

My mother did a little sharecropping in Florida.

Is she still there?

God bless her heart, she passed away when I went to school.

Ray, I'm sorry.

She never was real healthy.

She just worked herself to death, poor thing.

That's why she didn't want me carrying around no tin cup.

The kids I went to school with, they were doing basket-weavin' and wickerwork.

But not you. Because of your gift.

Because of my ears.

See, I can mimic damn near anybody, and I ... I ... I ... I make a pretty decent living at it.

It's just, if I change my style up ... and people really don't dig it, I mean, what am I left with, you know?

I mean, when you're blind, Miss Antwine, you ain't got that many choices.

Seem to me like you got all the choices in the world.

God gave you the gift to sound ... like anybody you please, even yourself.

We're here. This is where I live.

Well, you think the preacher'd let me in?

I mean, uh, I'm a sinner, but I need a little prayer.

His wife don't like me having male company.

Well, tell him there's a soul out here that needs savin'.

You know what, Miss Antwine, you really got me thinkin'.

About what?

About my life. About my music.

About everything.

Ray, don't ... don't you think we're movin' a little fast?

Listen, I'm ... I'm gonna go to New York ... for a couple of weeks, and when I get back, you can take it as slow as you want.

All right, Mr. Charles.

All right, Miss Antwine.

I'll see you in a couple of weeks.

Well, hold on, now. Let me call you a cab.

I got it. Three blocks up, left for two, right for one.

Fifteen giant steps, and I'm at the Crystal White Hotel. Hello.

"Mess Around" was a positive step for us, Ray.

We're making progress.

Oh, come on, Ahmet. Now, you've been nice to me.

But I haven't given you guys any hits.

Atlantic Records has been good to me, but if you want me to do something special, I'm gonna need my own band.

Oh, man. Taking a band out on the road costs a mint, Ray.

I mean, even Joe Morris is struggling. His band's had a hit record.

But, Ahmet, listen, I'm not Joe Morris.

Man, you told me if I think pennies, I get pennies.

I'm thinking dollars, man.

Ruth Brown's got a tour booked in Georgia.

She needs a band.

I ... I'll take it.

I could write the charts for her, I ... I could do backup, and also be an openin' act.

Okay.

But you're going to be financially responsible.

You're gonna have to make it work, Ray.

Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna make it do what it do, baby.

Yeah.

Ray!

Miss Antwine, it's been two weeks.

It's been three.

Now, where's the preacher at? And the wife?

They in Dallas till Monday.

Well, hallelujah!

Della Bea.

Kind of like a honey bee, right?

Can I call you Bea?

Yeah, I'd like that.

There's only been two cats that I ever really trusted in my life.

There's Jeff Brown, he's going to be my tour manager, Fathead Newman, my tenor man ...

and now you.

But you gotta do me a favor.

Bea, you gotta always tell me the truth.

Oh, yeah. Just like you did before.

Don't feel sorry for me just 'cause I'm blind.

How could I pity someone I admire?

Can I play something for you?

Now? Yeah.

No, Ray.

Yeah, right now. Right now. I'm gonna ...

Ray!

It's right there. You got it.

Okay.

Yeah, yeah, this will work.

Now you go ahead and play. I'm gonna close these drapes.

All right.

I don't want no neighbors looking in.

♪ Well ♪

♪ I got a woman ♪

♪ way over town ♪

♪ She's good to me ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ I got a woman ♪

♪ Way over town ♪ Ray.

♪ She's good to me ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪ Ray!

♪ She give me money ♪ Ray. Ray, that's sacrilegious.

♪ When I'm in need ♪ What ... what?

It's a gospel song.

I know what it is. I wrote it.

I mean, you told me to find my own voice.

Well, Bea, this is it.

But it ... it ain't ... It ain't right to be changing gospel music into this.

Into what? Is it ... Is it devil music?

Evil music? Do you think ... Do you think I'm evil, Bea?

Look, I've been performing gospel ... and blues all my life. It's who I am.

And if I'm gonna do my own thing, I ... I gotta be natural, right?

I'm singing about my feelings for you.

About how I love you.

What could be more natural than that?

Huh, Bea?

Tell me.

More natural than me and you.

Ray.

♪ I got a woman ♪

♪ Way over town ♪

♪ good to me ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪ So we bite the bullet, we cancel the tour dates.

But what the hell are we gonna tell Ray?

We just have to tell him the truth:

Ruth Brown's pregnant, so there's no tour.

What about LaVern Baker?

Get LaVern Baker to take the tour.

She doesn't have a record. There's nothing to promote.

You and Jesse get up there, write a couple of songs, let's get her in the studio.

It's gonna take a month to do that ...

What are we gonna do? We got to do somethin'.

Ray's got a whole new band up there.

How the hell did he put together a band so fast?

Boss! Boss, they're here.

Come on. Let's get together so we can show 'em this.

... break this to Ray.

Oh, you're gonna let me break it to Ray?

Why me?

Because Ruth Brown was your idea.

Ruth Brown is a good idea, Ruth Brown was a good idea, and still is a good idea.

Shh!

♪ That's good to me ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ I got a woman ♪

♪ Way over town ♪

♪ Good to me ♪

♪ Whoa, yeah ♪

♪ She give me money ♪

♪ When I'm in need ♪

♪ Yeah, she's the kind of ♪

♪ friend indeed ♪

♪ I got a woman ♪ Ahmet.

Yeah.

We gotta get this on wax.

Oh, yeah.

♪ Oh, yeah ♪ Hear that, New York? The sound is huge!

But there's only seven cats on this record.

This is the new Ray Charles, baby, and there's nothing out there like it!

And you heard it first on The Moondog Show!

♪ Just for me ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ She give me money ♪ The Shaw Agency's the best booker on the Chitlin' Circuit, that's my opinion.

Milt Shaw, meet Ray Charles.

Ray, It was Milt's dad, Billy, who first drew my attention to a certain blind pianist ... when he was booking Lowell Fulson.

Ray Charles. We believe in your talent.

We wanna be in the Ray Charles business.

We've already got you booked on a 10-city tour ... with Roy Milton's Solid Senders ...

Oh, Roy Milton, I love him.

... and Tangula, the Exotic Shake Dancer.

She is gorgeous.

Ray, I gotta tell you, we think you're onto something very big here.

Nobody's ever combined R&B and gospel before.

"I've Got A Woman" is a smash.

You better start thinking about a follow-up, my friend. Right now.

You know, this sounds good. I gotta run to Texas ... and take care of some business, and, I'll be right back.

Well, make it fast. I'm ready to sell, sell, sell.

A-a-as long as you book me in front of Tangula.

Della, hold on! Let me get my camera.

Let me get one picture.

Y'all, y'all, stay right there! Ray!

Della, let me get one picture!

Come on. One picture, Della! Come on, now.

Be careful, Ray.

These are your last steps of freedom, man.

Don't open that door.

Ray, you gotta carry her over the threshold.

To the right, Ray! To the right, now!

Ray, you need some help?

You sure you know what you're doing?

♪ He knows a woman's place ♪

♪ Right there now, in her home ♪

♪ I got a woman ♪

Ray.

Ray.

Can I come in?

H-H-Hold on.

What's goin' on, Ray?

Open this door.

Why are you locking doors on me, Ray?

You know the place is small.

We gotta have a little privacy.

Uh, what we need is a little more room.

You know, we're gonna need some space while we start a family.

Well, Bea, you know I'm gonna be on the road for most of the year.

Ray.

I'm just thinking, what if I'm not a good father?

My daddy was never around.

And he had 3 different families.

Well you, are gonna have one, starting right now.

Right now?

Mmm-hmm.

Well, what do you think?

That's all is what I know.

♪ I know ♪

♪ Hallelujah, I just love her so ♪

♪ Now, if I call her on the telephone ♪

♪ And tell her that I'm all alone ♪

♪ By the time I count from one to four ♪

♪ I hear her ♪

♪ on my door ♪ Stop it! Y'all done lost your minds!

Stop all this stuff!

You need to be saved!

I can't take it no more. Stop it!

I can't take it!

Hold on. Now, wait a minute, man.

Take your hands off me!

