November 11, 2008

Comedy Curb...Part Three...

After having signed with MCA Records in 1996, Curb was out of the picture for a number of years. Ray Stevens' MCA stay was brief, however, exiting the label after a two-album run in 1997.

In 2001, specifically 9/11, most country artists began to issue patriotic songs. At the same time there were a lot of novelty and comedy songs popping up about Osama bin Laden and terrorists in general. Ray made his contribution to the list of Osama novelty songs when in early 2002 he released the single "Osama Yo' Mama" on Curb Records. The single was a surprise reached the Country Top-50 and it became a Gold record on top of it spent multiple weeks at #1 on the Country Single Sales chart.

Well...Curb issued an album to support the single, Osama Yo' Mama: The Album, and the album entered the Top-30 on the country of his highest ranked albums in over a decade. He made a music video of "Osama Yo' Mama" and it's sequel, "Hello Mama". After the initial splash of the single and the album throughout much of 2002 on into early 2003, things quieted back down. Ray opened up his theater again in 2005 for a series of concerts and Curb issued a 3-CD collection simply called Box Set which contained numerous recordings, mostly songs that he recorded in the early 1990's for Curb plus a wide variety of previous hit songs all re-recorded. Ray remained with Curb Records in addition to releasing material on his own label, Clyde Records.  The Box Set would become a durable sales hit for Curb...frequently appearing on Amazon's Best-Sellers lists for years.

Hurricane Katrina inspired a single-only release in 2005...the topical "The New Battle of New Orleans". The single was distributed by Curb but most of it's availability was on-line as a digital single. The hurricane and the floods inspired a more serious approach in 2007 with the release of New Orleans Moon which found Ray singing songs about New Orleans and other spots in Louisiana. The album was available as a digital-download but then Curb started making physical copies of the album for distribution. A few months later, Ray offered a new digital single, "Ruby Falls". This single was also distributed by Curb Records and has yet to make it's way onto any collection.

Earlier this year Curb distributed Hurricane which boasted a lot of comedy songs. The title track was a satire on CNN's coverage of natural disasters with Ray portraying various characters in the song, prominently Wolf Spitzer...a broad exaggeration of Wolf Blitzer. The album featured 7 brand-new songs and 5 re-recordings of previous material. Hurricane carried a redneck theme throughout most of the songs: "Hey Bubba, Watch This!", "Down Home Beach", and "Bubba, The Wine Connoisseur". Ross Perot and economics are dealt with on "Sucking Sound". One of the surprises is "Rub It In", a song that Ray originally produced and published for it's songwriter, Layng Martine, Jr. but Billy Crash Craddock would end up having the hit recording. "The Cure" tells the story of home remedies.

In celebration of Ray's 50th anniversary, Curb issued the budget-priced 50th Anniversary Collection a couple of months ago which was a single CD's worth of songs pulled from the 2005 Box Set. To date, that is the most recent offering from Curb Records on Ray Stevens.

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