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Who are the Raelettes and the Cookies?

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Question: Who are the Raelettes and the Cookies?
Answer: The Raelettes were the name Ray gave to his female vocal group, whose sound was an essential component of his biggest hits. The most prominent of these is no doubt Margie Hendricks, who is the solo voice heard duetting (and sometimes dueling) with Charles on songs like "Night Time Is The Right Time" and "Hit The Road, Jack." (Although the "Ray" movie suggests the two wrote the latter song during a romantic spat, there's absolutely no evidence of that whatsoever, although they were definitely lovers for a time.)

The Raelettes began as a vocal trio called the Cookies, who had already scored an R&B hit with 1956's "In Paradise" when Ray hired them as his backups. They joined Mary Ann Fisher, a solo singer Ray had already hired for duets, and the rest is history, although the Raelettes lineup would often change (other members included Della Bea Robinson, Darlene McRae, Minnie Riperton, Merry Clayton, Edna Wright Susaye Greene, and Mable John). Meanwhile, one of the original Cookies who DIDN'T come along for the ride, Earl-Jean McCrea, took the name, formed a new vocal group around it, and went on to have several girl-group hits in the early Sixties, including "Chains," "Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys," and "Don't Say Nothin' Bad About My Baby."

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