April 21, 2014

This Week in Ray Stevens History: 1965

Hello to all the Ray Stevens fans...in this installment of the blog I'm taking a look at this week in Ray Stevens history...1965...almost 49 years ago to the day. I happened to be doing my usual searching and scouring of the internet for anything about Ray Stevens that I may find interesting to highlight and I came across a brief article detailing April 1965. It was during this week in 1965 that news surfaced of Ray signing a contract with Monument Records...but there's more to the story.

The article points out that the contract was an exclusive record producing contract. His recordings would still be issued on Mercury Records. I assume this special and unusual contract (an artist signed by 2 record labels) lasted perhaps half a year because a commercial single from Ray, on Monument Records, surfaced later on in 1965. That single happened to be "Party People"...from the pen of Joe South. The single was also released overseas in the United Kingdom and Australia and it clearly shows 1965 as the year of release on the 45rpm. Some on-line sources say the single was released in America in November 1965 and overseas in January 1966. The other side of the single is "A-B-C", a sing-a-long penned by Ray Stevens.

If you search You Tube there are several channels that upload obscure and regional pop and R&B songs of the mid and late '60s. Several uploads of songs that Ray either produced, arranged, or wrote for Monument (sometimes he did all three in one single release) have popped up on You Tube over the years. I have shared some of them on this blog. Some may still be available and some may have vanished...that's the nature of video uploading...but I did a check and a couple of them are still on-line. Search You Tube for "Ray Stevens Monument Records" or do a Google Video search using the same key phrase and you'll find whatever is still on-line to see.

Fast forwarding from 1965 to 2014...

I posted a review of the Ray Stevens Nashville book here and then copied/pasted it over on Amazon's product page. I posted it back on April 16th. You can read my review, in case you missed it, HERE. Of course, since you're a fan of Ray Stevens, I assume you'll also decide whether or not you'll purchase the book now or wait until later. It's $13.30 plus shipping and handling. Ray had written and released a song called "Nashville" in 1973...

He made a music video of it some 40 years later, in September 2013. He changed some of the lyrics, which was necessary, because the original lyrics featured some dated references to people/places.

If you're familiar with Ray's Nashville book by now, pay close attention to the skyline behind Ray in the opening seconds of the video...and then look at the cover of Ray's book.

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