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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A study in contrasts

    This collection featuring the individual talents of Ray Stevens and Roger Miller is a good collection of songs but the label didn't really give a lot of spotlight on the signature songs of Ray Stevens.

    What the label did was compile 10 songs...5 songs from each singer. The label, in my opinion, preferred to include songs that the public at large are very familiar with when it comes to Roger Miller. "King of the Road", "Dang Me", "Engine, Engine Number Nine", "England Swings", and "Chug-a-Lug" are usually the songs that the public at large who are aware of Roger Miller typically think of.

    Roger was a wonderful songwriter and a funny entertainer. He managed to get a lot of his non-comical songs recorded through his connections on Music Row in Nashville, TN...Ray Stevens, on the other hand, has always had a distinct writing style, and, as a result, a lot of his non-comical songs were usually tailor made just for his own performing style as well. In other words the non-comical songs Stevens wrote generally suited himself and by and large the songs couldn't be adapted by other performers.

    The songs on this CD that were chosen to represent Ray Stevens were mostly lifted from his pseudo-live album from 1969, titled GITARZAN. Four of the five songs on here from Ray Stevens come from that 1969 album where he not only re-recorded more livelier versions of "Ahab the Arab" and "Harry the Hairy Ape" but he also did versions of Coasters songs. One of those, "Yakety Yak", is featured here. It's a very good performance but it isn't a song that most people will be familiar with by Ray Stevens. The same is also true for his version of "Alley Oop".

    The last song on this collection, by Ray Stevens, is from 1961. It represents an official hit recording, too, instead of a later re-recording. As I was referring to earlier, I have no idea why the label didn't use signature songs from Ray Stevens like "The Streak" or "Everything Is Beautiful" or "Misty"...songs that the public would be more familiar with.

    The songs from Ray Stevens that are on here are all good performances...Ray, in my opinion, was always years ahead of his time as far as sound quality and innovative recording techniques are concerned. The only draw back is the label not really spotlighting the songs Ray is most famous for.

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