April 8, 2012

Ray Stevens and the Easter Bunnies...

There's not been too many recordings from Ray Stevens that specifically dealt with Easter but there's a few that incorporate the Easter bunny and Easter eggs into the lyrics. A masterpiece that Ray wrote, well, one of the masterpieces, is a clever song combining all the holidays into one celebration in a song titled "Greatest Little Christmas Ever Wuz". Obviously the song's title is associated with Christmas...but in that particular recording, as mentioned, Ray tells of how a wonderful holiday can be enjoyed when all the holidays are combined on one single day of the year. The song itself is a tale of a couple who've broken up and the man comes up with what he feels is a surefire way to get her to return. The song has a unique history...it first appeared on an MCA various artists album from 1985 called Tennessee Christmas. Ray brought it back in 1997 for his comical Christmas Through a Different Window CD.

In 1987, toward the end of the "Gourmet Restaurant" song, Ray mentions chocolate eggs and chocolate bunny rabbits, candy closely associated with Easter. In 1990 during the fade-out of a song titled "Where Do My Socks Go?" Ray wonders if the Easter Bunny is the culprit and warns people about getting eggs with rather questionable content inside on Easter. Interestingly, Ray's 1990 album titled Lend Me Your Ears features a rabbit on the album's cover...but this isn't a reference to Easter but more of a visual joke on part of an often-quoted phrase delivered in the Julius Caesar play. Other than those three recordings I couldn't come up with any other song from Ray that specifically mentions Easter, the Easter Bunny, chocolate eggs, etc. etc.

For those who want to hear those songs and a whole lot more look for the following Mp3's at Amazon...

1. Crackin' Up; 1987 MCA Records

2. Lend Me Your Ears; 1990 Curb Records

Christmas Through a Different Window can easily be purchased at Ray's web-store.

Ray has released religious music down through the years...his only traditional gospel album continues to be 1972's Turn Your Radio On. That one album spawned a series of re-issues over the last 40 years typically using the same album title but incorporating a different picture of Ray each time. One of the re-issues from the early '90s was called The Gospel Side of Ray Stevens and they used a small clean-shaven image of Ray. Another re-issue several years later in 1996, Great Gospel Songs, used a fairly recent picture. One of my favorite pictures of Ray was used on the 1982 re-issue. His own label, Clyde Records, issued a 2-volume set of gospel recordings titled A Brighter Day in 1992. This collection put together not only the recordings from Turn Your Radio On but selected recordings from Ray through the years with a gospel/inspirational overtone like "Everybody Needs a Rainbow", "Set the Children Free", and others. A fairly recent compilation, A Funny Thing Happened in Church Today, goes in the opposite direction...it shines the light on some of the comical songs Ray recorded with a gospel flavor or a church setting. Songs include "The Dooright Family", "Mississippi Squirrel Revival", "Mama Sang Bass", and the 2009 recording, "The Right Reverend Road Hog McGraw" from One for the Road...but it also contains non-comical favorites like "Turn Your Radio On", "When The Saints Go Marching In", and "Everything Is Beautiful". "When the Saints Go Marching In" comes from his stellar salute to Louisiana on the CD titled New Orleans Moon from 2007. 

Those Clyde Records releases can be found at Ray's web-store. Simply visit the link I provided above or go to Ray's web-page below and click "Store" and browse around. You'll definitely find things that have never been offered in retail stores!

Ray Stevens Web-Site

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