Good Saturday afternoon all you Ray Stevens fans! Today there's a real treat in store...I came across a You Tube upload of a single entitled "Happy" by a singer named Steve Alaimo. When you hear this song you'll all instantly recognize it's connection to Ray Stevens! Ray wrote and arranged this song in 1966 according to the video uploader and even more obscure is that it was relegated to the B-side. Now, of course, you all know that A-side and B-side doesn't mean much when it comes to Ray Stevens as a lot of work and detail is put into his recordings...some songs naturally have a more commercial sound and those get promoted on the A-side but there's always a whole lot more wonderful magic featured on the B-sides of many singles from Ray Stevens.
Although I have no information about the back-up vocals it sounds to my ears that Ray Stevens his own self is singing harmony...but given that Ray is known to over-dub a lot on his own recordings this could be a scenario where the singer, Steve Alaimo, over-dubbed his own harmony since it's something that Ray himself would do. But...when you listen to the song you'll clearly hear a harmony singer and the way the words are enunciated makes me think of Ray.
This "Happy" recording is not the only Ray Stevens-associated upload that's available on You Tube...come to find out last month there were two more uploads but this time it features arrangement work from Ray instead of songwriter contribution. First up is a song called "A House With No Windows" on the MGM label by a singer named Ray Peterson. Secondly there's a song by Ronnie Dove entitled "Put My Mind at Ease". Each song features music arrangements by Ray Stevens...
Put My Mind at Ease
House Without Windows
On the MGM single the producer appears to be Jim Vienneau...I can't make what the actual print says but it looks as if Vienneau was the producer. It makes sense, too, given that Vienneau was the producer on all of Conway Twitty's MGM recordings in the late '50s and early '60s. In the Ronnie Dove recording the song was written by Neil Diamond...ironically released on the Diamond label...which had no connection to Neil Diamond at all. The label, according to research, was started by Phil Kahl and Joe Kolsky.
Other songs arranged by Ray Stevens for Ronnie Dove include "A Little Bit of Heaven", "If I Live to Be a Hundred", "Kiss Away", and "Where in the World" among others. Ray, if I recall correctly, was Ronnie Dove's assigned music arranger and so chances are Ray arranged just about all of Dove's material during this time period of the mid '60s...but that's just me guessing.