This ain't right!

Just let the people hear the music.

Y'all sitting here, listenin' to this devil!

You're just givin' your money to Satan, that's what you're doin'.

Hold on, y — you got a problem?

Yeah, I got a problem!

That's gospel you're singin'!

You're turning God's music into sex.

You're making money off the Lord!

Don't y'all smile at me! All of y'all are in it, too!

All of y'all are going straight to hell!

She's right.

No, this here's wrong.

The whole thing's wrong.

It's okay. It's okay. Let ... let him go.

You got a right to believe in what you believe.

You can go to hell by yourself!

Boss, you want to cancel the show?

Uh, no. I'm not gonna cancel the show.

Just find me a bari player by tomorrow.

I just want to ask the folks right now:

If all of y'all want me to keep playing, let me hear you say "Amen."

Amen!

And while you're at it, find me a girl ... with church-training that can sing ... but without the church attitude.

All right.

Let's go, y'all. Keep it going, here we go ...

Come on.

♪ Let me tell you 'bout a girl I know ♪

♪ She is my baby and she lives next door ♪

Ray, you got your watch?

Yeah.

Good. All right, baby, your blue shirts are on top, the pants in between, and the white shirts are on the bottom.

Here's your glasses. There you go.

Bea.

Why don't you come, go on the road with us?

Look, baby, what would I do on the road?

You'd do what I say you do, that's what you're gonna do.

I've been trying to get a female voice in the band, anyway.

Can't you just picture me wobbling around on that stage, big as a house?

Well, I can't picture you, you know that.

But I know what I can do.

Come on, now. Don't start nothing you can't finish.

Jeff is waiting.

You know I can't go on the road with you, not with your baby inside me.

Mmm-hmm.

I'm gonna get your shaving kit.

Uh, Bea, I ... I got it.

Bea, hold ... hold on.

Bea, let me get it.

How long you been hiding this from me?

Ray!

I'm your wife!

Bea, I ... I was just so excited to see you.

I forgot to leave it back there with the band, that's all.

Let me ... Let me get it.

Oh, it's just a little medicine, that's all, baby.

That ain't medicine to nobody, Ray.

Don't be lyin' to yourself.

It ain't like I'm dealing it, baby.

I just use it to get a little taste.

You don't taste poison, Ray. It kills you.

Now, you got to stop.

I ain't got to do a goddamn thing!

What about me? What about your baby?

Bea.

It ain't like I'm new to this.

If I felt like this was jeopardizing my music, or you, or providing for that baby, I would stop in a minute. But I know it won't.

How do you know that, Ray? How do ... How do you know that?

You know what? You can talk till you're blue in the face, it don't matter. I'm not gonna stop.

Then I'm comin' with you.

No, no.

Well, Ray, you just said ...

No. No. You know what it is, Bea.

I ... I think it's like you said.

I don't think that the road is a place for you and the baby.

What are you saying to me, Ray?

What I'm sayin' is that when I get home, I hope that you're here at my house.

Your house?

Jeff, come get this bag.

All right, Ray.

Hey, Della Bea.

You all right?


♪ It brings a tear ♪

♪ to my eyes ♪

♪ When I began ♪

♪ to realize ♪ That's good, thank you.

How does she look?

Very pretty. Brown skin.

♪ I guess I'll drown in my own tears ♪ Yeah, yeah.

Uh, oh, yeah, that's great. I really dig your sound.

Uh, what was your name again, sweetheart?

Oh, Mary Ann. Mary Ann Fisher.

Mary Ann Fisher.

Uh, Mary Ann, how would you feel ... if I asked you to sing a torch song with a gospel feel to it?

Well, Gospel's all about love anyway, isn't it?

Oh, yeah.

Would it make you feel like a sinner?

Well, Mr. Charles, I love the Lord, the Lord loves me.

But I ain't no hypocrite.

Hello. You know what? It's hard to fool me, but it's impossible to fool the Almighty, ain't it?

Why don't we rehearse the song a little bit?

Okay.

Boss, we got to go.

Go ahead. I'll be with you in a minute.

I just really feel your ... feel your spirit.

Boss, are you sure?

Let's go.

♪ It brings a tear ♪

♪ Into my eyes ♪

♪ When I begin ♪

♪ to realize ♪

♪ I've cried so much ♪

♪ Well, since you've been gone ♪

♪ I was drowning ♪

♪ In my own tears ♪ You're amazing.

So are you, baby. Uh, come sit next to me.

So, what do you think?

Ray, telephone.

Take a message.

It's Della Bea.

Damn it.

Uh, tell her I'm busy.

Come on, man, I ain't lying to Bea.

Uh-oh.

Is that the wife?

Shut up.

I-I'll be there in a second.

Don't mess with this junk, all right?

All it'll do is make you sick.

Does he have all his fingers and toes?

Yes, he does.

Can he, uh ...

Can he see?

Yes.

You want to hold him?

No, I can't.

Come on, Ray.

I wouldn't know what to do it right.

That's what you came here for.

Use this hand to hold his head.

Okay. Right there.

That's your daddy.

Yeah.

He ain't no bigger than a loaf of bread.

Thank you.

He's not my gift to you, Ray.

He's your son.

You know I'm gonna take care of both of you. You know that, right?

I love you.

I love you, too, Ray.

But there's something I got to say.

I know you're a musician, a working musician, but don't bring the road into our home again.

The home I'm making for you and our children.

Bea, I ... I promise I won't do that.

It ... It's just there's some things ...

No. Now, don't say no more.

I ain't no fool.

You know, you're the only woman I'll ever love.

Mama! Mama, help!

Mama, help! Mama, help, please!

I need you!

Mama, help!

Mama!


I hear you, too, Mama. You're right there.

Yeah, yes, I am.

Why are you crying, Mama?

'Cause I'm happy.

Hey, it's Uncle Jeff!

Got my camera!

Sarah! Sarah! Come on in.

Put the flowers right there behind them.

All right, big smiles, everybody. Big smiles.

♪ Hello Mary Ann ♪

♪ You know you sure look fine ♪

♪ Hello Mary Ann ♪

♪ You know you sure look fine ♪

♪ Hello Mary Ann ♪

♪ I could love you all the time ♪

♪ Oh Mary Ann ♪

♪ I say baby don't you know? ♪

♪ Oh Mary Ann ♪

♪ Well baby, don't you know? ♪

♪ Don't you know ♪

♪ that I love you so? ♪

♪ Oh, oh, oh ♪ Hi, Junior.

Come on, Ray, let's get this boy home so he can get something to eat.

I have those cookies you like.

♪ Oh Mary Ann ♪

♪ Can I take you home tonight? ♪ Boss, we try to make it through these cracker speed traps, we gonna be a little late.

Yeah, just stay within the limits.

All right.

Why don't we get that spot in Memphis, huh?

We could have our own place.

Baby, I'm not leaving Houston.

I bet she don't do this.

Oh, baby, hold on.

Goodbye don't mean gone, okay?

I'm not gonna leave my family.

Okay, baby, okay. No need to get sore.

How about we give me a little more to do in the show, huh?

How about a solo?

You just don't stop, do you?

Look, I'm going up to New York to do some publicity.

You take a week off and stay here, find some material, and when I get back, we can talk about it.

Okay. Okay.

Okay.

Ah, you know what, I dig New York, man.

It's like everybody here's making their own sound.

They loved it. Ray, they loved you.

We're gonna get the cover of Billboard.

You know what, I want to do a session while I'm here. How about tomorrow?

What, you got the band here?

Yeah. I've got the band here Step down.

Everybody except Mary Ann, because I need a different background.

You know what I'm sayin', I've been hearing this thing in my head, kind of like a dance between a man and three women.

Sounds fun. Can I watch?

It's a dance of voices, Ahmet.

W — What do you have in mind? Like three Mary Anns?

Oh, no, no, no. That's too smooth.

I need somethin' that ... that's more raw.

The Cookies.

What about The Cookies?

Yeah ... yeah, Cookies are sweet.

