August 20, 2014

Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Part 4...

Hello once more!! This is the fourth blog entry of mine to focus on Ray's gospel CD. It's release day happened to be yesterday. I didn't have the chance to post a blog entry yesterday but in case you're wondering, I didn't find any copies of Ray's CD at any of the local Wal-Mart stores. I ordered my copy of the Ray Stevens Gospel Collection yesterday and it should arrive at some point early next week!! Once I get my hands on it I'll post a blog about it! Ray has a purchase page available on his on-line store for CD orders of the current project. Earlier I had assumed that it would only be available on Amazon and on the various gospel music sites but then I seen it on Wal-Mart's site the other day and then I seen it on Ray's site yesterday. Remember, this collection has 12 recordings on it, and it's Volume One in a series. You can check the ordering information at Ray's webpage located HERE. It hasn't cracked the Top-100 sales ranks yet on Amazon but it's steadily climbing. At the moment the CD is ranked #1,838 (the highest it's been since becoming available for Pre-Order several weeks ago). Once I hear the collection and let it soak in I'll post a review of it here and on Amazon. I know of some fans that pre-ordered their CD and so chances are they'll get their copies ahead of mine. I'm going to try and stay away from reading other listener's opinions of the CD until I hear it for myself.

Here's an interview with Ray, conducted on Fox News Radio by Tonya J. Powers, that I came across earlier today on a social media site. He talks about his memoir, Nashville, among other things. The interview is a little more than 8 minutes. As of this writing, the page that I'll be linking to has an error on it so don't get alarmed. As of 9am this morning they mention that his book is being released on August 19th and that a gospel CD is to be released later in the year...but of course, you all know that the book became available several months ago and the gospel CD's release date was yesterday, August 19th. Aside from that the interview itself is great. You can hear it HERE.

August 18, 2014

Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Part 3...

Hello all the fans of Ray Stevens! I'm not typically chipper on Monday's but this is an exception...in less than 24 hours the Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Volume One is going to be officially released!! Yes, even at this late stage, you can still officially pre-order the CD. If you pre-order you can select One Day Shipping and it should arrive at your location on release day tomorrow (August 19th).

Here is the link to the CD's page at AMAZON. I still have no idea if this CD is going to be available for purchase in retail stores. Yesterday I seen a couple of CD's under the Gaither Gospel Series sitting on the CD rack at a local store and for a moment I wondered if Ray's upcoming gospel CD may become available in retail stores, too. I'm so used to his releases being exclusive to the internet that it'll be neat to actually see an all-new project from Ray sitting in the CD rack at the store. I'll check the Wal-Mart retail stores in my area on Tuesday and see if it's available. In a previous blog post I pondered the possibility that since the CD is available on the retail store's internet counterpart it may also become available in the retail store itself. I'll blog about my findings tomorrow as I visit some of the Wal-Mart retail stores in the area.

As most of you should already know, this is the CD you're to be on the lookout for starting tomorrow. If you're not into the whole pre-order thing and prefer to order CD's on their official release date then make sure this is the CD you place an order for. There are other releases on the market that feature gospel songs Ray recorded in his past and they're available under various titles all over the internet so be sure to look for this CD image. You may be wondering why I'm saying this since I've already posted an Amazon link that clearly shows the correct CD to purchase. The reason I'm saying it is because there are thieves out there that may, in the future, use this CD cover for an entirely different set of songs or some on-line store or auction site may erroneously place the songs from this CD onto an unrelated collection from the past, using an early picture of Ray, and obviously that kind of thing confuses the consumers. This CD has 12 songs on it and look for the Gaither Gospel Series branding up on the top left hand side of the CD. You can check the Amazon link for the songs found on this project. Also remember that this is Volume One of a 2-Volume series. The second volume is to be released at a later date.  

August 17, 2014

Ray Stevens: A Variety of Music...

It's no surprise that I love the music of Ray Stevens!! During the time of this fan created blog's existence, if you've read closely, you'll know that I love, love, LOVE the late '70s/early '80s time period of his career a whole lot. I also love other era's of his career, too...but there's an unexplainable gravitation I have with his late '70s/early '80s recordings.

In times past I've attempted to find an explanation as to my fascination with that time period in his career but it's best to just enjoy the music and leave the psychology to Ray's comical alter ego, Sickmind Fraud.

1982's "Written Down in My Heart", a marvelous love ballad, is performed by Ray in this clip...



20 years earlier, in 1962, Ray's big single that year happened to be "Ahab the Arab". A clip of Ray singing the song, in 1965, has surfaced on YouTube once more. It's been uploaded by others in the past and this is the most recent upload...



Jumping a short 5 years later, in 1970, notice the change in stage clothing and the thicker hair. Ray Stevens hosted the summer replacement series for Andy Williams in 1970 and among the many songs Ray performed on the summer series is a pop hit that a lot of people, including myself, refer to as "My Baby Wrote Me a Letter". It's officially titled "The Letter", and it became a huge hit for The Box Tops in 1967. Joe Cocker did a version, too, and his recording was actually the current hit version heard during the summer of 1970, the time of this performance from Ray Stevens.

Now, of course, I'm not naive...so I don't expect blues, soul, or R&B purists to lovingly embrace the Ray Stevens performance of this song...but I happen to be a fan of Ray Stevens and I'm sure those that stop by here are, too, and we definitely embrace all of Ray's performances and this is another great one...