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: [responding to knock on his door
] Who is it? Ahmet Ertegun
: Mr. Charles, my name is Ahmet Ertegun. May I have a moment of your time? Ray Charles
: [opening door
] What do you want, man? I'm at church. Ahmet Ertegun
: I'm sorry. I'll come back later. Ray Charles
: You're here now, what do you want? Ahmet Ertegun
: Mr. Charles, my company, Atlantic Records, has just acquired your contract from Swingtime. I'd like to talk about your future. Ray Charles
: Hold on, man. Don't jive me now. I ain't for sale. Ahmet Ertegun
: May I sit down?
[Sits in chair
] Ahmet Ertegun
: You see it seems that Jack Lauderdale has found himself, shall we say, a little over extended and has had to unload some of his talent. When your name came up I jumped at the chance to work with you. I'm a big fan. Ray Charles
: What if I want to go to another company? There's a guy out there right now that's willing to pay me seven cents a record. Can you do that? Ahmet Ertegun
: Man, I could promise you fifteen cents a record but you won't get it. Anymore than he'll pay you seven. What I will do is promise you five cents a record and pay you five cents a record. You think pennies, Mr. Charles, you get pennies. You think dollars, you get dollars. Ray Charles
: I like the way you put things together. Omlet, you're alright with me. Ahmet Ertegun
: Ahmet. Ray Charles
: Ahmet. What kind of a name is that anyway. Ahmet Ertegun
: I'm Turkish. Ray Charles
: Well, it looks like Jack Lauderdale's bad luck is my good fortune. I always knew Atlantic was bigger than Swingtime. You do great music there. I dig Atlantic. Ahmet Ertegun
: You could have fooled me. Ray Charles
: Well, I gotta keep my eye on you city boys. Back home they call it country dumb.
] Ray Charles
: It ain't Turkish.
: Ray, I'm gonna tell you something and I don't want you to take it the wrong way. Ray Charles
: Well, then give it to me right then. Ahmet Ertegun
: I signed you because I sensed something special in you not because you sound like Nate Cole or Charles Brown. Ray Charles
: But I thought you liked what I do. Ahmet Ertegun
: Look we love the tenor of your voice, your vituosity, your energy... Ray Charles
: But not my music. Ahmet Ertegun
: Man, I didn't say that. Ray Charles
: Look, Ahmet, this is what I do. I gotta make a living. This is what the people want. I don't know no other way. Ahmet Ertegun
: Well we gotta help you find one. Look, let's try a little change of pace. Your familiar with stride piano? Ray Charles
: You kidding me, man? The man I learned the piano from was a stride player. Ahmet Ertegun
: Okay, I've got a song. It's called the Mess Around. Ray Charles
: Mess around. Cute title. Who wrote it? Ahmet Ertegun
: I did. Ray Charles
: Oh. You wrote it. Well, sing it to me, man. Ahmet Ertegun
: Sing it? Ray Charles
: Yeah, it's not like I can read the lyrics. Ahmet Ertegun
: Alright. It's in the key of G. Ray Charles
: Key of G.
] Ahmet Ertegun
: No. More like a Pete Johnson kind of thing. Ray Charles
: Pete Johnson.
[Begins playing again
] Ahmet Ertegun
: Yeah, yeah. That's good. Ray Charles
: Oh, you like that? Okay, let's go.
: If you think pennies, Mr. Charles, you get pennies. If you think dollars, you get dollars.
: Ray Charles. We believe in your talent. We want to be in the Ray Charles business. We've already got you booked on a ten city tour with Roy Milton's Solid Senders and Tangula, the exotic shake dancer. Ahmet Ertegun
: She is gorgeous.
: Ahmet believes we're family here at Atlantic Records. I believe we're family at Atlantic. Obviously you don't. Ahmet wouldn't believe it. You know what he said, Ray? He said you would never turn your back on us. Never for a schlockmeister like Sam Clark. Ha! That's rich. Sam Clark's a corporate slug who wouldn't know the difference between Earl Hines and Art Tatum! We let you grow here, Ray. Nobody's taking credit for your talent, but we nourished it. We let you do your thing. Goddamn it, we deserve better than this. Ray Charles
: You know that I appreciate everything you guys have done here, Jerry. Ahmet, I'm very proud of the work we've done here together and Atlantic has done pretty good moneywise on my records, haven't they? Ahmet Ertegun
: Yes, we've done very well, Ray. Ray Charles
: You're the ones who taught me that making a record is business and find the best business deal that you can. Now seventy-five cents of every dollar and owning my own masters is a pretty damn good deal. Can you match it? Ahmet Ertegun
: Ray we would love to match it, but we just can't. That's a better deal than Sinatra gets... I'm very proud of you.
: Ruth Brown's got a tour booked in Georgia. She needs a band. Ray Charles
: I'll take it. I could write the charts for her, I could do backup, and I could also be an opening act. Ahmet Ertegun
: Okay. But you're gonna be financially responsible. You're gonna have to make it work, Ray. Ray Charles
: Yeah, yeah. I'm gonna make it do what it do, baby.
: [Listening to Ray perform "I Got a Woman"
] Ahmet. Ahmet Ertegun
: Yeah? Jerry Wexler
: We gotta get this on wax. Ahmet Ertegun
: Oh, yeah.