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪

♪ Get in trouble ♪

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪

♪ Get in trouble ♪

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪

♪ Get in trouble ♪

♪ Say you better leave my woman alone ♪

♪ Well, I know you are a playboy ♪

♪ And you've got women all over town ♪

♪ But, listen buddy, if you ever sweet-talk my little girl ♪

♪ I'm gonna lay your body down ♪

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪

♪ Get in trouble ♪

♪ You know you don't want ♪

♪ Oh yeah ♪

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪ Jesus, he's on fire, huh?

Maybe we should sign these girls up.

If I know Ray, we won't get a chance.

♪ You better leave ♪

♪ You better leave ♪

♪ Woman alone ♪

♪ Woman alone ♪

♪ I'm sayin' ♪

♪ Leave woman alone ♪

♪ You better leave ♪

♪ Woman alone ♪

♪ My woman alone ♪

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪

♪ Get in trouble ♪

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪

♪ Get in trouble ♪

♪ If you don't want you don't have to ♪

♪ Get in trouble ♪

♪ You better leave my woman alone ♪

♪ Woman alone ♪

♪ My woman alone ♪

It doesn't get any better than that, Ray.

Yeah, you know what, I love it!

We gonna put it out just like that.

You know, I never got a record in one take before!

You Cookies sound sweet. Mmm-hmm.

When it's happening, baby, I mean, it just feels right.

I know what you mean. I got the shivers in this studio tonight.

That's 'cause they ain't paid the heating bill.

I have a question for all of you:

How would you like to go on the road with me?

Wait ... wait. How, um, how much you gonna pay us?

You know, Ahmet takes care of all of that.

Oh, what, you mean he don't listen to you?

Yeah, you better know he does.

Look, don't worry about it. Brother Ray'll take care of all of you.

Well, my mama taught me to take care of myself, honey.

Is your mother here?

No, she's not, but I speak for us.

No, you don't.

Okay, Speak for Us, how about, uh, ahem, $20 a week?

$20 a week is good. We'll take $40. Each.

$40 each?

You heard me.

No, no, no. Uh, how about $25?

We'll take $30.

I better say yeah before you talk me out of my drawers.

$30 a week!

Uh, deal?

Oh! Yeah.

Oh! Margie, right? Yeah.

Well, look, Margie, from now on, you guys ... are going to be called: "The Raelettes".

Raelettes?

Does that mean we have to "Let Ray"?

Oh, Lord! What am I going to do with you?

I'm sure you'll think of somethin'.

$30 a week!

We're going to be The Raelettes!


Fathead, come on, you're on the clock.

Come on, Bob, you're late.

All right, hold on, Jeff. Listen up.

From now on, we're gonna sing, uh, four-part harmony.

Ethel, I want you to sing, uh, uh, alto.

Margie, you sing tenor. Pat, soprano, and Mary Ann, bass.

I ain't no bass. I'm a soprano.

I'll sing bass.

I mean, where we come from, we can sing anything.

Mmm-hmm.

We're talking about singing, sugar, not hog calling.

What?

Oh, that's cold.

Who are you calling a hog?

Well, if the corncob fits ...

You better shut your mouth before you get ...

Wait a minute! You stop now!

Hey, hey, hey! What is all the cackling for?

Mary Ann, sweetheart, I wrote something special for you: A solo.

A solo?

Yeah. C — Come on down here, let me play it for you.

♪ What kind of man are you? ♪

♪ Why do I love you so? ♪

♪ What kind of man are you? ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

♪ When you love me no more ♪ Ethel!

Ethel! Come here and see this new piano Ray got.

It's called a ... a ... a Wurlitzer.

A what?

You got to see this thing. It's out of sight.

Baby, I got your drink here for you.

Don't play that.

Oh, she ... she want me to play something else.

♪ What kind of man are you? ♪

♪ I just can't satisfy ♪

♪ What kind of man are you? ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ No matter how I try ♪ Oh! Oh! Oh!

We got some hell going on, gentlemen!

Now, this is a car. This is a car!

Looks like a damn Wieniemobile!

Lookie here!

Come on, let's take it for a spin!

Since I'm the boss, you got to let me drive.

Don't hit nothing, Ray.

♪ What Kind Of Man Are You? ♪

♪ I'm always left alone ♪

Ooh! You okay?

Yeah.

What room are you in?

69.

Ooh, honey, you are so nasty.

That's what I love about you.

No, seriously, what room are you in?

Uh, I'm in 626.

624.

Yeah.

Baby, I can't wait till we get to your room!

Here's 626. Right here.

Where's the key?

You have to get it.

I have to find it?

Is that it?

It might be.

Miss Mary Ann Fisher, ladies and gentlemen.

Wait till you see what I got in the goodie bag.

Goodie bag?

Gonna fly you to the moon, baby.

Let me get your hand, Ray.

There go three. That's for you.

I thought you was my friend, Fathead.

The weight is off.

Don't start with me, Ray.

The weight is off.

It ain't off.

When you get high, man, and you try to cop, those dealers spank your ass.

You gotta have more discipline.

You know what, man? I ain't messing up my high tonight, sitting here with you, arguing about nothin'.

Look, Fathead, just tie me off.

Come on, Fathead. Fat.

Take care of your bad self, you know so damn much.

Later, Margie.

Bye, Fathead.

Damn.

Ain't nothing free in this world but Jesus.

Hey, Margie.

Yeah? What do you want?

Do me a favor, sweetheart, and ... and pick that up for me.

You're going to have to get me off.

I'll do it, if you let me try some.

Shit. No, honey.

This ain't for no little girls.

I ain't no little girl!

I understand. It's just that this stuff ... will take you places that you don't want to go.

See, I want to share that with you.

Listen to me!

If I ever hear about you doing some drugs ... you're through, you hear me?

You believe that more than you believe in Jesus!

Don't say that, Ray.

Ray!

Ray, I watch your show every single night.

And every night is new to me.

Maybe because it's new to you.

It's like you live every single word ... and then you bend some crazy note, And damn if you don't break my heart.

You got genius, baby.

I just want to be a part of that.

Just want to be a part of that.

♪ You know the night time, darling ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Is the right time ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ To be ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ With the one you love, now ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Say now oh baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ When I come home baby, now ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ I want you to hold my hand ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Yeah, tight as you can ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ I know the night time ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Whoa, is the right time ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ To be with the one you love, now ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ You know what I'm thinking of ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Whoa! Sing your song, Margie ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Oh, baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Do I love you? ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ No one above you ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Hold me tight ♪ Look at him. Look at his knees shaking.

He's got that junkie itch.

♪ Because the night time ♪ He's totally hooked.

♪ Oh, is the right time ♪ Yeah, but listen to that sound. He's brilliant.

You can never trust a junkie, man.

What do you want me to do? Listen to him, man.

♪ I said baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Oh, baby ♪

♪ Night and day ♪ Happy birthday!

Happy birthday! Happy birthday, Ray!

You know what to do.

Take a deep breath. Go ahead.

He blow them out?

Every single one.

♪ I know the night time ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Everyday is the right time ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

♪ You know ♪

♪ Night and day ♪

You know what, I ... I just want to thank you so very much.

Please, uh, another round of applause for Miss Margie Hendricks.

Thank you so much, and good night.

Hey, you see what time it is?

What's the problem?

The problem is on the contract. That's the problem.

Ray! Ray! You still got 20 minutes left.

Okay, what you want to do?

That fool's holding us to every second of the contract.

Go ... go baby-sit him. I'll take care of it.

It's okay.

You know what, they say we got a little bit more work to do.

That was the last song in the book, Ray.

You know, Fathead, it ain't never the last song.

Now, band, follow me and do what I do, say what I say.

This is how we gonna do it.


♪ Hey mama, don't you treat me wrong ♪

♪ Come and love your daddy all night long ♪

♪ It's all right ♪

♪ Whoa, it's all right ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey, yeah ♪

♪ See the girl with the diamond ring ♪

♪ She knows how to shake that thing ♪

♪ Whoa, it's all right ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey, yeah ♪

That's what I'm talking about.

♪ Tell your mama, tell your pa ♪

♪ I'm gonna send you back to Arkansas ♪

♪ Oh yes, ma'am, you don't do right ♪

♪ Don't do right ♪

♪ What'd I say? ♪

♪ Tell me what'd I say ♪

♪ Tell me what'd I say ♪ Where can I get that record from?

