Face The Music:complete Monument Singles 1965-70
|Nuovo a partire da||Usato da|
|3||Devil may care|
|4||Make a few memories|
|5||Freddie Feelgood (And his funky little five piece band)|
|6||There's one in every crowd|
|7||Answer me, my love|
|8||Mary my secretary|
|10||For he's a jolly good fellow|
|12||Face the music|
|13||Isn't it lonely together|
|14||The great escape|
|16||Bagpipes That's My Bag|
|17||Along came Jones|
|19||Sunday mornin' comin' down|
|21||Have a little talk with myself|
|23||The fool on the hill|
|24||I'll be your baby tonight|
A US chart artist for more than 50 years, singer-songwriter-arranger-producer Ray Stevens is one of the best-remembered pop names of the late 60s and early 70s thanks to his continuous presence on the charts and regular TV appearances (including his own show). After early success with Mercury, Stevens recorded for Nashville's Monument Records for nearly five years from late 1965 to early 1970. His tenure with the label provided a stepping stone to the worldwide success he would enjoy in the early 70s with hits 'The Streak', 'Everything Is Beautiful' and 'Misty'. Six of the singles here made the US Hot 100, including the million-selling 1969 Top 10 hit 'Gitarzan'. Stevens' Monument singles offer a mixture of broad comedy and serious social commentary. As enjoyable as they are diverse, "Face The Music" marks the first occasion on which both sides of all 12 have appeared in the same collection. All 24 sides are illustrated in the booklet, along with extensive memorabilia and comprehensive annotation.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Dimensioni prodotto : 14.4 x 12.5 x 1.19 cm; 102.06 grammi
- Produttore : Ace
- Riferimento produttore : 229411
- Data di prima pubblicazione : 2016
- Etichetta : Ace
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- ASIN : B01AKR0XGS
- Numero di dischi : 1
- Recensioni dei clienti:
Le recensioni migliori da altri paesi
Next, we need a complete MERCURY label singles collection from Ray Stevens. Some of the best tracks from his Mercury LPs could also be included.
This album covers the singles he released on Fred Foster's Monument label. This was a turning point in his career. At Mercury Records he was primarily known for comedy songs. His early singles at Monument were of a more serious matter. Yet the first that charted was a novelty song, Freddie Feel Good.
His first serious hit was Unwind. Mr. Businessman was inspired by a real life business deal gone bad. Isn't It Lonely Together later got covered by O.C. Smith. I consider this one of Ray's best vocal performances. Another classic moment was his version of Sunday Morning Coming Down. Yet Johnny Cash would have the bigger hit.
The big goof was substituting a remake for perhaps his biggest Monument hit, Gitarzan. How did this happen? Ace Records didn't answer my email. Thankfully most Ray Stevens fans already own at least one copy of the original. That's sarcasm, folks. It's one song that appears on most Ray Stevens compilations.
A minor goof may involve Yakety Yak. This cover was the B-side of Along Came Jones. Both songs were Leiber/Stoller compositions and hits for the Coasters. Ray's version led off the Gitarzan album, which sounded like a live concert. In actuality, it was a studio album with applause
added. I'm doubtful that the single version included the announcer that introduced Ray. Maybe someone owns the single, and can confirm that.
Record companies issuing Ray Stevens collections should consider what other companies have already issued. Varese Sarabande reissued two of Ray's Monument albums on CDs, with some bonus tracks. Unfortunately, they didn't reissue the third album, Have A Little Talk With Myself. This album includes a few tracks. Some may be on CD for the first time. Still, I'd much preferred the entire album, along with the rare singles.
If this album had been available for individual download, I could have saved a few dollars. There were only about 5 tracks I didn't already own on CD. (His version of Fool on the Hill had previously appeared on a compilation of country Beatle covers.) Some I'd only previously heard on YouTube. A-B-C's reminded me of a Burt Bacharach arrangement. Ironically, Ray turned down a chance to record Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. He later did a cover version. B.J. Thomas also recorded Mr. Businessman. Other good rare singles are Mary My Secretary and Make Your Own Memories.
The CD has some good liner notes. I would have included more of the original advertisements. There are still many Ray Stevens recordings on various labels that have yet to get a CD reissue. Hopefully some companies will look into remedying that. But please give us songs that we don't already own several copies of! That got old a long time ago.
As the CD's title states this is a collection of Ray Stevens recordings during a 5-year period (1965-1970). 12 A-side single releases by Ray on Monument Records and the 12 accompanying B-side recordings make up the 24 songs found here. The song that gets the honor of being part of the CD title, "Face the Music", is one of the great ballads found on the collection and it originally appeared on Ray's 1968 LP, Even Stevens, and eventually found itself as the B-side of "Mr. Businessman". Ray's 5 year stay on Monument Records represents a period of change, growth, adaptability, irony, career flourish, and as always an aura of unpredictability.
