Long-lost Johnny Cash and Ray Charles Duet Gets Proper Release

Long-lost Johnny Cash and Ray Charles Duet Gets Proper Release
Just because Michael Jackson is the highest grossing dead celebrity doesn't mean there's no more room in rock'n'roll heaven for more royalties. Take, for example, the estates of Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, who will soon hit pay dirt with a recently unearthed collaboration between the two iconic performers.

The information comes via the CBC, who report that a long-lost duet between Charles and Cash was recently discovered via some letters in the archives at the Ray Charles Memorial Library in Los Angeles. The first letter, written from Cash to Charles, discussed the sound of the track, which was recorded in 1981.

"I am so proud when I tell people that I have recorded a song with you," Cash wrote. "I hope you like this tape. I realize that the orchestration isn't big and I don't sing very good, but I think the thing has a feeling and a quality that the fans would really enjoy." The second letter identified the song as "Why Me, Lord?"

"Why Me, Lord?" was written by Kris Kristofferson and features Johnny Cash singing the lead vocals while Ray Charles does back-up. The track was intended for release on one of Johnny Cash's albums, but never saw the light of day. Now, it has been released for the first time as part of a Ray Charles compilation called Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters, alongside other lost Charles recordings.

Rare Genius was released on October 26 via the Concord Music Group. Samples of the album can be heard here, and "Why Me, Lord?" can be streamed below.

Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters:

1. "Love's Gonna Bite You Back"

2. "It Hurts To Be In Love"

3. "Wheel of Fortune"

4. "I'm Gonna Keep On Singin'"

5. "There'll Be Some Changes Made"

6. "Isn't It Wonderful"

7. "I Don't Want No One But You"

8. "A Little Bitty Tear"

9. "She's Gone"

10. "Why Me, Lord?" (ft. Johnny Cash)