April 4, 2011

Ray Stevens and the New Orleans Moon...

Released almost 4 years ago, New Orleans Moon is the glorious salute to Louisiana culture from Ray Stevens. The CD came along in the spring of 2007, available exclusively at first at Ray's web-site, but it was never publicized much outside of a few places. It was released nationally in July 2007. I remember the title track, "New Orleans Moon", was making the rounds on a few radio stations in Louisiana based on news releases by Ray's web-site. Aside from this localized publicity no major national publicity followed. I don't know if the lack of national publicity was did by design or not...songs that salute a specific region of the country might not play well nationally and so it makes more sense to publicize a CD like this in the area in which it's designed to pay tribute to and perhaps that's what Ray did. "New Orleans Moon" was written by Ray Stevens and Chuck Redden.

The CD is filled with songs about Louisiana...specifically New Orleans...and it's one of Ray's few latter-day CD's which features exclusively non-comical performances. New Orleans Moon features 11 tracks...one of the official titles for one of the songs on the CD is "Preleude to Way Down Yonder in New Orleans/Way Down Yonder in New Orleans". "New Orleans Moon" is great and the rest of the CD is his versions of quite a few Louisiana/New Orleans songs. Ray does a brief impression of Louis Armstrong on the title track by the way!

While most of the songs are ballads there are a few up-tempo songs...one that stands out is "New Orleans"...another is "When the Saints Go Marching In". The CD features a medley: "St. James Infirmary" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" are blended together. Ray covers "Louisiana", "Louisiana Man", "Jambalaya", and "The Battle of New Orleans" while also covering "Basin Street Blues".

The track list on the CD appears in different order from the track list on the Mp3 digital download. For example, the CD opens up with "Basin Street Blues" while the digital download CD opens up with "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans". Here's the track list as it appears on the digital download CD:

1. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
2. New Orleans Moon
3. Basin Street Blues
4. When The Saints Go Marching In
5. St. James Infirmary/Just a Closer Walk With Thee
6. Jambalaya
7. Louisiana
8. Louisiana Man
9. New Orleans
10. The Battle of New Orleans
11. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

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