Welcome one and all to the Fifteenth installment of the Golden LP Series...where we lovingly take a look at all of the Ray Stevens studio albums since 1962. We're up to 1978...studio album fifteen is a marvelous cover project of the music Ray was the most influenced by.
There are three entertaining medleys on this LP, too! When you subtract those medley performances, which each consist of semi-brief performances of 3 different songs, this leaves 5 stand alone recordings not part of a medley.
As mentioned, there are 8 individual selections found on the LP: "Dance Trilogy", "Talk To Me", "One Mint Julep", "Old Faithful Trilogy", "Money Honey", "Banned In Boston Trilogy", "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash", and "There Is Something On Your Mind". The dance trilogy consists of abbreviated performances of "Do You Wanna Dance?", "When You Dance", and "Save the Last Dance For Me". The Boston trilogy consists of abbreviated performances of "Sixty Minute Man", "Work With Me Annie", and "Annie Had a Baby" while the old faithful medley features abbreviated performances of "Shake a Hand", "Since I Met You Baby", and "Always". Although the LP has 8 selections it has the normal running length of the standard 11 or 12 song album due to the lengthy medleys and the adventurous title track which runs more than 4 minutes. This is clearly one of Ray's more personal albums...given how the songs covered on this LP influenced or inspired him during his early years. Some of the songs simply were chosen because he liked them...with no influential situation whatsoever going into the decision to include some of the songs on the album. I love the album. "Money Honey" is one of the highlights as are "Dance Trilogy", "There Is Something On Your Mind", "Banned in Boston Trilogy", and "One Mint Julep". I particularly love the way the drum pounds away in the intro of "Money Honey" and the overall feel of the song. It should be noted that although this is a covers project, Ray uses his own arrangements, as he did on his previous covers projects dating back to 1975 and 1969. Some of the songs from the 1978 album would re-surface in 1995 on a 3-CD project that Warner Brothers did on Ray...a project that really had no advance warning or publicity and I bet there are many fans unaware of those CD's. To date, unless you have the vinyl album as I do, those 1995 projects are the only way you're going to be able to hear some of the songs from this 1978 album.
Although acclaim hasn't found it's way to this 1978 R&B covers project yet, it's a great testament of appreciation and respect from an artist easily at home covering the sounds of early R&B, pop music, and country music. Coming up in part sixteen we take a look at Ray's second studio album in 1978...which tapped into the sounds of easy-listening and country-politan...a far cry from the sounds coming from this R&B salute.
However, it's a perfect illustration of how eclectic Ray's musical sense happens to be...going from mainstream country music on an album in 1976 to easy-listening in 1977 to early R&B in 1978 and then easy-listening and mellow/smooth crooning performances for his sixteenth studio album later in 1978. The sixteenth studio album from Ray Stevens features one of my all-time favorite cover shots of Ray, too!