Ray Stevens

Misty: The Very Best of Ray Stevens [Empire]

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This affordable import offers 22 of Ray Stevens' late '60s and early to mid-'70s recordings, including his biggest hits "The Streak" and "Misty," as well as several other charting singles. The collection offers a good balance between Stevens' comedy -- which combines the silliest aspects of Roger Miller's and Jerry Reed's novelty records -- and his straight material. The serious songs, including "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," "A Mama and a Papa," and the original recording of "Sunday Morning Coming Down," demonstrate Stevens' skill as a balladeer, a talent that is often overlooked in the face of his popular comedy recordings. The novelties are something that most listeners will either love or hate depending on their affinity for dumb humor, with Stevens' remake of "Along Came Jones" being one of his better comedy efforts. Misty hits all the high points and has more tracks than most domestic collections without being more expensive, which makes it a superior anthology.

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