Offered for sale is an early (and possibly original) French mono pressing of Soul Brothers by Ray Charles and Milt Jackson, featuring a completely different cover from the American release.
Soul Brothers is an oddity in the Ray Charles catalog. It’s one of his few early collaborations, it’s an all-instrumental LP, and it’s one of the rare albums where he plays saxophone. In this outing, he’s paired up with vibe player Milt Jackson from the Modern Jazz Quartet, though Jackson also plays guitar.
It’s a terrific record, and one that tends to get overlooked in the long discographies of both Charles and Jackson.
This one is a real historical curiosity. Not only does vibraphonist Milt Jackson double here on piano but he plays guitar (for the only time on record) during “Bags’ Guitar Blues.” In addition Ray Charles is heard in a purely instrumental role on piano and, during two songs, on alto sax. Charles’s fine playing makes one wonder why he so rarely picked up the horn in later years. Billy Mitchell contributes some fine tenor solos on this boppish/blues material and guitarist Skeeter Best, bassist Oscar Pettiford and (MJQ) drummer Connie Kay offer stellar support.
About this copy: This copy is an early, and possibly original mono pressing from France. While this album was originally issued in the United States in 1957, the label is the red and purple “bullseye” style that was used on American pressings only in 1959. Other countries, notably Japan, used this label design as late as 1962.
So, this album is a French pressing, circa 1959-1960 and it may or may not be the first issue. It features a unique cover with a completely different photo from the one used on the American issue.
The UK-style flipback cover is VG+, with just a bit of ring wear on the back. The disc is VG+. It’s been well cared for and looks almost M- at first glance, but it does have a few minor scuffs on it. There are a number of spindle marks on the first side. The original wax paper-style inner sleeve is included.
A nice variation on a terrific instrumental LP and the only copy of this issue that we’ve ever seen.