As I often do I highlight compilation albums issued on Ray Stevens...some I've got in my collection and some I find posted on-line most typically listed on auction sites that I feel the need to comment about or promote through this fan-created blog page.
All-Time Hits is one of those misleading titles that many record companies place on compilation albums. The basic reason is to grab a consumer's eyes...and then once their attention's been obtained the next thing some, not all, but some consumers do is look at the album's photo/picture of the artist. Then the consumer, in the vinyl era, more than likely would flip the album over and read the song selections. Usually a different photo of the artist appeared on the back of the album...a kind of exclusive photo for those that purchased the album. Promos and ads rarely gave the back of album's much, if any, exposure and so a lot of fans that didn't purchase vinyl albums (preferring singles) weren't aware of the practice of having the main publicity photo of the artist on the front of the album and then a secondary photo on the reverse side.
One of the recurring concepts of compilation albums labeled either Greatest Hits, The Very Best of, or All-Time Hits is the use of photos of the artist that, usually, do not match the era in which the bulk of the recordings took place. This is, of course, more common for artists that have had incredible longevity in the music business. Even though there a lot of artists from Ray's generation and those that came before him that have had a massive catalog of compilation albums issued on them I've noticed that the compilations issued on Ray have had some of the most misleading photo's accompanying a release.
A note to collectors is this 1996 compilation includes the original recordings of his early 1960s hits on Mercury. A lot of compilations use the Monument re-recordings but on this collection, since it's affiliated with Mercury, the original recordings are featured.
All-Time Hits is also available in CD format. Although a cassette is perfectly capable of holding a large amount of recordings only 8 appeared on the cassette copy. However, for the CD release, three songs were added. In a move to entice CD sales using the allure of "bonus tracks" the 11 track version of All-Time Hits incorporated 2 additional recordings from the early 1960s and one recording from 1981. The three bonus recordings are "Butch Babarian", "Santa Claus is Watching You", and "One More Last Chance". The reason, well, one of the reasons that I have both the cassette and CD releases is because of my desire, at the time, to have any Ray Stevens release that appeared in retail stores.
Secondly it's because I only had a cassette player at the time...I didn't have a CD player and I definitely didn't have a record player, yet. So, once I got a CD player I found All-Time Hits in CD format and purchased it...the allure being I didn't have any of those songs on CD format at the time. You could say I was slow at getting the latest listening devices. I'm still like that...I don't have an Ipod or Ipad or tablet or whatever the most recent listening device happens to be but I do purchase/download songs on Amazon if I choose to but ordinarily I prefer a CD copy.
The liner notes for the Platinum 1987 album, however, doesn't mention that the recording of "Ahab the Arab" is from 1969. The author mentions the song was a hit in 1962...but this naturally suggests to a new fan that the recording they're hearing is from 1962. I didn't learn that the recording was from 1969 until some point in the 1990s...I had gotten the Mercury cassette titled Funny Man and heard his early '60s recordings for the very first time and that's how I heard "Ahab the Arab", the original recording, for the very first time. The cassette features a bearded Ray Stevens on the cover...looking nothing like he did in the early '60s...which fits in with the overall theme of this blog entry spotlighting compilation albums featuring misleading images of Ray on the cover.