Good late Saturday night!! The brand new Ray Stevens project, the Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music, arrived in the mail on Friday! It was a super fast delivery considering that I placed the order on Tuesday afternoon. I skimmed parts of the book that comes with the CD's but I read in detail other parts of the book. A further reading will take place later tonight/early Sunday morning. The project itself is described as a labor of love and there's commentary about how much time was put into the collection: 2 years! In a previous blog entry I supplied the track list so there's no urgency to re-post the track list yet. Once I write my official review of the Encyclopedia I'll provide a track list again. While reading the book one of the things that you, as the reader, will pick up on right away is Ray's feelings about novelty/comedy songs as compared to music critics and radio programmers. Ray offers commentary, some lengthy and some not as lengthy, about each of the recordings and who had the most popular recording originally. When it comes to the songs that are part of Ray's career such as "The Streak", "Come to the U.S.A.", "Ahab the Arab", etc. he offers his opinions on each of his own previous hits and why he feels they've remained vital to his career.
The box set, as you can see, can fit nicely on any bookcase or bookshelf. I have a couple of shelves in my room where I store DVD's and so it looks as if some of those DVD's are going to be finding a new place to rest as I make room for this Encyclopedia! The main 8-CD's are housed in a red fold-out, containing two pictures of Ray, while the 9th CD is situated underneath this fold-out feature. The booklet's pages aren't numbered but it's one of those thick booklets of rectangle design. If you've purchased other box sets you'll be familiar with the style. A writer by the name of Don Cusic wrote the biography section which is broken into two parts. The first part is in the front of the book while the continuation is near the end of the book. There's an introduction page containing Ray's comments about the project, his inspiration for doing it, and his joy at recording the songs. As I mentioned in previous blog entries there are 12 songs on each CD totaling 108 altogether. There are pictures of some of the song's writers and pictures of some of the artists associated with the songs within the book. Also, there are a few pictures of album and CD artwork from Ray's career. Fans can get their copy at Ray's web-store: