August 15, 2010

In-print Ray Stevens classics...

Good Sunday morning all the Ray Stevens fans out there. I'm sure you're aware of this particular 1991 collection? In case some are not familiar with it then read the following sentences and learn something about it. The collection, as mentioned, came along in 1991 and was released on the Curb Records label. This was something of a series of greatest hits packages that the label issued on several artists that year. Each of the collections featured pretty much the same art decoration and graphics. The collection contains ten songs and out of those 10, eight of them are non-comical. This continues to be one of the few greatest hits collections issued on Ray Stevens to focus almost exclusively on the non-comedy recordings that he had commercial success with. The collection is notable among Ray Stevens fans for including an alternate version of "There's a Star Spangled Banner". The song made it's debut on Ray's 1989 album, Beside Myself. However, on this collection, you'll hear different lyrics...although it retains the same chorus as before. Naturally, since 1991, there have been an abundance of CD releases of his 1970's recordings when he was primarily recording nothing but non-comedy songs...but this 1991 collection is still a good addition to anyone's Ray Stevens collection. I know people still buy vinyl and cassette through on-line flea markets so those who come across this collection and might not be familiar with some of the lesser-known mainstream recordings featured on here...go ahead and think about purchasing it. It's also an obscure release. Liner notes are provided by a writer named Don Ovens. The picture of Ray as most are aware was a widely used publicity photo during this era.

Speaking of CD releases of Ray's 1970's material...Warner Brothers in 1995 released a three CD collection of songs which enabled long out of print material Ray recorded in the late '70s to emerge in the CD age. Those songs were pulled from the following albums: 1976's Just For the Record; 1977's Feel the Music; 1978's There Is Something On Your Mind and Be Your Own Best Friend. A single-only release from 1979 was also spotlighted in the three CD collection. The single, "I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow", inspired his 1979 album of previously recorded material, The Feeling's Not Right Again. Varese Sarabande was responsible for the release of several CD's in the late '90s concentrating on Ray's late '60s recordings on Monument Records. Two of Ray's albums for Monument: Even Stevens and Gitarzan were both issued in CD format during the late '90s. He recorded those albums in 1968 and 1969 respectively.

The Warner Brothers and Monument material has since been issued digitally as well. Ray's work on Barnaby Records, 1970-1975, finally became in-print on CD and in Mp3 format in the middle of last decade thanks in large part to a company known as Collectables Records. They issued all of his Barnaby albums except one onto CD and Mp3 format in 2005. The one album on Barnaby Records that Collectables didn't release was Losin' Streak. It's anyone's guess why that particular album wasn't issued on CD/Mp3...but the other albums he recorded for the label became available: Everything Is Beautiful and Unreal both from 1970; Nashville from 1973; Boogity-Boogity and Turn Your Radio On from 1974; and Misty from 1975.

Fast-forwarding 35 years to 2010 we take a look at Ray's contemporary successes. His You Tube music video, "God Save Arizona", after having been passed around Twitter and the blogs during the last several days, has racked up the hits significantly since my last blog entry. In my previous blog entry I remarked that the video had obtained more than 50,000 hits. As of right now the hit count rests at 65,615. I'd say the music video easily hits the 100,000 mark in a week's time or maybe sooner...depending on how many more people discover the video. Some are just now discovering "Come to the USA" even after the video had gone beyond three million hits a couple of months ago. Lost in the shuffle is "The Global Warming Song" which was released on You Tube last month and as of now it's gotten 41,267 that to the 65,615 hits "God Save Arizona" has gotten in a week's time. I hadn't did a complete update in are the up to date hit counts for Ray's last series of music videos going back to December 2009's release of "We The People"...

We The People: 3,459,410

Thank You: 214,002

Caribou Barbie: 210,576

Throw the Bums Out!: 406,123

Come to the USA: 3,211,204

The Global Warming Song: 41,267

God Save Arizona: 65,615

"God Save Arizona" is available as a CD single and as an Mp3 digital single. This is the first offer of an actual CD single since "We The People". I purchased the Mp3 download but haven't purchased a physical copy of the single...yet. I may or may not. I purchased both the physical CD single and the Mp3 single of "We The People", though...but I may just wait and see if "God Save Arizona" is part of a much larger collection of newly recorded material before I decide if I want to buy the CD single. The song isn't on the We The People album so the only place to find it is on You Tube and the only place to purchase the song is at Ray Stevens' store located at his web-site. You can also watch the official music video here. I always embed or post URL links to the official music videos at some point...why? Well, it's because I want the hits going toward the official uploads from Ray Stevens. There are some people on You Tube that upload Ray's music videos for the sole purpose of trashing the video...and so I always embed the official music video's from Ray Stevens. In other words...any video upload from a Ray Stevens hater isn't going to appear on my blog page.

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