2007   FEBRUARY 28   #059

Robert Ravis - New Favorites of Robert Ravis

01 Riding On A Sunbeam (1:51)
02 Where Are You Darling (1:02)
03 When The Moonbeams Veil Las Vegas (1:29)
04 How Many Hearts (1:14)
05 The Longest Road (1:16)
06 My Believing Heart (1:20)
07 What's Love (1:05)
08 Just A Pilgrim (1:10)
09 Goodnight My Love (1:09)
10 Down By The Bayou (1:43)
11 Where Breezes Whisper (1:26)
12 Let's Go, Santa Is Here (1:34)
13 In My Heart There's A Garden (1:22)
14 Give A Guy A Minute (1:20)
15 You Lovable Imp (1:05)
16 Going Thru This World Of Sorrow (2:19)
17 Let Me Hold You (1:09)
18 What Makes The World Go 'Round (1:00)
19 Because You Love Me (1:11)
20 Lonesome Girl (1:39)
21 Blondie (1:27)
22 Patience (1:33)
23 Love Unfurled (1:41)
24 A Bit Of Sky (1:37)
25 Just 'Cause You're You (1:26)
26 Precious Loved One (1:24)
27 I Wish I Never Had Known Love (1:14)

I'm always on the lookout for song-poem singles and albums, and while I really love Rodd Keith and the whole Preview/MSR sound, I tend to be drawn to the more obscure labels and performers (Even with Rodd Keith, I generally prefer his Film City "Rod Rogers" tracks). With some exceptions, I'm not one to usually enjoy song-poems from an ironic "so bad it's great" point of view. Instead, I usually like a song-poem because something about it, musically, vocally or lyrically, grabs me in some way. Some have not found there to be much difference - plenty of people have found my most beloved song-poems to be just shy of unlistenable.

But here we have something that may be just a few steps beyond unlistenable. Having found a most enjoyable, if completely bizarre, song-poem album by Tony Rogers, on the Star-Crest label, several years ago, I was excited to find a second Star-Crest album, "New Favorites of Robert Ravis", a few months ago. It turned out to be perhaps the most god-awful album I've ever heard.

First, these are nothing more than demos, 27 songs in under 40 minutes. Pick any two songs, and you're likely to find that they are virtually the same song, musically speaking. The way the pianist plays, the piano parts sound a little like rejected Tom Lehrer accompaniments, upbeat marches and melancholy waltzes.

Best (or worst) of all, the singer appears to have very little ability to sight-read. It's a song-poem truism that songs were recorded 20 or 30 at a time, with one, sight-read run through of each. This album bears that truth out. Despite the fact that the pianist is almost always playing the melody over those waltz and march settings, Robert Ravis is frequently unable to find the melody, or even anything close to a note in the same key as the tune. Repeatedly, he slides around aiming for the note he's just missed.

The first time I listened to this album, I kept waiting to see if there could be something even more jaw-droppingly incompetent, and I was never disappointed. I hope you find it just as amazing as I have.

- Contributed by: Bob Purse

Images: Front Cover, Back Cover

Media: 12" LP
Album: New Favorites of Robert Ravis
Label: Starcrest Publicity Series, Star-Crest Recording Co., Hollywood, California
Catalog: NFR-7