Originally created 07/10/98

Hits keep flying for Raven



In truth, however, it should be titled 15 Favorites and 5 Hope-To-Be Favorites since it contains 15 previously released songs and five new ones.

"The label came up with that name," said Mr. Raven in a phone call.

For 20 Favorites, Mr. Raven said Capitol combined some unreleased recording sessions he did for the company from 1989 to 1991 with some of his hit singles and previously released album cuts to offer "basically two albums for the price of one."

Among the hit songs in this collection are Sooner or Later, In a Letter to You, Island, Bayou Boys, Zydeco Lady and his classic composition Thank God for Kids, originally a 1982 hit for the Oak Ridge Boys.

Most singers are lucky to have just one collection of greatest hits released. This marks the sixth album to feature Mr. Raven's best-known songs.

It follows The Best of Eddy Raven, released by RCA Records in 1988; Best of Eddy Raven, on MCA Records in 1990; Greatest Hits, on Warner Bros. Records, also in 1990; and Best of Eddy Raven, on Liberty Records (a division of Capitol) in 1992.

The Louisiana native, who played high school football in Metter, Ga., under his real name, Edward Futch, remains one of country music's busiest artists.

He was seen last year in the music video of the Bellamy Brothers' Cajun-flavored release Catahoula, along with fellow guest artist Jo-El Sonier.

"Howard and David (Bellamy) have been big buddies of mine for a long time," Mr. Raven said. "They asked me to help with their Cajun song. We filmed it at a Florida fish camp that doubled for a Louisiana bayou. It had the same feel as Louisiana. The water looked the same, but the people in the area talked differently."

Mr. Raven has released two music videos of his own based on the singles Johnny's Got a Pistol and Somebody's Tearin' the Flag from his new Capitol album.

Matraca Berg, who wrote the 1997 Country Music Association's Song of the Year (Strawberry Wine), co-wrote Johnny's Got a Pistol with Gary Harrison and Curtis Stone. Mr. Raven wrote the words and music to the patriotic Somebody's Tearin' the Flag."

In addition to his music projects, Mr. Raven also serves on the Film and Entertainment Commission for the state of Tennessee and has been marketing his new Eddy Raven's Mexi-Cajun Gourmet Sauce.

"It's cayenne pepper and pure garlic juice mixed, not just vinegar and water like a lot of those sauces," Mr. Raven said. "I just got it out on the market. I sell it over the Internet (www.gatalent.com) and at my concerts on the road. It's got a kick and tastes good."

Whenever he has the opportunity, Mr. Raven also likes to encourage and help new talent, just as the late Bob Luman did for him. Mr. Luman was a '60s and '70s country star known for his singles Let's Think About Living, When You Say Love and the original release of Lonely Women Make Good Lovers, later re-recorded by Mr. Luman's former band member Steve Wariner.

"Bob taught me how to listen to the music and make music that folks like," Mr. Raven said. "He taught me how to stand up for myself in the music business. We played a lot of baseball together and performed together for five weeks in Las Vegas a year before he died.

"I also was with him two weeks before he died at his house," Mr. Raven added. "He was such a music stylist who took over a stage. You just had to stand up, step back and watch as he kicked butt."

Sound bite

To hear part of Eddy Raven's Bayou Boys off his Capitol Records album Eddy Raven: 20 Favorites, call INFOLINE at 442-4444 and press 8100. Callers outside Augusta must dial area code 803.