Sunday, July 2, 2017

KING OF SOUL RAY CHARLES : TWO KNOWN MISTRESSES : MARGI HENDRIX and MARCIE SOTO



 
Ahhh Ray... We'll give you credit for two known Mistresses, MARGIE HENDRIX and MARCI SOTO...

Ray Charles was the blind Black American musician and singer with the megawatt smile who got called a genius and The King of Soul though he crossed over into other genres of music including, controversially, gospel.


MARGIE HENDRIX was in the Cookies, a girl group,
which was hired by Ray Charles to be his Raeletts, background singers.
A joke that went around was that Ray only hired women who "Let" him.


There were so many women in RAY CHARLES life, it's difficult to know but there may have been more Mistresses, and I don't mean those women who rolled through his life for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks... I mean those who had more of a relationship with this twice married man, who was reportedly stingy with the mothers but supported his many children.  He was married for twenty years to his second wife who he called "B." She may not have wanted him to bring the road home but she shared him a lot.
 
When Ray Charles died he left 12 known living children.  Those were the acknowledged.  Four of those were in marriage, the rest extramarital. (When his memoir "Brother Ray" was published in 1978 he admitted to 9.)  Each child reportedly got a half million in trust, and then reportedly the rest of his estate of about 100 million, went to his foundation RAY CHARLES FOUNDATION ORG
 
Ray admitted in his memoir that he co-wrote that he never used contraception himself.
 
When I watched the biopic RAY, for which actor JAMIE FOXX received the best actor Oscar back in 2005 for embodying Ray for film, a terrific film I just rewatched, one Mistress was revealed, MARGIE HENDRIX.  At the time I didn't realize that when it came to Ray, where there's smoke (an extramarital relationship) there was fire (lots of sex, some relationships.)  Of course films usually have to pack a lot in for a two hour sit, so every woman Ray had couldn't be included. Overall you got the impression he only liked Black women.

But I got the point. In the film his long time second wife, "B", is seen telling him she was no fool who appreciated that he was a traveling, working musician but not to bring the road into the family and home she was trying to create and keep for them. "B" rarely saw him, as he had promised his mother as a child that, though he became blind, he would never be a charity case, and the man was always traveling, always working.  "B" had three children with him, and lived with the children first in Dallas and then Los Angeles.

So let's start with MARGIE HENDRIX, pictured above in an album she was on, also known as Margie Hendricks, who became the featured singer of the Raelettes. I have to tell you that in that memoir, there are few women mentioned by name as mothers of his children, but Margie had one son with Ray, and when she finally left him to go out on her own, she left the child to be raised by her sister. Ray Charles was a long time heroin addict without apology and eventually Margie died of a heroin overdose, but he swore he was not the one who turned her onto the drug that using was her own doing.



You may be familiar with his performances, Ray typically suited up at the piano rocking time as many blind musicians do. The song I know as Ray Charles' is his version with the Raelettes of "Hit the Road Jack."  I've thought of that song as a woman's empowerment song but no longer.

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 Can't beat a memoir in which Ray Charles explains his attitudes and values when it comes to women and children with a co-author who updated after its 1978 publication, in 1992, 2003, 2004. 

Now, about MARCI SOTO. 

In his memoir Brother Ray, Ray Charles makes no mention of his long time mistress MARCI SOTO, as you can see on the cover of her memoir, a white woman. So she eventually wrote her own memoir about the thirty years she counted him in her life, with some time off.  Marci Soto, the mother of two daughters already, didn't bring a child into this world with Ray but did have an abortion without mentioning the pregnancy to him. Her place was home to him some of the time and he liked to hang out there, playing dad a bit to her children, in an ordinary, middle class white family atmosphere, and I do wish the film had revealed that.  One wonders how a person juggles all that work and travel with long term relationships, but a traveling man often has some good reasons and excuses for where he is and with who.
After a while, Marci thought it only fair that Ray Charles, known to be cheap,
 buy her a house. She helped herself to the cash money he carried with him during one of his visits.
 
 
Marci did some interviews about their relationship when promoting her book. Until the book she was like most mistresses quiet about her life. She said that when she saw him wasting away with the liver cancer that killed him on television, she called him, devastated, and wondering if he was alone.  He said he would call to talk to her but never did before he died. 

EXCERPTED from the article linked to above...

It took Soto six years to write Ray & Me. She relied heavily on the 40 cassette tapes of conversations with Charles she'd recorded over the years. (He knew she was recording, she says, but he didn't care, just like he didn't care that she took pictures of him in his boxers.) Originally, she worked with a ghostwriter, but after they failed to interest any publishers in the project, Soto decided to finish on her own. "It was therapeutic," she says, "a way to get through Ray's death. I wanted to show people the Ray I knew, not the Ray in the movie."
 
This month I'll excerpt some telling parts of Ray's memoir about his attitude towards sex on the road, contraception, and women, and maybe by the end of the month, you'll have formed your own opinion.  Was he any different than, say, Mick Jagger?
 
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