I don't know. It doesn't exist yet.

I'll tell Ray he should record it.

♪ Oh, no ♪

♪ Mmm ♪

♪ Mmm ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ Eee ♪ ♪ Eee ♪

♪ Ooh ♪ ♪ Ooh ♪

♪ It's all right ♪

♪ Baby, it's all right ♪

♪ Baby, it's all right ♪

♪ Oh, it's all right ♪ ♪ Baby, it's all right ♪

♪ Mama, it's all right ♪

♪ Baby, it's all right ♪

♪ It's all right ♪

♪ It's all right ♪

♪ It's all right, now ♪

Yeah, that's it.

Oh, this is it.

I'm telling you, that is out of sight. That's a hit.

It's fantastic, Ray. But what the hell are we gonna do with this?

It's too damn long.

Every night we play this, man, we bring the house down.

I'm telling you, it's guaranteed.

Tom, cut the playback!

Come on out here.

♪ Baby, it's all right ♪ You know what, Ray, you're probably right.

I mean, I'm sure you're right.

I've never heard a sound like this before.

But how the hell are we gonna market this?

We could cut the second verse, pop back into the chorus.

Man, you cut that, I'll cut you in half.

All right, all right, Ray. Ahem.

We could, uh, split it up.

Do a Side A, Side B type of thing.

It's been done before. What the hell, right?

Yeah.

It's s-sexual.

It's just too damn sexual for kids.

Let's do it.

Yeah, baby! That's why I love y'all, man.

All right. What the hell? It's Atlantic, right?

Atlantic!

We'll release it in the summer.

There's less censorship, school's out.

The kids are ready to kick loose.

Ha, okay!

Tom, let's see if we can cut this pumpkin in two.

Show me what your genius is all about.

You got it, boss.

Yeah, that is it. You put one on Side A, put another on Side B.

Man, that sounds out of sight.

How you feeling, Ray?

I feel groovy, baby.

I'm talking about the junk. What?

It's starting to show.

You're scratching all the time.

You can't sit still.

Hey, man, have I ever missed a date?

No, you never have.

Who's the one who delivers a record in one take, hmm?

Ray, you deliver better than anybody I know ... but I'm not talking to you as a businessman.

Now come on, listen to me.

I'm worried about you.

As a friend, I'm telling you, man, your slip is hanging.

"Your slip is hanging."

You been hanging out with us country boys too much, man.

Uh, don't worry about this, man. If this monkey gets too heavy on my back, I'll get an organ grinder, man, and put him to work.

♪ One more time ♪

♪ One more time ♪ He's off the Chitlin' Circuit.

Down Beat voted him Best Male Jazz Vocalist by a 2-to-1 margin.

Well, if you want to keep him in Philadelphia, you're going to find him a bigger venue.

♪ Make me feel so good ♪ What'd I Say!

♪ Make me feel so good ♪

♪ Make me feel so good ♪

♪ Make me feel so good, yeah ♪ Forget second billing.

Ray Charles headlines at a thousand per or no deal.

♪ Make me feel so good, yeah ♪ Terrific.

♪ Make me feel so fine ♪

♪ Make me feel so fine ♪

♪ Make me feel so fine ♪

♪ Make me feel so fine ♪

♪ Baby, it's all right ♪

♪ Baby, it's all right ♪ Ray, I'm ... I'm having second thoughts about this.

I don't ... I don't know nobody in L.A.

Bea, I don't want my kids growing up in the South.

Now, L.A. Is where, you know, a Negro can spread his wings and fly.

Ray, my whole family's in Texas.

That's why we're moving to L.A.

Tell you what, Jeff, tell the boys they can go ahead ... and start their vacation right now.

All right, boss. Once I get you inside.

♪ Make me feel all right ♪ Look at that huge coconut tree!

That ain't no coconut tree, Della. That's a palm tree.

There's thousands of them.

Okay.

Here's the keys to your life, a brand-new life.

Oh, Ray.

Ray, this is too much.

Have you seen the dining room?

But, baby, it's October.

But you know what, I wanted to celebrate early, because the band is gonna be playing during the holidays.

You are unbelievable.

Look at your presents.

Baby, look at what Santa brought you.

You must have been good.

Go ahead! Christmas is early, baby!

Go get it.

What's he taken? A guitar.

A musician just like your daddy.

Can you play?

Hello?

What else you got?

What's that?

How'd you get this number?

How do you think I got it?

Put Ray on the phone.

Ray, telephone.

Deal with it, man.

Ray, it's important. Telephone.

I — I'll be right back.

All right.

Who is it?

It's Margie, man.

Junior, come ... come and help your mama change your brother's diaper.

I don't want to go.

I want to stay and open my presents.

All right, come on! I don't want to go.

I don't care. Don't let me tell you twice.

Hello. Hey, baby.

Surprise! I came to L.A. To surprise you.

Surprise me? Are you out of your mind?

I'm with my wife and my kids.

Well, on the road, I'm Mrs. Ray Charles.

That's on the road.

Yeah, but, baby, come on, I got everything set up for us.

Did you hear what I just said to you, huh?

Oh, wait a minute, baby, look, I got a bottle of Bols, and ...

Shut up. Shut up. Listen, we record in two weeks, okay?

I'll see you then.

Wait a minute, Ray! Bye.

Ray!

♪ One of these days, and it won't be long ♪

♪ You're gonna look for me ♪

♪ and I'll be gone ♪

♪ 'Cause I believe ♪

♪ I believe, yes ♪

♪ I say I believe right now ♪

♪ I believe ♪

♪ Yes I believe ♪

♪ Well I believe to my soul now ♪

♪ You're tryin' to make a fool of me ♪

♪ I believe, yes I believe ♪ Hold on, wait, wait.

Cut, cut, cut. You know, y'all know that sounds off.

Ahem, you know what, the three-part harmony is off.

Let's start it all over again, uh, from the top with the band.

♪ I believe it, I believe it ♪ Whoa, pardner! Uh, what was that?

I knew you'd like that, Ray. It's an eight-track. We just got it.

We can record each part separately.

Whoa, Nellie! You know, I can't wait to see that.

What's so funny?

Nothing, "pardner."

Margie's drunk. Jeff?

You should go home and sleep it off.

Margie, come on now, let me take you home.

No! I'll leave when I'm good and goddamn ready!

She's good and goddamn ready right now.

Why don't you make me leave this, sucker!

Teach you to treat me like some piece of meat!

I ain't shutting up!

Should we get in there? No.

Get them all out, right now.

You'll have to make me leave!

You know what, Jeff? Get all of them out of here.

You're a cold-ass bastard!

Let go of me, Jeff!

You're a cold-ass bastard, Ray!

See, he wouldn't spit on me if my ass was on fire!

Damn right I wouldn't.

Put me down, Jeff! Put me down! Damn it!

You dropped your shoe.

All right, come on, let's get back to work.

Tom, this is what I want you to do.

We'll lay my vocals down and finish the harmony parts.

Uh, how're we gonna do the harmonies, Ray?

You sent the girls home.

I know what I did with the girls. Let me take care of that.

You just turn that eight-track on, and I'll do the girls' parts myself.

And go out here somewhere and find me an "Oh, Johnny" girl.

Uh, one minute.

What the hell's an "Oh, Johnny" girl?

I think I've got an idea.

♪ Last night you were dreaming ♪

♪ and I heard you say ♪

♪ Oh, Johnny! ♪

♪ When you know my name is Ray ♪

♪ That's why I believe right now ♪

♪ I believe ♪

♪ Yes I believe ♪

♪ I say I believe right now ♪

♪ I believe ♪

♪ Yes I believe ♪ The sky's the limit, Ray.

I got you a $5,000-a-night raise.

They're gonna up you to 15 per.

Rehearsal in 10 minutes, guys.

Jeff, could you get me some cigarettes?

Okay, boss.

15 per, huh?

You know, Ray, your contract with ATLANTIC is expiring in four months.

Yeah.

Yeah, I've got the contract with me.

They're going to double my royalties.

