Ray Charles & Larry Buford

Ray Charles & Larry Buford

*Singer/songwriter Larry Buford has been shopping a song he penned titled ‘Ray Of Sun’ – a tribute to the late great Ray Charles – for the past several months for others to record. As it turns out, he recorded the song himself and has scheduled its release for Tuesday, June 10th which marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of Mr. Charles.

Buford was first introduced to Ray Charles in 1984. He received a call from him in 1985 expressing his interest in a song he had submitted titled “How Can I Ever Get Ahead.” Aside from being signed to Motown Records as a songwriter at the time, receiving a call from Mr. Charles was a huge validation for Buford. It gave him a new confidence that made him take the songwriting craft more seriously than ever. He continued to submit songs to him.

Buford says, “One day he called…on a Wednesday…and said he wanted to record a song I wrote called ‘I’m So Tired Of Waiting’ that he had in mind to record with Gladys Knight. He said he needed an additional verse by Saturday as he wanted the song on his new album. By Saturday I had five new verses for him to select from.” The song did not make it onto Charles’ 1988 album ‘Just Between Us.’

The disappointment set in as Buford spent about an hour at Tower Records reading and re-reading the liner notes and songs listed on the album hoping to see his title. He then bought the album, took it home and played every track thinking perhaps his title was omitted in error on the cover; it was not. However he was later told through reliable sources that the song was indeed recorded. His hope now is that one day it will surface along with some of his other tunes Charles had expressed interest in.

Despite the disappointment he’s still proud of the fact that the legendary Ray Charles took an interest in his songs. One of his highlights was the night – after Charles performed at Hollywood’s House of Blues – he was invited backstage and ended up singing the chorus of one of Charles’ songs with him.

What he’d like to see happen with ‘Ray Of Sun’ is that his version of the song will get on the air on June 10th to commemorate Charles’ musical legacy, and also to bring it to the attention of the likes of Willie Nelson and others who had the distinguished opportunity to work with him. He says he gave the song a Country feel because of the great body of work Charles recorded in that genre like ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You,’ ‘Georgia,’ and ‘Seven Spanish Angels.’

Motown veteran songwriter Janie Bradford says, “‘Ray of Sun’ is a special, moving tribute written to celebrate the life and talents of the Maestro, Ray Charles. It is a creative and heart-warming song by singer/songwriter Larry Buford.”

Ray Charles’ daughter Raenee Robinson says, “This is so sweet. Great dedication! Very inspirational and it depicts the affect of what I believe Dad intended through his music. Thank you so much Larry Buford!”

Buford wishes to thank Cliff Goldmacher and the Nashville team at www.Nashvillelive.com, and West Hollywood Cazador Studio owner/producer Jimmy Hunter for their wonderful work on the project.

‘Ray Of Sun’ is set to debut June 10th on Live 365 Radio at www.urbannetworkdigital.com. A copy has been sent to other radio stations as well, including KJazz 88.1 in Long Beach, California where Ray Charles’ music is played frequently. The song will soon be available for purchase on i-Tunes with some proceeds earmarked for charitable contributions and pledges. Giving to charitable causes is a hallmark of the Ray Charles Foundation.

Jimmy Hunter and Larry Buford

Cazador’s Jimmy Hunter and Larry Buford