Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Extensive Cross- section of Johnnie Ray's Career Hits
patricia m dryburgh | 02/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although this collection has since been eclypsed by the two boxed sets chronicling Johnnie Ray's extensive range, this is an impressive offering. It has examples of the many sides of Mr. Ray although it is heavy on the novelty tunes with not enough of what I think made his style so memorable. I would have liked to have seen a little more blues and jazz numbers. Nobody could deliver a soulful lyric like Johnnie Ray. However, as a collection it is still worth while if the collector does not cheat themselves out of witnessing what made this performer so great, his passionate delivery of heartfelt blues and jazz. Don't let this be the only Ray Cd in your collection, but search out the others that are more representative of his unique style. Dispite the reservations due to the subsequent boxed sets available, this is an excellent CD and well worth having."
patricia m dryburgh | 08/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"a sometimes forgotten step on the way to rock and roll,cool stuff,you should offer more titles."
Too Many Legitimate Hits Missing In Favour Of Obscure Cuts
patricia m dryburgh | 09/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bear Family of Germany certainly doesn't skimp when it comes to liner notes provided with their releases, in this case a 24-page booklet that includes twelve pages of detailed background information written in February 1990 by freelance writer/musician Peter Grendysa, numerous photos of Ray as he dramatically records in the studio. and a complete discography of the contents by Richard Weize.
But Bear also has this habit of filling out their volumes with a mix of the songs most remember for the artist concerned couple with selections that few, if any, even knew had been recorded. This one is no exception. In addition, the tracks are arranged in a haphazard manner with no bearing on their time of recording/release.
The first track, for example, is his spring 1957 hit Yes Tonight Josephine which, with the backing of Ray Conniff & His Orchestra & Chorus, went to # 12 Billboard Pop Top 100 b/w No Wedding Today - and that's at track 11! Then comes Just Walking In The Rain which, again with Conniff backing, peaked at # 2 in the fall of 1956 b/w In The Candlelight, but that's omitted. Track 3 was a 1955 non-hit, while Johnnie's Comin' Home, with Paul Weston & His Orchestra, jst made the Top 100 at # 100 in November 1955. b/w Love, Love, Love (also not here).
At track 5 is Look Homeward Angel which, as a B-side, made it to # 36 in early 1957, while the A-side, You Don't Owe Me A Thing, went to # 10 and is at track 10. Both had the backing of the Conniff orchestra and chorus. Tracks 6 and 7, both duets with Frankie Laine, went nowhere, track 8 is a faster version of a 1958 hit, Up Until Now. which peaked at # 81 in September 1958 and is at track 20. The B-side, No Regrets, is not here. How Long Blues at track 9 was another miss, while Build Your Love (On A Strong Foundation) topped out at # 58 in late summer 1957 b/w Street Of Memories (track 13), both with the Conniff band.
Tracks 14 to 19 are obscure (even for the most ardent of Johnnie Ray fans) non-hits, and so here we are, more than half-way through the album and we still haven't heard his first monster hit from late 1951/early 1952, Cry, which surfaces at track 27 while its flipside, The Little White Cloud That Cried, is at track 26. Billed to Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads, and with the backing of the Hutch Davie orchestra, the A-side went to # 1 Pop, where it stayed for ELEVEN weeks, and # 1 R&B, while the flip got to # 2 Pop/# 6 R&B.
And, while providing tracks 21 to 25, which are five more cuts that are not among his best, they ignore his next seven hits after Cry/Little White Cloud, a couple of them huge ones indeed, as Please Mr. Sun made it to # 6 in early 1952, and its B-side, Here Am I - Broken-Hearted, peaked at # 8, What's The Use? settled at # 13 in May (all three with The Four Lads and the Jimmy Carroll orchestra) and, in June 1952, Walkin' My Baby Back Home got to # 4. The late 1952 hits they do provide, A Full-Time Job b/w May Says, Pa Says, both duets with Doris Day, were relatively minor by comparison, reaching # 20 and 23 respectively.
They then ignore the next seven charters, including Somebody Stole My Gal, which reached # 8 in spring 1953, and include the April 1954 # 10 Such A Night and the June 1954 # 14 Hernando's Hideaway.
In the final analysis, a pretty decent release, all things considered, but with so many obscure cuts and equally so many recognizable tunes missing, not quite 5 stars."