Before we jump back in that pond, I thought I'd find out what else was out there.

I had a very productive chat with ABC-Paramount yesterday.

ABC? Who told you to do that, huh?

And you know, Atlantic is family, just like the Shaw Agency.

Ray, my job is to get you the best deal possible.

ABC is very interested.

No.

How interested?

How about a $50,000 advance each year for three years?

You produce your own records.

They'll deduct recording costs and give you ...

75 percent.

Ahmet and Jerry are flying in tonight, so will you put them off until I can talk things out with ABC?

Well, my mama said, ain't nothing wrong with talking.

Hey, enough of the formalities.

Come on, let's go back into the office, Ray.

I hope I can call you Ray.

I want you to be comfortable here.

Because I'll tell you something, everything is gonna be better at ABC.

Moving from an indie label to a major ... means you can sell a lot more records, as well as attract much larger crowds, both white and Negro.

Yeah, but Mr. Clark, you know, I've been at Atlantic for so long, I just want to give those guys a chance, you know, to at least match the offer.

Mm-hmm. Oh, certainly, certainly.

But, uh, I doubt they'll be able to.

We're giving you a state-of-the-art deal here.

Well, you know, since I'm producing my own records, I was wondering if I could ... uh, own my masters, too.

Well, Ray, we've ... we've never done that before.

No record company has.

Well, I think I'm going to have to have it that way for me to leave Atlantic Records.

Ahmet believes we're family here at Atlantic.

I believe we're family here at Atlantic.

Obviously, you don't!

Ahmet wouldn't believe it.

You know what he said, Ray?

He said you would never turn your back on us.

Never for a Schlockmeister like Sam Clark!

That's rich. Sam Clark's a corporate slug, who wouldn't know the difference between Earl Hines and Art Tatum!

We let you grow here, Ray.

And nobody's taking credit for your talent, but we nourished it.

We let you do your thing.

God damn it! We deserve better than this.

You know what, don't think that I don't appreciate ... everything you guys have done here, Jerry.

Ahmet, I'm very proud of the work that we've done here together.

But, Atlantic has done pretty good money-wise on my records, haven't they?

Yes, we've done very well, Ray.

You ... you were the ones that taught me that making a record is business, and find the best business deal you can.

Now, 75 cents of every dollar, and owning my own masters ... is a pretty damn good deal.

Can you match it?

Ray, we would love to match it, but we just can't.

That's a better deal than Sinatra gets.

I'm very proud of you.

Looks like those boys are going to get a taste of country dumb.

Yeah.

He'll be all right, man.

You guys always do find the best.

♪ Georgia ♪

♪ Georgia ♪

♪ The whole day through ♪

♪ The whole day through ♪

♪ Just an old sweet song ♪

♪ Keeps Georgia on my mind ♪

♪ Georgia on my mind ♪

♪ I said Georgia ♪

♪ Georgia ♪ Listen to that crap.

Thought you said that ABC wasn't going to force nothing on him.

They didn't.

It was Ray's idea.

Something new.

What are we then, Jeff? Something old?

Yeah, what about us? We got to eat, too.

♪ Other arms should reach out to me ♪

♪ Other eyes smile tenderly ♪

♪ Still in the peaceful dreams I see ♪

♪ The road leads back to you ♪

It's a hit record.

What the hell is wrong with that?

Critics say you've gone middle-of-the-road.

The orchestra, the choir, The Perry Como Show, man?

If I feel the music, that means it's real.

No, it ain't. Ray Charles is a sellout.

The blind Liberace, leaving those Rocking Chair roots behind.

Quincy Jones.

Can we get a picture of these two guys?

Six-nine! Hey, boy.

Look, here, uh, this interview is over.

I'd love to get you two together, man.

S-some other time.

Look at you. How's it going, man? You look good.

Let me look at you. You look good, too.

You hear what they're saying about me?

I just said that I ... I can't do it no more. I've gone middle-of-the-road.

So crank out another hit.

Let me tell you something, it ain't easy to keep on being greezy, kid.

Where you blow in from?

Paris.

Bonjour.

Yeah, man. France is where it's at.

Yeah, man. And all that stuff you've been playing, man, it's just ... it really feels out of sight.

You know, we gotta record something together.

I mean, people will really dig it.

So, where you going after the Festival?

Oh, I ... I go to D.C., Richmond, uh, Virginia, Georgia.

You know what, once you get the record out there, you gotta sell it.

The South, man?

I'm not doing that no more.

Hey, come on, kid, that's where the money is, baby.

You know, When I left Seattle with Hamp, we went down there, man.

And it felt like I walked into a prison cell.

You know, a black man is a "boy" in Mississippi, Ray.

Even if he's 80 years old.

I'm never playing to Jim Crow again. Ever.

If that's what you feel, baby.

I'm serious, Ray. Man, we gotta do something.

Well, you know, what ... what the hell, man.

You're just going to leave a lot more money on the table for me.

You're welcome to it, man.

You ready to work?

Work on what?

Get over here, you gotta help me with this.

Percy just sent me some new music.

You know what they're saying about me?

Said I've lost something, said I've gone middle-of-the-road.

They may as well say the same thing about you.

You were the soul of this band.

Now every time you're around, you're just drunk.

Drunk soul of a blind junkie.

What a lovely couple.

Why don't you just get out of here?

I ain't drunk, Ray.

I'm pregnant.

Yeah, that's right. I'm having your baby.

You ain't really ... You ... you can't do that.

I'm gonna have to talk to the doctor.

You gotta get rid of it.

My God!

What, because I'm not your precious Bea?

I'm not good enough to have this baby?

You lay up in my bed every night.

My bed!

I'm gonna have this baby, Ray.

No, Ray! No! Come on, come on. Come on, just listen.

Just listen to me.

You know I care about you, baby.

I won't let nothing happen to you. I'll pay for everything.

No!

It's gonna cost you more than money.

I want you to leave her, Ray. Come and be with our baby.

You out of your damn mind. You knew the rules when you got into this.

You know goddamn well I ain't gonna leave my family.

Leave your family?

You are a damn fool, you know that?

Between the dope and the music and me, you already done left your damn family!

You know what the sad part about it is, Ray, you don't even know it.

You know what?

From now on, it's strictly business between you and me.

Yeah, that's it. That's it. Keep that anger.

♪ Hit the road, Jack ♪

♪ And don't you come back no more ♪

♪ no more, no more, no more ♪

♪ Hit the road, Jack ♪

♪ and don't you come back no more ♪

♪ You ain't right, hit the road Jack ♪

♪ Don't you come back no more ♪

♪ no more, no more, no more ♪

♪ Hit the road, Jack ♪

♪ and don't come back no more ♪

♪ What you sayin'? ♪

♪ Hit the road Jack ♪

♪ And don't come back no more ♪

♪ no more, no more, no more ♪

♪ Hit the road Jack ♪

♪ And don't you come back no more ♪

♪ Now baby, listen baby ♪

♪ don't-a treat me this-a way ♪

♪ For I'll be back on my feet some day ♪

♪ Don't care if you do 'cause it's understood ♪

♪ You ain't got no money, you just ain't no good ♪

♪ Well, I guess if you say so ♪

♪ I'd have to pack my things and go ♪

♪ That's right ♪

♪ Hit the road, Jack ♪

♪ And don't you come back no more ♪

♪ no more, no more, no more ♪

♪ Hit the road Jack ♪

♪ And don't you come back no more ♪

♪ What you sayin'? ♪ Hey, Ray, it's Sam.

Can you hear me? It's Sam!

Yeah, hey, Hit the Road is our second number one.

Yeah. ABC is taking out ads in all the trades.

Yeah, oh, and congrats on your Grammy nomination.

No, no, no I know you're going to win.

Hey, you feeling all right?

Well, come on, baby, be happy. You're doing good.

Thank you, Sam.

I really am happy about that.

Yeah.

I'll stop by Jeff's room and get my money on my way out.

Ray.

Margie, you ain't gotta leave, baby.

I'm on your hit record.

If I'm ever going to go solo, then now's the time.

Yeah, I ... I don't want you ...

I don't want you to go solo.

Ray, for once, I'm doing something for me.

