The singer-songwriter-producer’s complete Monument singles, together on one CD for the first time. Includes six US Hot 100 hits.
With a career that has spanned almost 60 years, there isn’t much Ray Stevens doesn’t have on his CV. Singer, session musician, songwriter, arranger, two-time Grammy winner, member of several music Halls Of Fame, primetime TV star, humorist, political activist – not to mention prolific record maker, with a vast number of albums and more than 100 singles to his credit since 1958 – are just a few of the things that have kept the former Harold Ray Ragsdale busy since he formed his first group, the Barons, as a teenager in his hometown of Clarksdale, Georgia in the mid-50s.
Many of the best of those 45s were cut for Nashville’s Monument label, Stevens’ recording home between late 1965 and late 1969. Those singles, many of which have never appeared on CD before, are assembled here for the first time in one collection.
It was at Monument that he was given full creative control over his recording activity for the first time. Although he had made his name with comedic novelties such as ‘Ahab The Arab’ and ‘Harry The Hairy Ape’ at Mercury, there was a serious side to Stevens waiting to get out. Throughout his time with Monument he managed to balance silly and serious in equal measure – and to get hits with both kinds of material. Six of his Monument A-sides reached the Billboard Hot 100 and a further three bubbled under. More than any that preceded them, these are the recordings that set him up for the massive success he would enjoy in the 1970s with recordings such as ‘Everything Is Beautiful’, ‘The Streak’ and ‘Misty’.
The listening experience here is enhanced by a booklet which contains many period illustrations and a pic of every A and B-side. “Face The Music” is an important addition to Stevens’ CD collection and a must for every fan of quality 1960s American pop.