October 28, 2012

Ray Stevens: Golden LP Series, Part Fifteen...

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 Is Something On Your Mind is one of those rare kind of Ray Stevens albums in several kinds of ways. On the one hand there's only eight recordings...there's also extensive personal commentary from Ray found on the front of the LP as to why he recorded the album and there's commentary on the back of the LP as Ray discusses each and every recording...stating the historical facts, if any, about the songs. In addition to this he also refers to several of his early R&B music heroes and offers an insight into the musician-arranger side of him as he relates how he set about choosing which sort of instrumentation to use, or not use, on several of the songs. He's very detailed in his essays/commentaries and I think it'll be surprising or revealing to those not aware of this side of Ray Stevens. There were no commercial singles released from this LP...I do not know if that was intentional or not. This is why you won't see any song from this LP appear on any Ray Stevens singles discography list and it's probably why the three Warner Brothers CD's on Ray in 1995 referred to the material picked from this LP as "previously unreleased" in the credits. Ray covers The Clovers, Bobby Marchan, The Dominoes, Ray Charles, and others along the way.

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.

Lastly, but yet certainly one of the more fascinating facts surrounding the recording of this album, is the limited amount of studio musicians used. Also, it appears as if the entire album was recorded fairly quickly. Six of the recordings feature the same drummer (Jerry Carrigan), acoustic guitar player (Johnny Christopher), and recording engineer (Charles Tallent). Two of the recordings feature a different musician and engineer line-up. Mark Casstevens does the electric guitar on "Old Faithful Trilogy" and "Money Honey". Jerry Kroon plays the drums on those two recordings while the engineer for both recordings is Stuart Keathley. Credited musicians on every selection are Ray Stevens, of course, as well as bass player Jack Williams and electric guitar player, Reggie Young.  Ray is credited with the keyboard and synthesizer as well as percussion. So, the way it stands, the total number of musicians participating on six of the recordings on this LP are five: Ray Stevens, Jack Williams, Reggie Young, Johnny Christopher, and Jerry Carrigan while Mark Casstevens and Jerry Kroon are featured on two of the recordings. You won't see a musician line-up as intimate or in the single digits on any number of albums hitting the market today but Ray always seems to keep it close and he used nearly all the same musicians and background vocalists for the bulk of his albums, too.

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!


  1. I tried like the dickens to find this album on it's original release. Even special ordered it only to be told they couldn't get it. I'm guessing that with no singles being released, the LP pressings must have been the bare minimum.

    1. I bought my copy on eBay several years ago when it came up for sale. I couldn't find it on any other on-line site at the time that offered vinyl albums but it came up on eBay and I bought it for it's asking price rather than placing a bid on it.

      I'm baffled why you had trouble finding it during it's original release...it looks like it would've been available anywhere albums were sold.

      In his album discography it shows his 1977 album charted as did his second 1978 album but this particular R&B salute didn't chart. The same holds true for the LOSIN' STREAK album...it didn't make any album chart yet the LP released before and after it reached the charts.


Show your appreciation for the music of Ray Stevens...leave a comment...