January 16, 2011

Ray Stevens sings Great Gospel Songs...

One of the compilations that Curb Records issued was this 1996 gospel collection titled Great Gospel Songs. This is a 13 song collection which can be described as a re-issue of his 1972 LP, Turn Your Radio On, with a couple of additional tracks thrown in. Although the collection contains material recorded between 1969 and 1972 the liner notes by a man named Don Ovens doesn't elaborate much on the material in this collection...although he does offer commentary about "Everything Is Beautiful" and mentions which song on the collection is his favorite. The liner notes consist mostly of biographical data one can find almost anywhere but then there's a few passages that contain commentary about Ray's experiences touring radio stations in the mid and late '50s while under the guidance of Bill Lowery. Such information like that has never appeared in any write-up of Ray Stevens that I've seen...and I've seen A LOT of them through the years. The writer of the liner notes is stingy with the number of hit songs and albums that Ray's enjoyed over the years. He's had more hit singles and more hit albums than the writer alludes to. This compilation is notable for including the unedited version of "All My Trials"...most compilations feature the shortened radio edit which clocks in at just under 3 minutes. The full length version, clocking in at 4 minutes, 33 seconds is the one included here.

1. I'll Fly Away; 1972

2. Love Lifted Me; 1972 {Top-5 Bangkok}

3. Have a Little Talk With Myself; 1969 {Country chart hit}

4. Turn Your Radio On; 1972 {Top-20 Country; Top-10 Canada; Top-30 U.K.; Top-30 AC}

5. Will There Be Any Stars; 1972

6. Why Don't You Lead Me To That Rock; 1972

7. Glory Special; 1972

8. A Brighter Day; 1970

9. Let Our Love Be a Light Unto the People; 1972

10. A Mama and a Papa; 1971 {Top-5 AC}

11. All My Trials; 1971 {Top-5 AC}

12. Yes, Jesus Loves Me; 1972

13. Everything Is Beautiful; 1970 {#1 pop; #1-AC; Top-10 U.K.; Top-40 Country}

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