November 30, 2010

The Best of Ray Stevens...

Welcome one and all to the Ray Stevens Music Journey blog site. In a couple of days it'll be my birthday...I'll be reaching 34. I've been a fan of Ray Stevens for more than 20 of those 34 years as anyone can tell once you explore this fan-created blog page. The Best of Ray Stevens, a 1970 release from Mercury Records, introduced me to the early recordings of Ray. I have a copy of the cassette version which was issued in 1987. I don't have a vinyl version...but nevertheless these recordings were seemingly picked at random for the collection. "Ahab the Arab" kicks off the's a live performance featuring an introduction by Ralph Emery but I don't have a definitive year that it was captured on tape. Ralph once hosted a music program called 16th Avenue South and I assume this recording took place on that program. The back of the album features some liner notes and a list of the songs. Ray wrote each and every selection.

click on the thumbnail for a larger image


  1. I loved this album - it was one of my very first "Ray" purchase back in 1970 (except for 45's), when it came out. The cover illustrations were great and I wish a poster could have been available of that. The liner notes were right - Butch Barbarian is a gem. And yes, I still have the LP!

  2. This was the cassette tape that introduced me to Ray's earliest recordings and for a long time this was the only release I owned to showcase an abundance of his Mercury material. Later the Mercury label issued a cassette called "Funny Man" with 8 songs on it and it was later re-released as "Ahab the Arab"...each cassette had the same cover photo of Ray. That particular 8-song collection was the first time I heard "The Deodorant Song", the original "Furthermore", and "Just One of Life's Little Tragedies" which I later learned Ray re-recorded in 1973 on his LOSIN' STREAK album.

    I never really knew much about Ray's past until I was able to join his fan club in 1995 and from that point forward I began trying to find out everything about Ray. This was my pre-Internet days and I used to write to Ray's office A LOT asking questions about Ray's career and his past, etc. etc.

  3. I should clarify that I knew the names of a lot of Ray's classic hits because they were available on various greatest hits tapes that MCA and other labels had released in the 1980's, but, I didn't know much about his behind the scenes contributions or other obscure information that the general public wouldn't know about.

    My choice of spotlighting a lot of this blog on his obscure recordings as well as picture sleeve images, in addition to his current recordings, is a direct result of my not finding much adequate information on-line about Ray Stevens.

    With the exception of his own web-page I think this is the only place on-line that focuses on the career of Ray Stevens with a lot of detail.

    I know he has a lot of fans but there's always been a polarization component to his career. Also, there often tends to be this misconception that Ray has a small fan base.

    Even in 1970, a year after enjoying success with "Gitarzan" and other recordings, the producers of Andy Williams TV show comically titled the summer show Ray hosted: "Andy Williams Presents...Ray Stevens???".

    That kind of thing proves that even when Ray was having major pop hits there was still this "unknown" aura about only a few knew of spite of "Gitarzan" being a million seller in 1969.


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