Ray had actually been signed to Monument Records for a couple of years prior to the label issuing their first commercial single on him late in 1965. If I remember correctly from research I did years ago Ray had an exclusive recording contract with Mercury Records but he was free to join Monument Records for non-recording endeavors (producing, arranging, session work). Once the recording contract expired with Mercury Records then Monument was now able to begin releasing commercial singles from Ray at long last.
The debut single, "Party People", arrived late in 1965 backed with "A-B-C". The single didn't reach the Hot 100...in fact the first three single releases on Ray didn't reach the Hot 100 (some Bubbled Under). A fourth single, "Freddie Feelgood", did manage to make a Hot 100 appearance in 1966. Ray's novelty songs happen to have a life of their own. Even though statistics say that the song failed commercially (peaking in the bottom five of the Hot 100) it's nevertheless a Ray Stevens classic...more about this later...
Ray's fifth Monument release, "Unwind", became his highest charting single for Monument to date...peaking halfway up the pop chart. The single that really set things in motion came next...1968's "Mr. Businessman". It reached the Top-40 half of the Hot 100. After it's release Ray had suddenly become a 'superstar' and had achieved significant acceptance as a serious pop vocalist rather than being seen as a zany novelty act that DJ's didn't take seriously. A lot of the reason for the lack of success (airplay speaking) of Ray's recordings is due to the lack of acceptance of various radio disc jockey's. I continue to hold the opinion that Ray's songs have a lot of appeal and are highly entertaining but lack of airplay hinders any chance of something becoming a hit song.
A lot of listeners, unfortunately, never really had a chance to hear much of Ray's Monument output simply because radio stations didn't expose the material to potential record buyers. A shame, for sure, but this CD goes a long way at exposing the single releases on Monument Records. Earlier I mentioned that "Freddie Feelgood" has since become something of a Ray Stevens classic in spite of it not actually being 'a huge hit' at the time of it's release. The reissuing of Ray's catalog over a period of 2 decades on a variety of compilation albums has caused many fans to hear obscurities and near-hits tucked away on Greatest Hits and The Very Best Of collections and in their subsequent appearances on compilation CD's a song like "Freddie Feelgood" or "Unwind" have become just as familiar to Ray Stevens fans as "Gitarzan" happens to be.
Speaking of "Gitarzan" I must address a major flaw in this otherwise flawless project. The biggest hit single for Ray during his Monument stay happened to be the million selling Top-10 pop hit, "Gitarzan". The single hit the market in 1969 backed by "Bagpipes, That's My Bag". Unfortunately, bizarre, baffling, and perhaps one could say inexcusable is the major gaff on part of the record company of not doing their research. Rather than having 1969's "Gitarzan" on this CD they instead offer Ray's 1995 recording of the song. It's the audio recording for the official music video which made it's debut on Ray's direct-to-VHS movie, Get Serious!, in 1995.
Yes, you read that correctly. It's puzzling because "Gitarzan" appears on so many compilation CD's and given the work that went into putting this project together you'd think that a release celebrating Ray's Monument recordings would at least feature the original recording of "Gitarzan" instead of placing the 1995 re-recording on there. The final three recordings on the CD, "Little Woman", "The Fool on the Hill", and "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" are a trio of recordings that mark their CD debut. Each song comes from Ray's 1969 LP, Have a Little Talk with Myself, in which the title track is song 21 on this CD. That particular 1969 LP has never been remastered and re-released onto CD.
In the liner notes the author makes mention of various chart positions of the songs but there are several places within the essay that focus too much on the statistic/commercial side of a recording...much is made of the fact that a lot of his singles didn't "make the charts" but there isn't any reason given. As I touched on earlier a lot of the reason behind a song not making it is due to the airplay, or lack thereof, of any recording. If radio isn't playing a song and exposing it to people then chances are it isn't going to sell...and if something doesn't sell then it can't become commercially successful. Ray's lack of massive airplay was never due to him not being popular as an entertainer and it's never been a case of him not being talented. Simply put, influential radio disc jockeys, I feel, had preconceived ideas about his music and a false belief that people only wanted to hear his comical recordings, which some disc jockeys never warmed up to anyhow, and therefore disc jockeys didn't support him as much as they could have.
This collection of Monument recordings serves as an introduction to the sounds of Ray Stevens during a highly creative and frenetic time in pop music in general. Balancing the novelty singer vs. pop crooner artistic tug of war is clearly on display here from start to finish. One of his most powerful vocal performances is "The Minority"...just listen to him belt out the lyrics! It appeared on his 1968 album but ended up as a B-side of one of his 1969 releases, "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down". The artistic tug of war would continue on into the 1980s for Ray Stevens. Although he had his fair share of serious hit songs by the time his stay at Monument came to a close in 1970 he more or less remained an enigma to music critics throughout the coming decades. Critics and disc jockey's alike never really knowing if he's pop or country...or if he's to be taken seriously or if he's joking around...the thing that gets lost in all of it is Ray's incredible versatility. If someone has a difficult time labeling a singer as strictly "pop", "country", "comedy", etc. then all that can be said of such an artist is that they're something more than that...they're an Entertainer!