You remember the hummingbird, right?

What?

The hummingbird, Bea.

And I don't want you to go.

Somebody will fetch you ... when your bus gets to St. Augustine.

And when you get there, show them this sign, and tell them you're name is Ray Charles Robinson.

And them sandwiches I made, don't eat 'em all at once. You hear?

Oh, please, don't make me go away.

I'll keep up with the normal kids.

I'll be good, just like George.

This ain't got nothing to do with George.

I've taken you as far as I can, baby.

Them teachers at that blind school, they can teach you things I can't.

And you need an education in this world.

I don't want no education!

Don't say that!

I don't! I want to stay with you!

Stop it, Ray!

I won't have you living hand-to-mouth like me, you hear?

Now listen, if you want to do something to make your mama proud, promise me, promise me you'll never let nobody turn you into no cripple.

You won't become no charity case.

You'll stand on your own two feet.

I promise.

I love you, baby.

I'm so proud of you.

No more segregation!

No more segregation! No more segregation!

No more segregation! No more segregation!

No more segregation! No more segregation!

No more segregation! No more segregation!

No more segregation! No more segregation!

Welcome back to Augusta, Ray!

Hey, good to see you.

No more segregation! No more segregation!

Do you believe in the protest, Ray?

Get out of here!

Ray, I'm sorry about this. Hurry on up inside.

We got refreshments waiting.

Mr. Charles! Mr. Charles!

You know tonight's show is segregated?

The dance floor is whites only.

Negroes can't leave the balcony.

That's how it is, man. You know, this is Georgia.

You think we don't know that?

Negroes are persecuted in this state every day!

Ain't nothing I can do about that.

I'm an entertainer. And ... and we all gotta play Jim Crow down here.

I'm sorry, man. Now get out of here, boy.

It doesn't have to be that way.

You could change things, right here and now!

I'm sorry, son. Ain't nothing I can do.

You hear that, boy? That's the way things are.

Ain't nothing or nobody can change it.

Now get your black ass out of here, and take that trash with you!

Hold on ... hold on. He ... he's right. He's right, Jeff.

Get them on the bus.

You sure?

Get them back on the bus!

Y'all heard him! Y'all heard Ray!

Back on the bus!

Are you serious?

Get them on the bus.

I can't do nothing here.

Ray, you know me.

I'm not gonna lose money just because you suddenly got religion.

Ain't nothing I can do, man.

We have a contract with me. You break it, I'll sue your ass!

I'll win, Ray! You gotta do what you gotta do.

Look, I'll win big!

Do what you gotta do.

I told you, I'll own your ass, Ray!

Thank you, Mr. Charles.

You could be the first.

No, thank you, son. You were right.

You're right.

You'll never work Georgia again!

He filed a lawsuit and it's more than a fine, Ray.

This guy's got juice. He can get you barred from ever playing Georgia again.

But he's willing to drop the suit if you'll make up the gig.

Not if it's segregated.

Ray, I admire what you're doing, man, but you can't afford this.

Georgia is our highest-grossing state.

I'm not playing any more to Jim Crow joints ever again, did you got that?

Yeah. I got it.

Jeff, get those people in here so we can rehearse.

Com on, y'all, let's go.

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Baby, let me be ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ 'Cause you don't care about me ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Why lead me through a life of misery ♪

♪ When you don't care a bag of beans for me ♪

♪ So unchain my heart oh please, please set me free ♪

Now, go ahead and dance!

Let's dance, everybody!

Come on!

Let's dance now!

Charles, you okay?

Yeah. What's going on?

Just kids onstage dancing.

Well, let them dance. That's what they're here for.

Please don't hurt them! Just keep dancing!

Keep going! Keep going!

♪ I'm under your spell ♪

♪ Like a man in a trance ♪

♪ But I know darn well ♪

♪ That I don't stand a chance ♪

♪ So unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Let me go my way ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ You worry me night and day ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Why lead me through a life of misery ♪

♪ When you don't care a bag of beans for me ♪

♪ So unchain my heart, oh please, please set me free ♪

♪ Please set me free ♪

♪ Oh won't you set me free ♪

♪ Please set me free ♪

♪ Whoa, set me free ♪

♪ Please set me free ♪ Mr. Charles, it's Western Union!

We have a telegram for you.

You have to sign for it, sir.

I'm coming.

Indianapolis police. Got a report of loud music coming from here.

Where do you think you're going, pal?

I'm just going to the bathroom.

Handcuff this son of a bitch.

Recognize this, Ray? Heroin's a felony.

It ain't like I'm dealing it, man.

I'm not hurting nobody.

Oh, no, you're hurting everybody.

Your jungle music is poisoning our kids' minds.

Hey, I'm gonna put your black ass away forever.

You have to understand. I got ... I got a wife, I got kids.

I got responsibilities.

Why don't you tell that story to these people.

Bring them in!

Ray! Was it a setup, Ray?

How long you been on heroin?

Come on, Ray.

What did they charge you with?

♪ You give your hand to me ♪

♪ And then you say, hello ♪

♪ And I can hardly speak ♪

♪ My heart is beating so ♪

♪ And anyone can tell ♪

♪ You think you know me well ♪

♪ But you, you don't know me at all ♪ Hi, baby.

David.

Uh, uh, Bea, he can stay.

No. Baby, come on.

Bea? What?

You know, since I got back ...

Since you got out.

Yeah.

Well, since I got here, you haven't said more than two words to me.

Ray, what am I supposed to say?

My words don't seem to mean much to you anymore.

Maybe they never did.

Come on, Bea, you ... you know I love you.

Are you gonna stop then?

You know what, Bea, what you don't understand is ... there's a lot of mean-spirited people out there.

Yeah.

Ray?

You know, I had to bring Junior home from school today ...

'cause of what the other kids were sayin'.

They got mean-ass kids around here.

I think we should move to Beverly Hills.

No, no, Ray, we're not gonna move.

'Cause it ... it's not about where we live, Ray.

It's about what you're doing to yourself.

And those boys worship you.

You want them to end up using that poison, too?

Bea, that's not fair.

What's not fair? What's not fair, Ray?

That ... that's a low blow.

Hello?

Don't jive me, Milt. Don't jive me, man!

Really?

Ah, good, good, good. Tell ... tell Sam I said thank you.

All right. All right, then.

Oh, yeah!

What, Ray? What? Come on, now.

Ray, tell me what happened.

ABC got the case dropped.

The police didn't have a warrant.

They bought them off.

Damn it, Bea, do you want me to go to prison?

No. Ray, I want you to stop lying to yourself, and they are making that completely impossible.

You know what, you don't understand.

Then make me understand, Ray!

Baby, when I walk out that door, I walk out alone in the dark!

I'm trying to do something ... that ain't nobody ever done in music and business.

But I can't do it if I'm alone everywhere I go.

I don't want to be alone here, Bea.

Not in my own home.

Look, Bea, if you don't understand me, then who will?

I don't know, Ray.

David? I'm coming!

Mama's coming!

Ray, we pull you out of the fire, and you want country music?

Look here, I've been singing country music all my life.

As a matter of fact, I used to play with the Florida Playboys.

We made a big investment in you ... and it's paying off handsomely.

For both of us, I might add.

We don't want to lose your fan base.

Yeah, you know, you got a point there, but I actually think that we have more to gain than we do to lose.

Ray, it's a bad idea.

When I came to ABC, you guys put in the contract ... that I can choose my own music.

You want to read that paragraph?

It's on page three.

I don't need to see it.

Good evening, Saint Louis.

It's time for the main attraction.

The innovator of soul. The genius himself.

Ray Charles!

Go on, go on, Ray!

Thank you so much.

You know what, I know that a lot of y'all don't know that ...

I ... I was brought up in the South.

You know, every time you turn on the radio there in the South, you hear the Grand Ole Opry.

That's what I grew up singing, so I hope you don't mind, I ... I want to sing something to give you a taste of my country roots.

"Unchain My Heart!"

"Georgia on My Mind, Ray!"

♪ I can't stop loving you ♪ Turn 'em, the lights up top and on the mezzanine, let's take everything down and hit Ray with a follow spot.

We're doing it, on it on my count.

