Good Thursday morning...on March 25th there will be a CD release of a compilation album on Ray Stevens titled The Rock and Roll Show. The original release, from 1971, featured 9 performances lifted from Ray's 1962 debut album for Mercury Records: 1,837 Seconds of Humor. Ray's first Top-40 single about snake oil salesman Jeremiah Peabody is here...in all it's glory: "Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills".
Since the CD won't be issued until March 25th I obviously can't say too much about any technical information such as sound quality or liner note availability and accuracy, etc. etc. I have the vinyl album of The Rock and Roll Show...it was originally released on a label called Pickwick Records. The album's cover art features an illustration of an ecstatic looking Ray Stevens above an artist's rendering of what we are to assume is Fatima from "Ahab the Arab". In Ray's left hand are two candy bars, Hershey and 5th Avenue. For those not familiar with this particular collection you'll be able to see the cover art for yourselves when you click the Amazon LINK. Hopefully on release day more information will come out on whether or not the project will have liner notes. There's no information on whether or not this will be available in Mp3.
The commercial availability of Ray's Mercury recordings from the early '60s are scarce but it seems like every 4 or 5 years Mercury or one of their subsidiaries, an Independent label, or an overseas label, will issue his early '60s recordings in limited quantity and then in a blink of an eye, without much publicity whatsoever of their availability, the recordings quietly go "out of print" once again. This leaves some fans who may not have an abundance of Ray's early '60s recordings having to track them down on eBay.
I have two record players and the main reason I purchased the first one was to hear a lot of the Ray Stevens songs I have on vinyl (oh yes...in yet another display of my zealous appreciation of Ray Stevens I bought vinyl albums and singles of Ray long before I had a record player!). The only way, at the time, to hear a lot of his 1970's and early 1980's recordings was to own the actual vinyl copies since the music hadn't made it's way to CD, and later, Mp3 yet. Even now there are still a lot of recordings of Ray that are still only available on vinyl...specifically I'm referring to single-only releases from the '50s and '60s in addition to a large collection of recordings he did for Warner Brothers and RCA (1976-1982) that mysteriously remain commercially unavailable in either CD or Mp3 format.
The Rock and Roll Show features the following 9 songs: "Jeremiah Peabody's Green and Purple Pills", "A Hermit Named Dave", "Julius Played The Trumpet", "The Rock and Roll Show", "Saturday Night at the Movies", "Ahab the Arab", "PFC Rhythm and Blues Jones", "Popeye and Olive Oil", and "Scratch My Back".