A little bit of "wacky" can go a long, long way, and as an old fogey who grew up when savagely unfunny singles such as "Ahab The Arab," "The Streak" and "Gitarzan" still regularly got radio airplay, I still view Ray Stevens with more than a little apprehension. Still, he had a more musical side, as well, as heard on the sunshine-y 1970 smash, "Everything Is Beautiful" (a #1 hit on the Pop charts, though not that big in Country) and "Misty." I'll admit, the guy could sell a song, but in general I find his work -- particularly his best-known work -- to be pretty rough going. Regardless, here's a quick look at his work...

Discography - Best-Ofs

Ray Stevens "Greatest Hits" (MCA, 1987)
That Stevens's career has lasted as long as it has (it's actual duration and vigor, however, being a point of contention...) is nothing short of amazing. These recordings come from his mid-1970s commercial peak, when ballads like "Misty" and "Everything Is Beautiful" were big hits, along with savagely unfunny novelty songs such as "Gitarzan," "Shriner's Convention" and "Ahab The Arab," each replete with fake "live" laughter. It's the comedy material that's so appalling: Steven's humor is so weak, and his delivery so bad, that it's stunning the record execs greenlighted this stuff. It's just so lame! The strained humor of the topical tune, "The Streak" (for a while in the '70s, there was a fad of "streaking," or running around naked in public...) was of course complimented by the genuinely creepy humor of "It's Me Again, Margaret," which is about -- oh, it's so funny! -- an obscene phone caller who stalks the gal he leers at all day long. Ho, ho, ho!! My ribs hurt from laughing so hard. Not as hard as my head hurts, though, after listening to all ten tracks on this disc. Ugh.

Ray Stevens "Unreal/Everything Is Beautiful" (Collectables)
This twofer combines two albums recorded at the peak of Stevens' early-'70s fame, Unreal and the smash hit, Everything Is Beautiful, both originally from 1970.

Ray Stevens "Turn Your Radio On/Misty" (Collectables, 2005)
This twofer includes the albums Turn Your Radio On and Misty, from 1972 and '75, respectively.

Ray Stevens "Nashville/Boogity Boogity Boogity" (Collectables, 2005)
Another twofer, collecting the albums Nashville and Boogity Boogity Boogity, from 1973 and '74.

Ray Stevens "The Best Of Ray Stevens" (Mercury-Wing, 1967) (LP)
An early vinyl-era best-of collection, before his countrypolitan salad days.

Discography - Albums

Ray Stevens "The NRC Years" (1960)

Ray Stevens "1837 Seconds Of Humor" (Mercury, 1962) (LP)
Includes "Ahab The Arab."

Ray Stevens/Hal Winters "Ray "Ahab the Arab" Stevens And Hal Winters" (Crown, 1962) (LP)
A cheapo album capitalizing on Steven's novelty-hit status, with additional tracks from the otherwise-anonymous Hal Winters.

Ray Stevens "This Is Ray Stevens" (Mercury, 1963) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Even Stevens" (Monument, 1968)

Ray Stevens "Gitarzan" (Monument, 1969)

Ray Stevens "Have A Little Talk With Myself" (Monument, 1969) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Unreal" (Monument, 1970)

Ray Stevens "Everything Is Beautiful" (1970)

Ray Stevens "Turn Your Radio On" (Barnaby, 1972)

Ray Stevens "Losin' Streak" (Barnaby, 1973) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Nashville" (Barnaby, 1973) (LP) (CD)

Ray Stevens "Boogity Boogity Boogity" (1974)

Ray Stevens "Misty" (1975)

Ray Stevens "Just For The Record" (Warner Brothers, 1976) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Feel The Music" (Warner Brothers, 1977) (LP)

Ray Stevens "The Many Sides Of Ray Stevens" (GRT, 1977) (LP)

Ray Stevens "There Is Something On Your Mind" (Warner, 1978) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Be Your Own Best Friend" (Warner, 1978) (LP)

Ray Stevens "The Feeling's Not Right Again" (1979) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Shriner's Convention" (RCA, 1980) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Oh Lonesome Me" (1981) (LP)

Ray Stevens "One More Last Chance" (RCA, 1981) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Don't Laugh Now" (RCA, 1982) (LP)

Ray Stevens "Turn Your Radio On" (1982)

Ray Stevens "Me" (Mercury, 1983) (LP)

Ray Stevens "He Thinks He's Ray Stevens" (MCA, 1984)
This one was a big hit -- a platinum selling album!

Ray Stevens "I Have Returned" (MCA, 1985)

Ray Stevens "Surely You Joust" (MCA, 1986)

Ray Stevens "Crackin' Up" (MCA, 1987)

Ray Stevens "I Never Made A Record I Didn't Like" (MCA, 1989)

Ray Stevens "Beside Myself" (1989)

Ray Stevens "Lend Me Your Ears" (Curb Records, 1990)

Ray Stevens "#1 With A Bullet" (Curb Records, 1991)

Ray Stevens "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" (MCA Nashville, 1992)

Ray Stevens "Get Serious! The Original Movie Soundtrack" (1994)

Ray Stevens "Live!" (Curb Records, 1995)

Ray Stevens "Do You Wanna Dance?" (Warner Brothers, 1995)

Ray Stevens "The Serious Side Of Ray Stevens" (Warner Brothers, 1995)

Ray Stevens "Cornball" (Warner Brothers, 1995)

Ray Stevens "Hum It" (MCA, 1997)

Ray Stevens "Christmas Through A Different Window" (MCA Nashville, 1997)

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Ray Stevens "Osama-Yo' Mama, The Album" (Curb Records, 2002)

Ray Stevens "New Orleans Moon" (Clyde Records, 2007)

Ray Stevens "Hurricane" (Clyde Records, 2008)

Ray Stevens "Laughter Is The Best Medicine" (Clyde Records, 2008)

Ray Stevens "Ray Stevens Sings Sinatra… Say What??" (Curb Records, 2008)

Ray Stevens "One For The Road" (Clyde Records, 2009)

Ray Stevens "Christmas" (Clyde Records, 2009)

Ray Stevens "A Funny Thing Happened In Church Today" (Clyde Records, 2009)

Ray Stevens "We The People" (Clyde Records, 2010)


Hick Music Index

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