♪ To live in memory ♪ In 5, 4 ...

♪ of the lonesome times ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ I can't stop wanting you ♪

♪ It's useless to say ♪

♪ So I'll just live my life ♪

♪ I'll live my life ♪

♪ in dreams of yesterday ♪

♪ Those happy hours ♪

♪ Those happy hours ♪

♪ that we once knew ♪ Cab's here.

Okay.

Dad, if you can't see, how can you choose the right color socks?

I'm ... I'm gonna show you, all right?

Let me show you something.

See? Right here?

The two, right there, I got it sewn in thick, so I can feel it.

So, it means two is brown.

One is black. Three is blue.

And ... and ... and where's four?

Nowhere.

Four ain't nowhere. There ain't no four. You're right.

♪ Heals a broken heart ♪

♪ But time has stood still ♪

♪ Time has stood still ♪

♪ Since we've been apart ♪

♪ Since we've been apart ♪

Still working on the balcony.

Okay, guys, we got 10 minutes to load out!

Change back at the hotel.

They bought that country jive hook, line and sinker.

Ray, man, you're amazing.

I'm gonna tell you something. Country music. You know why they like it?

The stories, man. They got great stories.

Hey, Joe.

Ray, I want to introduce you to Joe Adams. Hal Ziegler hired Joe ... as the announcer for the rest of the tour.

I know you, Mayor of Melody.

I used to listen to your radio show in L.A. In the '50s.

We've both come a ways since then.

What was that counting you were doing back there?

I was cueing down the lights. That shuts up the audience ... so you can sing your ballad instead of having to scream it.

Hey, well, I'll be damned. Who told you to do that?

No one. It just needed to be done.

See, that's what I'm talking about.

I like to hear a person say "It needed to be done" ... as opposed to a person saying, "It ain't my job."

Well, You know ...

You know, tell me about Central Avenue.

I know you know Jack Lauderdale.

Hello, New York!

Hello, Boston!

Hello, Saint Louis!

Good evening, San Francisco!

♪ Bye bye love ♪

♪ Bye bye happiness ♪ Ray, I got some good news for you.

We got the cover of Cash Box.

The nation's hottest album: "Modern Sounds of Country & Western."

Man, you are hotter than hell.

That's what they say.

I've been watchin', your albums are going through the roof, your concerts are always selling out.

You'll need shelters for your money.

You're in a new tax bracket.

Keep your drawers on, Fathead! I got the instruments!

Jeff, Joe was in the film Carmen Jones.

Who was the director again?

Otto Preminger.

He was also on Broadway with Lena Horne.

She was the star. I was supporting.

Is that a fact?

Prepare for an extraordinary evening of music.

Perhaps the most innovative, unique ... and energetic musical voice today.

Please welcome to the stage ...

It is my distinct pleasure ...

Please give your warmest welcome, the one-of-a-kind ...

I present Mr. Ray ...

Ray ... Ray Charles!

♪ Bye bye love ♪

♪ Bye bye sweet caress ♪

♪ Hello emptiness ♪

♪ I think I'm gonna die ♪

♪ Bye bye love ♪

♪ I think I'm gonna die ♪

♪ I think I'm gonna die ♪

... Ray Charles!

♪ I think I'm gonna die ♪

♪ I think I'm gonna die ♪ Bea, there's a park right at the end of the street.

You can see the whole L.A. Basin from there.

Not even Beverly Hills has views like that.

How does it look, Bea, huh? You like it, don't you?

I don't know. I haven't seen it.

You got to like it.

Voilà.

This foyer is designed to impress anybody who walks through the door.

It has a big winding staircase, just like "Gone With the Wind".

We should get our portraits painted, like Rhett and Scarlett.

Bea, bring him on in here.

Ray, wait till you hear what's waiting in the living room.

What is it?

I had them build you a solid marble fireplace, two stories high.

Hot damn! How do you like it, Bea?

It's awful big.

It sure is: 8,500 square feet.

Biggest house in the neighborhood.

So, does this meet with your approval?

Man, this is a palace.

You think this is big? Wait until tomorrow when you see ...

30,000 square feet of RPM Incorporated.

Yeah, headquarters!

This is it, Ray. Your brand-new recording studio.

Did you get everything I asked for?

Totally state-of-the-art.

Tom Dowd built an eight-track mixing console, two recorders, the works.

Now, this room is bigger than most people's houses.

Got your own private bathroom to your left. - Good.

Right behind you is my adjoining office.

And step over to your private bar to your left.

Got a bottle of Bols right in the center.

You know me pretty good.

If you run out, shout, I'm right next door.

This is nice, right here.

It's the house that Ray built.

Yes, it is.

♪ Born to lose ♪

♪ I've lived my life in vain ♪

Ray Junior, slow down!

This ain't no baseball diamond!

Charles residence.

Mr. Charles?

Hey, girl, Bring that boy over here!

I got a hot dog with his name on it! Come on, now.

Hello.

Uh, yes, I know who you are.

What? Oh, God, no.

Ray.

Yes, I'll get on a plane and I'll be there as soon as I can.

What happened?

Margie's dead.

Oh, God! H-How?

She overdosed.

I didn't start her, Bea.

I didn't let her do dope around me.

I ... I just wouldn't let that happen.

Yes, I'm sure, Ray. I'm sure you set a fine example.

What about her baby?

You knew?

His name is Charles Wayne.

He was born October 1, in New York City. He's 3 years old.

The baby's fine.

He's at her sister's.

All right. I'll start sending them some money.

You don't have to. I send them money every month.


In five minutes, Mr. Charles will be here, and he'll be ready to go.

Now the charts Jeff is handing out ... should be turned in at the conclusion of ...

You're late, that's a $50 fine.

I ain't late.

I give them a 10-minute grace period, Joe.

Five minutes after two. He's late. He'll be charged $50.

What? You know what? Where's Ray?

You don't have to talk to Ray, you're talking to me.

I'll talk to whoever I damn well please, and it sure as hell ain't you.

Jive jerk.

Hey, Ray, this fool Joe Adams is trying to fine me for being late.

What time did you get here?

What? Just now. The band's still setting up.

Jeff don't ... Look, I'm not Jeff.

That's a fact, Jack!

Ray, you said the band was my thing.

It is.

Then, Fathead, you go on back to rehearsal.

Ray.

Ray, you know how it is, you've been there.

Fathead, go on now. Let me handle this.

Fathead, go on now.

You want to tell me what the hell is going on, Ray?

I'm not doing anything I haven't been asked to.

Ray's running a business.

He shouldn't have to waste time hearing why people were late.

I'm not talking to you, Joe.

I'm talking to Ray.

Ray, now I know you think I'm soft on the band, but those cats would do whatever I ask.

But If you come in here with this, uh, "running a business" crap, you're gonna lose some good people. I'm telling you, Ray.

There are musicians waiting in line to play with Ray Charles.

Not for long, once they get a taste of you.

Ray, you're the leader, man. Be one! Come on, now.

You now what Jeff, I mean things have changed.

It ain't like the days when it was seven of us on the Chitlin' Circuit.

I mean, if you weren't busy building a bowling alley, you'd seen that.

So you know about that, huh?

I know about everything.

I'm just trying to figure out how you did it.

You think I'm stealing from you, Ray?

If the Shaw Agency is gonna give you a cut of the 10% I'm given them.

I might as well keep the goddamn money in my pocket.

Leave us alone. We need to talk.

Ray.

You can step outside, Joe.

I'll be in my office.

Ray, now I know that jealous bastard planted that lie in your head.

But I have never stolen from you, Ray, and I never will.

I got a small business loan, and, yeah, Milt Shaw was giving me a little extra, but I'm not a thief, Ray.

Then what about that, Jeff, huh?

A promoter swearing you did side deals with him so you could split my overages!

How could you do that to me?

We've been through so much, we be so like brothers.

You know what, Ray?

If we were like brothers, why are you paying Joe more than you're paying me?

Damn all that! You broke my heart, man.

Well, you know what, Ray? You broke mine a long goddamn time ago!

Well, then there it is.

You know something, Ray?

You're going to get yours one day.

