Ray Stevens: Golden LP Series Follow-up Extra...1987...
In this special follow-up Extra I'm spotlighting two 1987 compilation albums from Ray Stevens. Get The Best of Ray Stevens is a 2-LP compilation release advertised on television and in print ads. The project was released on vinyl and cassette as well as CD. The collection features 10 songs and it was released between Greatest Hits and Crackin' Up. Most of the songs on this LP were previously released on Greatest Hits while much of the rest were released on the forthcoming Greatest Hits, Volume Two the same year. As I've written previously, I saw the television commercial for Get The Best of Ray Stevens twice and it was always midway through...I never saw the commercial all the way through. Ironically, in this age of You Tube, the commercial hadn't found it's way on-line yet. I'd love to see it again...all the way through. Considering that this was a 2-LP release, each side of the vinyl is labeled accordingly: Side 1, Side 2, Side 3, and Side 4. I assume the LP is titled as such because of it's direct marketing approach. Rather than titling it Greatest Hits or 20 Hits, I assume it's named for what was most likely heard throughout the commercial by whoever did the voice-over.
Greatest Hits, Volume Two came along after the release of Crackin' Up. This particular Volume Two collection took much of what was left over on Get The Best of Ray Stevens (songs that didn't get spotlighted on the first Greatest Hits release from earlier in 1987) but to make Volume Two enticing the label added his current single, "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?", as the opening track and a brand new recording, "Mama's in the Sky With Elvis", as track five. These two 1987 recordings weren't featured on Greatest Hits or Get The Best of Ray Stevens. The first Greatest Hits of 1987 was on the Country Album chart for more than 20 weeks and it would eventually become a Gold and later, Platinum, seller. GetThe Best of Ray Stevens, a direct-market release, was ineligible to chart due to it's lack of retail availability. Greatest Hits, Volume Two charted far more modestly than it's predecessor and had a chart run of a couple of months starting in the fall of 1987, reaching it's peak early in 1988. This Volume Two features the edited radio version of "The Ballad of the Blue Cyclone" as well as the single version of "The Haircut Song" which cuts out the visit to the second barber. The unedited versions of both songs can be found on Ray's 1985 album, I Have Returned.
Ray's never recorded a song that there isn't something about it I like. He's never made a record that I didn't like, either, which sort of leads up to the next studio album from Ray Stevens. I'll be writing/commenting about the 1988 LP soon so be practicing your rope tricks in the meantime.