Ray Stevens is the most original and popular novelty artist of all time. With an enormous catalog of fun and original tunes, Stevens has been able to enjoy a remarkably long career that has spanned four decades. Everything is Beautiful
includes Stevens takes on such classics as "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and The Beatles' "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window". The album was originally released by Barnaby in 1970 and earned Stevens a Grammy award.
Originally released in 1970 under Barnaby, Unreal!!! is a fantastic compilation of Ray Stevens originals. It features songs as "Monkey See Monkey Do," "Imitation of Life," and the Billboard Top 100 Pop Song "Sunset Strip."
2 LPs on 1 CD: EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL/UNREAL
Personnel: Ray Stevens (piano, background vocals); Ray Stevens; Chip Young, Harold Bradley, Jerry Kennedy (guitar, guitars); Byron Back, Lillian Vann Hunt, Sheldon Kurland, Martin Katahn, Lillian Hunt, David Vanderkooi, Bruce Waterman, Stephanie Woolf, Rex Peer, Marvin Chantry, Gary VanOsdale (strings); Norbert Putnam (bass instrument); Weldon Myrick (steel guitar); George Binkley III, Brenton Banks (strings); Billy Puett, Norman Ray (saxophone); Don Sheffield, Glenn Baxter, George Tidwell (trumpet); Dennis Good, Gene Mullins (trombone); Jerry Carrigan (drums); Farrell Morris (percussion).
Photographer: Keats Tyler.
Arranger: Ray Stevens.
Originally issued on the Barnaby imprint in 1970, Everything Is Beautiful and Unreal!!! showcase a developing Ray Stevens that wasn't so caught up in trying to be a zany humorist with his music. Everything Is Beautiful not only showcases his more somber and melancholic side, but also sports the title track, which is easily regarded as his most well-known composition and biggest hit. The rest of the album is rounded out with several covers, including "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," Dylan's "She Belongs to Me," and a pair of Beatles covers with "Something" and "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window." In contrast to an album largely of covers, Unreal!!! largely consists of Stevens' original works, including the minor hit "Sunset Strip." Kudos to Collectables for issuing some of Ray Stevens' most serious works back to back, rather than attempting to lighten the mood by adding a comedy record, rather than Unreal!!!, as a second disc. ~ Rob Theakston