And I pray to God that he has mercy on your soul, you son of a bitch!

Everything all right, Ray?

How the hell do you think it is?

Go tell him. Go tell him! Go, go tell him.

Hey, Dad. Hi, there.

I made the all-star team! The game's on Thursday.

Oh, that's great.

Oh, damn! I'm not gonna be in town. I'm gotta go on tour.

How about I buy you guys new uniforms, huh?

Tell the coach I don't care how much they cost.

Okay.

All right, son, you want to take your dad's briefcase inside.

The plane to Montreal leaves at 11:00. I'll pick you up at 8:30.

All right.

Did you hear what Ray Junior said to you?

Yeah.

Do you know how much making the all-star team means to him?

I know. I got things on my mind. We had to fire Jeff.

What?

He was stealing.

Jeff? Hmm.

I don't believe it.

Yeah, well, we're better without him.

♪ My mother told me ♪

♪ 'Fore she passed away ♪

♪ Said son when I'm gone ♪

♪ Don't forget to pray ♪

♪ 'Cause there'll be hard times ♪

♪ Hard times ♪

♪ Oh, yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Who knows better than I ♪


Excuse me! Get 'em out!

U.S. Customs!

We're goanna need to see some identification, please.

You just arrived from Montreal?

Yes. Is there a problem?

We were alerted there might be drugs on this plane.

What? That's outrageous! I'm going to call our lawyer.

No lawyers at international checkpoints.

Now, we're going to have to search everyone on this plane.

Mr. Charles, if you don't mind we'd like to start with you.

I'd like to see your overcoat.

I don't mind.

Don't say anything, Ray.

What's this?

Ray, this isn't some judge in Indiana.

It's federal. They can charge you with smuggling ... which can mean real prison time.

Our lawyers will do what they can, but ...

Hello.

You can't hide out in here forever, Ray.

Look, it's my house. I'm not in prison yet.

No, it's my house.

You ain't been here more than six days since we moved in.

No, Ray, no! A needle ain't gonna solve this!

Get out of the way. Move!

Only thing that can help you is God, Ray.

Don't think of God? Do you have any idea how it feels to go blind ... and still be afraid of the dark?

And every day, you stand pray for just a little light, and you get nothing.

'Cause God don't listen to people like me.

Stop talking like that.

As far as I'm concerned, me and God is even and I do what I please.

If goddamn it, if I want to shoot up, I shoot up.

Then go ahead! But you walk out that door ... and I'm doing something I should have done a long time ago.

I'm taking my boys and I'll leave.

You're not going away. You ... you have no place to go.

No place? No.

You think I'm scared of losing this?

Ray, the only thing I was ever scared of losing was you.

Because where was I ever gonna find another Ray Robinson?

So I put up with some terrible stuff.

Maybe that makes me part to blame.

But I ain't scared no more.

You know I love you and those boys more than anything.

That is a damn lie and you know it!

You ever look at this?

Really look at it, Ray!

Ray Charles Junior's "Most Valuable Player."

He was so proud this day, until you came home too loaded to go to his banquet.

No! No! There is something you love more than me and them boys, more than all the women you ever slept with on the road, more than all the dope you ever took.

What are you talking about? Your music.

And if you don't stop using that needle, they're gonna take away your music and put you in jail.

Is that poison worth losing everything?


Mr. Charles?

Mr. Charles.

You don't have to go through this.

We have a substitute that can help wean you off heroin.

I have to do it on my own. I can do it. I can do it.

Ah. Don't touch me.

All right.

We'll do it your way.

Doctor?

Mr. Charles. Mr. Charles, I'm coming.

He's got no fluids left.

Get an I.V. in him right away.

I'll insert the needle. No needles.

Yes. It's very important. You need this.

Runner, I've got a runner!

Whoa.

Let me go. Let me go. Get him on the bed.

Put those restraints on him.

No needles.

No, no.

Oh.

George, I miss you. I miss you, George.

I miss you.

Oh.

Okay. Uh-oh.

You might be in trouble right there, Doc.

Hot damn, you whupped my ass again!

I — I'll tell you what, I won't lose again the same way twice.

I spoke with the judge in Boston, and he'll agree to probation.

He was impressed with your attorney's arguments, and he believes you deserve one more chance.

Oh, that's great.

But you must complete our program ... and agree to take periodic drug tests.

You know what. I'll do it. I know people don't believe ...

I'm done with this dope, but I'm finished.

Who's George?

Ray, you've come through the worst of the physical reactions.

We should begin psychotherapy sessions.

Uh, look, forget the head shrinking, Doc.

I can handle this.

Mr. Charles, you're not the first celebrity junkie I've treated.

Junkie? What ...

Nobody cons me at any price.

I'm not trying to do that.

If you want me to give that judge a positive report, you will have to earn it.

Doc?

Dr. Hacker?

Doc?


Ray, come on, Ray, play with me!

He ain't there.

Talk to me, son.

I ain't no bad dream. I'm a part of you.

Even all that dope couldn't keep me away.

Mama, I kept my promise.

You got strong all right.

Went places I never dreamed of.

But you still became a cripple.

Come here, baby. Come here.

Ray?

It wasn't your fault.

Now promise us ... you'll never let nobody or nothing ... turn you into no cripple ever again.

That you'll always stand on your own two feet.

Promise.


Today we're here to right a wrong ... that was done to one of our native sons nearly 20 years ago.

In 1961, Ray Charles was banned from performing in the state of Georgia ... because he refused to play before a segregated audience.

Thankfully, we've come a long way since then.

Some of us have fought for equality through the political process, but Ray Charles changed American culture by touching people's hearts.

So on this day, March 7, 1979, we, the duly elected representatives of the State of Georgia ... not only proclaim "Georgia on My Mind" our official state song, we also offer Mr. Ray Charles a public apology ... and welcome him back home.

♪v Every time I sing this song ♪

If only your mama was here.

She's here.

She ain't never left.

♪ I sing for ♪

♪ Georgia ♪

♪ Whoa, Georgia ♪

♪ The whole day through ♪

♪ Just this old, sweet song ♪

♪ Keeps Georgia on my mind ♪

♪ Georgia ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, Georgia ♪

♪ A song of you ♪

♪ Comes as sweet and clear ♪

♪ as moonlight through the pines ♪

♪ I feel that ♪

♪ Other arms ♪

♪ reach out to me ♪

♪ Other eyes ♪

♪ smile ♪

♪ tenderly ♪

♪ Well, all right now ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Don't you know? ♪

♪ Still in peaceful dreams ♪

♪ I see a busy road ♪

♪ The road leads back to you ♪

♪ Oh, Georgia ♪

♪ No peace I find ♪

♪ Please stop by ♪

♪ Don't you hear me now? ♪

♪ Just this old, sweet song ♪

♪ I say, oh, I say ♪

♪ Keeps Georgia on my mind ♪

♪ On my mind ♪

♪ On my mind ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Keeps Georgia ♪

♪ On my mind ♪

♪ You know that the little girls are on my mind, huh? ♪

♪ Yes, it did, now, yeah ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Baby, let me be ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ 'Cause you don't care about me ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ You've got me sewed up like a pillow case ♪

♪ But you let my love go to waste ♪

♪ So unchain my heart, oh please, please set me free ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Baby, let me go ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ 'cause you don't love me no more ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Every time I call you on the phone ♪

♪ Some fella tells me that you're not at home ♪

♪ So unchain my heart, oh please, please set me free ♪


♪ I'm under your spell ♪

♪ I'm under your spell ♪

♪ Like a man in a trance ♪

♪ Like a man in a trance ♪

♪ But I know darn well ♪

♪ I know darn well ♪

♪ that I don't stand a chance ♪

♪ I don't stand a chance ♪

♪ So, unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Let me go my way ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ You worry me night and day ♪

♪ Unchain my heart ♪

♪ Why lead me through a life of misery ♪

♪ When you don't care a bag of beans for me ♪

♪ So unchain my heart, please, please set me free ♪

♪ Please set me free ♪

♪ Oh, won't you set me free ♪

♪ Please set me free ♪

♪ Whoa, set me free ♪

♪ Please set me free ♪

♪ Wow, set me free ♪