Bob & Ray

Throw a Stereo Spectacular

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Bob & Ray's first album for RCA Victor, Bob & Ray Throw a Stereo Spectacular, is actually a sampler record for the label's Living Stereo line with a handful of comedy bits appearing between cuts from other albums in the series. Bob & Ray's portion depicts their visit to the castle of Dr. Ahkbar, a mad scientist (voiced by Bob Elliot) whose bizarre experiments give the comedians an excuse to fool around with stereo sound effects. Listening with headphones is advantageous, but most of the humor holds up independently of the stereo effects. The one exception is "Bob and Ray in the Laboratory," which consists of practically nothing but sound effects. The music ranges from the orchestral instrumental pop of George Melachrino, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, and Skitch Henderson to vocal performances by Abbe Lane and Julie Andrews. Richard Leiber plays "The First Noel" on the pipe organ, Lena Horne performs the suggestive "New-Fangled Tango" live in concert, and Harry Belafonte's Belafonte Singers contribute the folk song "The Ox Drivers." The gleefully cacophonous Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band takes the prize for providing the most unusual musical selection, but the overall program is extremely diverse. Whether Living Stereo collectors want to hear Bob & Ray -- or Bob & Ray fans want to hear a Living Stereo sampler -- is another matter, but the comedy and music are enjoyable.

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