Ray Charles – Lonely Avenue

A perfect expression of what it must feel like to be alone and bereft after the love of your life has walked out. The opening lines set the scene from which there’s no let up: “Now my room has got two windows/but the sunshine never comes through”. Alone, the lyrics would do a good job of capturing that real sense of loss.

What lifts it – or, rather, what brings it right down – to levels of utter desolation, however, is Charles’ brilliant singing. Stuttering and breathy and uncertain but also precise and measured, like a man who’s gone over his misfortune many times. And there he is, alone in his desperate room, singing to the walls with only the sympathetic voices in his head (“hmm hmm”) keeping him company.

It’s a fabulous song (from the great Doc Pomus) brought to life by an incredibly astute performance.

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About Paul Saxton

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