Ray Stevens - Ray Stevens' Gospel Collection Volume One
STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 153078-22353 LABEL: Gaither Music Group SHD9014 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2014-08-19 RRP: £7.99
Reviewed by Dave Brassington
By any stretch of the imagination Ray Stevens was a music industry maverick. Many will remember his huge UK hits like "Everything Is Beautiful" and "England Swings" while devotees of oddball US hits will no doubt recall "Ahab The Arab" and "Harry The Hairy Ape". But this set from the Gaither Music Group shows another side of the veteran, featuring as it does 10 very well-known gospel songs. In fact four tracks are medleys, including the opener "Swing Down Chariot/Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "The Old Rugged Cross/Rock Of Ages". His big pop hit "Turn Your Radio On" gets an excellent reprise before, as on any Ray Stevens recording, we get something completely different, "The Preacher And The Bear" which is such an idiosyncratic piece full of humour I cannot imagine many other artists attempting, but it is simply right up Ray Stevens street. The album closes with a very unusual evangelistic item "If Jesus Is A Stranger (Check Your Circle Of Friends) which is again something very different. Stevens is truly an artist it is almost impossible to classify musically as he has always been someone forever willing to try new things and experiment. The backing is tastefully orchestrated. Is it pop? Is it country? Is it Southern gospel? Impossible to say really; my only comment is that it is an excellent album. Whilst he is now somewhat advanced in years Ray has NOT lost his sparkle. It would seem we are to get a volume two. All I can say is that I hope it is every bit as enjoyable as this!
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Twelve-time nominee and two-time Grammy Award winner Ray Stevens brings to life all-new renditions of some of the most recognised Gospel classics of our time.
An American icon, Stevens is known for his comedy as well as his musical talent, including his award-winning pop standard Everything Is Beautiful.
An accomplished vocalist, pianist and arranger, he lends his uplifting personality and contagious energy to these endearing songs of faith, bringing joy and comfort to listeners everywhere.