Friday, March 9, 2012


Jesse James Photo Album
By Subscriber Ron Pastore
All rights reserved. Copyright RJ Pastore ©2012Some of you may have heard of Ron Pastore from the popular History Channel program, Jesse James Hidden Treasure. He is also the author of Jesse James' Secret and the Jesse James Forensic Report. Pastore’s next project is to release his personal collection of original, never before seen photos of Frank & Jesse James and their family members.
Pastore has been researching Jesse James for over 10 years and has become recognized as an expert on the topic. With the release of the rather extensive photo collection, there is further irrefutable evidence supporting his findings. Ron will be launching a new website in the near future to share some of his compelling photos at:
Pastore suspected that Jesse James had faked his death in 1882 to elude authorities and lived to be 88 years old in remote SE Kansas. Further research and explorations soon revealed that the theory was true. Armed with this exclusive information, a plan was conceived to produce a documentary. In 2003, the first program aired on the History Channel, Investigating History/The Jesse James Mystery.
Pastore also set out to prove his theory in academic circles. In 2004, he was the featured final speaker at the annual conference of the American Academy of Forensic Science. He presented a methodology for crime labs to employ as a new national standard. By uniformly using the same criteria in our Nation’s crime labs, the evidence handling would be less in question. Pastore subjected his own research into the Jesse James murder case to these criteria. At the conclusion, the audience of forensic scientists gave a resounding ovation for his presentation.
Pastore’s AAFS presentation was the basis for his second book about the empirical evidence in the case, namely theJesse James Forensic Analysis. The book is available in early release as an ebook at:
Jesse Woodson James was a well-known Confederate guerilla fighter, Southern spy, special agent of the Knights of the Golden Circle and its various Masonic splinter groups. After the Civil War he was shot by Federal troops attempting to surrender under a flag of truce. After recovering, he went deeper underground and commenced a 17 year crime spree that allegedly ended with his assassination in 1882.
Pastore’s investigation revealed that the 1882 plot was a ruse wherein a cousin was murdered in his place. This ruse gave Jesse total anonymity to engage in any criminal conspiracy or espionage he chose.
Pastore’s quest to find the long missing photos of Jesse and his family began many years ago. He had purchased some old tintype photos at an antique shop on a research trip to St. Joseph, MO. Several weeks after his return home he decided to examine them closer. His first impression was that the images looked a bit like Frank and Jesse James. But it was hard to fathom how they would have wound up in a St. Joe antique shop.
The image was sent to a facial recognition software expert for analysis. The results of the test came back positive and the photo was feature on the History Channel program. It was fortunate for the analysis that Jesse sat in the exact same pose as his known teenage photo in rebel attire.
"I was thrilled to learn I had found an original photo of Jesse James. So I decided to search for more photos and stopped at every small town antiques shop I ran across in my travels. Over the years I was able to locate dozens of images in dusty boxes of discarded memories."
Some have called the collection nothing less than a national treasure. Of course there will be doubters and naysayers, but that is the burden anyone trying to break new ground no matter the field. What is hard to refute about this collection is the fact that they depict many of the James family members and they are seem together and in group photos. One should also keep in mind that Jesse was a wanted man and frequently changed his appearance to conceal his identity.
"Jesse had several unique facial characteristics which help to get a positive ID on him. He had inherited several features from his mother and father, Robert and Zerelda James. The first thing you notice is the mismatched slope of his shoulders. The shape of the head, hairline and jaw line also stand out. His ears are another marker to focus on and are mismatched as well. Jesse’s nose enlarges over the years but his bigger right nostril is often visible. When the hand is shown we can see the arching fan shape of the fingers with a rather short pinky finger. But more than any other feature are Jesse’s piercing eyes. The right eyelid drapes diagonally across the pupil. And the left eyelid droops across the outer edge of his eye. It would be possible for two people to share one or two of these feature. But for two people to have more than three commonalities is beyond a mathematical improbability."
Pastore plans to have as many of the photos authenticated as possible. But the fact that there are so many depicting the same people tends to make them self authenticating. "Considering the overall population of the USA in the post Civil War era and the number of folks that could even afford to have one photograph taken in their lifetime and then consider how many pictures have survived until today. The odds of this many photos of the same subjects being anyone other than James family members are highly doubtful. It is in essence the reverse scenario from typical authentication. One would have to accept them as credible in the absence to evidence to the contrary. Take for example the photo of Zerelda and Reuben seated outside their James Farm home below. It clearly shows the couple prior to 1871, unquestionably."
We shall see how the public received Pastore’s collection. But if it is anything like his previous findings and his documentaries it is sure to become a very popular website. And just what’s next for Pastore?
"I feel inspired to put together a new book as a pictorial essay on Jesse and his family for my next book. It will be entitled The Jesse James Photo Album, as well. This is clearly a national treasure and needs to be shared."
One of Jesse’s CDV photos will be sold in Chicago on April 5, 2012. Auction estimates for the single photo are $20,000.00 to $30,000.00. That was the case last summer when a photo of Billy the Kid wound up being sold for $2.3 million. We understand that Pastore may sell a few of his photos in order to raise funds to support the website and publish his next book. Check out the website for yourself at:

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As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.

"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.

Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity

In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.

Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."

His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."

But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.

A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.

Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.

He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."

"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.

In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."

Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."

Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."

Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.

Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."

Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."

Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.

"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.

Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.

To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.

"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."

Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.

Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."

Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."

Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity


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