September 4, 2010

RCA and Ray Stevens...Brief but Beautiful...

I have a singles price guide in my possession. Now, granted the price guide I have is 14 years old, but there's a certain price guide for commercial singles that I have in my book collection. There's a singles discography for Ray Stevens...listing all commercial singles released on him by various record labels. The data also comes complete with catalog numbers! There's a glaring gap in the RCA material that Ray recorded. He recorded for the label from 1980 through 1982...and aside from a couple of 1981 special releases under the Gold Standard banner all other singles issued by RCA have no money value listed for them. Of course, in my mind, and in the minds of Ray Stevens fans all over, Ray's singles are priceless but it does look rather odd to see all of his singles rate some sort of value and yet the RCA material is left financially blank.

Excluding the Gold Standard Series, there were six commercial singles released on Ray Stevens by RCA Records altogether:

1980: Shriners Convention/You're Never Goin' To Tampa With Me
1980: Hey There/You're Never Goin' To Tampa With Me**
1980: Night Games/Let's Do It Right This Time
1981: One More Last Chance/I Believe You Love Me
1982: Written Down In My Heart/Country Boy, Country Club Girl
1982: Where The Sun Don't Shine/Why Don't We Go Somewhere and Love

**-"Hey There" was issued as a single overseas and in wasn't a commercial single in America. "Night Games" became a hit late in 1980 as the first single issued from his 1981-released album.

Those singles listed above were pulled from three top-notch albums...

Shriner's Convention; 1980
One More Last Chance; 1981
Don't Laugh Now; 1982

It may never happen but I've long since been an advocate, in my own kind of way, for the re-issue of Ray's RCA albums. This is the only material not readily available. Now, of course, there's always the reality of songs being owned by multiple labels in this era of conglomeration and there's always a risk of re-issuing material and it doesn't turn some kind of profit...but looking at this situation from a different perspective all I see as a consumer is Ray's material for other labels widely available in Mp3 form but strangely enough the RCA material remains out of circulation. My guess is RCA and Ray had a brief but beautiful relationship...but major record labels just don't have much patience or have the willingness to be experimental or daring.

I've often felt that Ray's career has reached so many different crossroads over the's like Ray gets enthused with a particular sound or particular song style and he adopts this until it runs it's course. Then he latches onto another style shift and goes as far as he can and then the cycle repeats itself over and over...constantly changing...currently his career is mostly tied up in music video uploads on You Tube and chances are he'll continue this for as long as it's a successful avenue for him. His latest music video has over 180,000 hits and fans can purchase the song at Ray's web-site store...the link to the page is below...

God Save Arizona

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