Johnny Cash and Ray Charles’ lost duet being released


Christmas has come early for those of you who like their music of the vintage variety. A “lost” duet between two of the biggest names in music history, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, has been unearthed after lying undiscovered in a New York City storage facility for almost three decades.

The duo performed together on the Kris Kristofferson-penned “Why Me, Lord?” back in 1981 (the song was a No. 1 hit for Kristofferson back in 1973) with Cash on lead vocals and Charles on backing vocals. The track was intended for release on an album around the time of the recording but was eventually dropped from the final tracklist, before being forgotten. That was, until know.

Ray Charles Foundation President Valerie Ervin discovered the master tape of the recording after doing detective work that would make Bunk and McNulty proud. In May, Ervin discovered some correspondence between the musical heavyweights, with Cash saying in the first of two letters to Charles that he was “so proud when I tell people that I have recorded a song with you” before going on to concede that the “orchestration isn’t big and I don’t sing very good” (via CBC News). Incredible to think of Johnny Cash not singing good, isn’t it?

Cash also confirms in the initial letter that he’d like to release the duet as part of an upcoming album, but the track never made it onto any release. A second letter confirmed which song the pair had worked together on as well as the name of the producer, Billy Sherrill. With the hunt now on, Ervin determined to find the missing track and after some digging, unearthed it at the New York City storage facility.

And yes, Cash will be sharing his discovery with the rest of us. The track is forming part of the Ray Charles collection Rare Genuis: The Undiscovered Matters, which is due to be released on October 26th via Concord Records.

Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters Tracklist:
01. Love’s Gonna Bite You Back
02. It Hurts To Be In Love
03. Wheel of Fortune
04. I’m Gonna Keep On Singin’
05. There’ll Be Some Changes Made
06. Isn’t It Wonderful
07. I Don’t Want No One But You
08. A Little Bitty Tear
09. She’s Gone
10. Why Me, Lord?