Ray Conniff

You Are the Sunshine of My Life/Laughter in the Rain

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This "two-fer" from the Collectables label includes 1973's You Are the Sunshine of My Life and 1975's Laughter in the Rain. The kitsch enthusiast or novelty seeker will get a lot of pleasure from Ray Conniff's You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Known primarily for orchestral versions of contemporary songs, his recordings during the late '60s and early '70s as the Ray Conniff Singers included many straightforward recordings of current pop hits. This collection contains some of Conniff's most jaw-dropping covers, including "Dueling Voices (Dueling Banjos)," which most will remember from the film Deliverance. If you "get" Ray Conniff and if you are adamant about the difference between him and Lawrence Welk, then this track will be your latest musical addiction. The title track is from Stevie Wonder's 1972 album Talking Book, and other tracks include "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree" popularized by Tony Orlando, Helen Reddy's "Peaceful," Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," and Gladys Knight's "Neither One of Us." Another standout track is "Bah Bah Conniff Sprach (Zarathustra)"! This is a great easy listening pickup. The versions are slightly watered down and "safer," but more true to the originals than you'd expect. A cheerful artifact of the early '70s. Laughter in the Rain doesn't deviate too far from Sunshine's basic premise -- easy listening renditions of mellow gold hits like Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown" and "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin -- but it's just as entertaining and kitsch-worthy. Highlights include "Seasons in the Sun," a track better known by Terry Jacks and the Kingston Trio, which is given the smoothed-over Conniff Singers treatment, resulting in a tale of death that feels more like comfort food than it does a last meal, and Paul Anka's cringe-inducing "(You're) Having My Baby," which in the hands of Conniff sounds more like an outtake from Christopher Guest's folk revival parody A Mighty Wind. Laughter in the Rain is as dependable as the artist himself, a perfect example of a man who understood his place in popular music and executed it accordingly.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:00 Amazon
2 2:11 Amazon
3 3:11 Amazon
4 3:32 Amazon
5 2:38 Amazon
6 3:31 Amazon
7 3:20 Amazon
8 3:28 Amazon
9 2:55 Amazon
10 4:03 Amazon
11 4:21 Amazon
12 3:13 Amazon
13 3:36 Amazon
14 3:33 Amazon
15 3:30 Amazon
16 3:10 Amazon
17 3:33 Amazon
18 2:48 Amazon
3:48 Amazon
20 3:08 Amazon
21 2:50 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick