Ray Stevens, Everything Is Beautiful, Barnaby Z12-35005, 1970
Ray Stevens sure has had a career. After all, how many novelty acts are in the Christian Music Hall Of Fame? Able to top the R&B, Pop and Country charts, win Grammys, and have a network TV show, you’d think he’d be regarded as a household name. But probably due to the natural life span of a mostly novelty hit career and a notorious reputation of being a difficult person to do business with tend to keep him as an afterthought today.
This was probably his signature non-novelty record. If there’s one thing Ray Stevens has, it’s a sense of timing. It’s not everyone that could release a memorable Streaking record the week after a guy streaked on live TV at The Oscars. Chosen to host the summer replacement show for Andy Williams in 1970, Ray wrote Everything Is Beautiful for the show’s theme song and it took of like wildfire on the pop charts. It came along at a time when semi-christian themes we’re popping up in the Top 40, and it sounded wonderful next to Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky and Ocean’s Put Your Hand In The Hand. Besides the #1 hit title track, the rest of the album is an odd mix of Rock hits of the day, and Ray Stevens is no Joe Cocker when it comes to them.
Barnaby Records was Andy Williams’ own label. Named for his dog, Williams only really started a record company because he bought the master tapes of the defunct Cadence Records to avoid a competitor from snapping them up, re-releasing them, and competing with his new Columbia recordings. Ray Stevens had the only real hits the label ever released. I suppose the next time I’ll listen to this record will be to calm down after Ray Stevens goes on another public rant about health care reform or climate change to remind myself that everyone is beautiful in their own way.
Cost: $2, $218 Remaining