Ray Stevens

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Ray Stevens

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There are more Ray Stevens compilations than you can shake a stick at, but most are shoddily assembled rubbish. Hip-O's 2004 collection 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection is not. It stands apart from the pack by offering all his big novelty hits from the '60s and early '70s, from "Ahabe the Arab" to "The Streak," in a logical, listenable fashion. While Rhino's 1997 20-track compilation The Best of Ray Stevens remains the most generous Stevens overview, this has all the truly big hits -- with the arguable exceptions of "Unwind" and "Santa Claus Is Watching You" -- in a cheaper and more concise fashion. And, when regarding novelties, conciseness is sometimes preferable since a little can go a long, long way, which is why some listeners may choose this comp over the Rhino set.

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