Good piece about Willie Nelson but a reminder: Ray Charles also had to have some guts in the '50s when he covered "Georgia on My Mind," which had been a big hit 25 years earlier for its composer Hoagy Carmichael, who was no slouch at singing, piano playing and songwriting.

The song also had been recorded beautifully in 1931 by Mildred Bailey, including the song's interesting verse. Way too many folks have forgotten Bailey, who was a really solid jazz singer who exerted a tremendous influence on Ella Fitzgerald and also influenced Billie Holiday and Rosemary Clooney. Bailey took the '20s singing of Lee Wiley and Annette Hanshaw to the next level in the '30s.

Larry Rand


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