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Honoring a Humble Star: A final ovation for Ben E. King

Ben E. King, the soulful singer of 1961’s “Stand by Me” who died April 30, returned Thursday to the place that gave birth to all soul music: the church.

A capacity crowd of 600 or more packed Englewood’s Community Baptist Church to bid farewell to the longtime Teaneck resident at a funeral service that mixed fond recollections, soaring rhetoric and even more soaring music.

“I sing because I’m happy, I sing because Mr. King – Mr. King – you are free!” intoned Angela Workman, formerly a backup singer for Ray Charles, as she put a personal stamp on the gospel classic “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

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A Raelette On Ray Charles

Twenty years ago, Angela Workman was touring with the legendary Ray Charles as one of his five backup singers, The Raelettes. Twenty years ago, Liane Hansen first stepped into the host's chair at Weekend Edition Sunday — and interviewed Workman and two of her fellow singers.

For her 20th anniversary, Hansen caught up with Workman, who says she spent 11 years touring with Ray Charles.

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