Skip to main content

St. Paul and the Broken Bones: Five Essential Ray Charles...

Paul Janeway (front) and his bandmates of St. Paul and the Broken Bones (photo by David McClister, PR)

Paul Janeway (front) and his bandmates of St. Paul and the Broken Bones (photo by David McClister, PR)

by

The octet St. Paul and the Broken Bones has a crafty way of writing Stax-and-Motown sweetened, retro-soul songs, like the fervent "All I Ever Wonder," but the band is no nostalgia act.

Over the course of two albums, 2016's Sea of Noise and 2014's Half the City, charismatic frontman Paul Janeway and his seven bandmates have deftly looked back while leaping forward, taking an effusive, fresh look at a vintage sound first laid down by musicians like Otis Redding, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and this week's FUV Essentials artist, Ray Charles. And like Charles, born in Georgia, St. Paul and the Broken Bones hail from the South — Birmingham, Alabama.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones are touring the UK and Europe over the winter of 2017, but Janeway found the time to give us his picks of "Five Essential Ray Charles Songs:"

"You Don’t Know Me," Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
I always love great string arrangements with soulful music. Ray did that best I think. 

"Drown in My Own Tears," Ray Charles in Person (1960)
I remember first hearing this song when I was young. I just heard the heartbreak and sadness. It changes you when you hear song like this.

"Mess Around," Ray Charles (1957) and Hallelujah I Love Her So (1962)
I just love how the piano moves like a speeding train at the beginning of the song. If this doesn’t get your foot tapping you just don’t like music.

"Hallelujah I Love Her So," Ray Charles (1957) and Hallelujah I Love Her So (1962)
This is definitely a situation where you just change Jesus for baby and then you have now a proper R&B song. There is definitely some heavy gospel influence on this one.

"That Lucky Old Sun," Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul (1963)
Al Gamble (our keys player) and I were discussing this song while chatting about Ray Charles. I think Al is right this is the best version of this song out there. Ray just kills it.

- Paul Janeway of St. Paul and the Broken Bones
February 2017

Read all of FUV's Five Essential Albums and Songs.

More:

WATCH