March 25, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville and my DVR...

Hello all of the Ray Stevens out there! I've never claimed to be an expert in technology and so tonight I come sharing some embarrassing moments on my part. For months I've been awaiting for the debut of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville on one of the local PBS stations in the area. A couple of weeks ago I set up my DVR to record the program...I woke up Saturday night around 9pm and found out that the episode didn't tape!! March 25th (tonight) is the night it debuted on the local PBS station. Mad, upset, embarrassed...I decided to dive into the specifics/settings of the DVR. 

On the menu I selected recording options. A page opened up and there's an option for recording "new episodes" and one for recording "all episodes". The setting was checked for "new episodes" (it's default setting). Then, in a brain storm, I possibly realized the reason tonight's episode of Ray's television series didn't record. 

In the program description for the show it lists it's original air-date (last year). Remember, in case you all forgot, PBS is re-airing all of the episodes that originally aired on RFD-TV the last couple of seasons. So, given that the program description didn't list it as a "new episode" but instead listed a previously aired date I'm assuming that's the reason the DVR didn't tape the program. So, as an experiment, I selected "all episodes" and hit the save setting button. At the moment the DVR menu has next Saturday's episode scheduled for taping!! I'll give a report next Saturday night (April 1st) and let you all know if the DVR taped the episode or not. I'll be sure to watch the episode, too, as it's airing just in case the DVR doesn't tape it. Oh yes, I learned my lesson...but yet, as I pointed out, I never claimed to be an expert in technology.

March 5, 2017

Ray Stevens sings "Misty"...1976...

Hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens! I'm sure those of you in the Myrtle Beach area attended the Ray Stevens concert at The Alabama Theater last night (Saturday March 4th). Hopefully those that attended will make commentary on social media sites at some point so there can be some documentation about it.

I'm anxiously awaiting the debut of Ray Stevens' CabaRay Nashville on a local PBS affiliate in my area. I've been aware of this upcoming debut for several months. Ray's series once aired on RFD but it moved to scattered PBS affiliates across the country this past January. A lot of stations in the South and Southeastern half of the country, perhaps predictably, immediately added the program to their line-ups but surprisingly, the state I live in, hasn't added it...but a neighboring state whose local PBS station is carried by our cable provider is set to start airing it on March 25th.

A couple of days ago I came across a vintage performance by Ray Stevens from 1976. In the clip he performs "Misty"...and is introduced by Andy Williams. It hasn't been promoted much, if at all, and therefore it's only received less than 30 (!) unique views.

Update: I originally had a video embed posted here from YouTube but it's been removed from their site and the embed no longer worked and so I removed that portion of this blog entry. I'm replacing the video embed with an image of Ray from that performance, though...


It may be one of Ray's last televised performances as a Barnaby Records artist. The performance took place on February 28, 1976. I know that the label released a couple of singles on Ray very early in 1976. One of those, "Young Love", happened to crash into the charts for a couple of weeks in late January. It debuted on the pop chart on Ray's birthday of all days, January 24, but not long after that Barnaby issued "Mockingbird Hill" as the fourth single off of the 1975 Misty album but I don't know off the top of my head if the single happened to be an impact release or just something the label issued to fill out a contractual obligation.

Sometimes an artist, I assume, may have a specific amount of single releases and album releases for whatever label they're recording for but if an artist and label are in their "lame-duck" period, to borrow a political phrase, and are in the process of parting company the label usually will issue one last single release to fill out the quota but not promote it much, if at all, and afterward the label and artist part ways on friendly terms. Sometimes, though, a label may issue an additional single or even an album that isn't part of the contracted total to be released. Some artists shrug it off but some fight against it on the grounds of contract violations...but getting back to the label Ray recorded for...

Barnaby was founded by and owned by Andy Williams; and Ray signed on in 1970. Andy's brother, Don, became Ray's manager (an association that lasted for more than 20 years). Not coincidentally Ray hosted the summer program that aired in Andy's time-slot on NBC in 1970 (Ray had been a recurring music guest on Andy's television series since 1969 and continued in that capacity during the 1970-1971 season). After the release of "Mockingbird Hill", which didn't make the pop or country singles charts, Ray left for Warner Brothers records and a different chapter of his career began.

February 19, 2017

Ray Stevens and Marty Robbins...1977...

Hello once again!! Although Ray Stevens is busy behind the scenes getting things prepared for the next season of his television series there is another vintage appearance I'm about to promote on this fan-created blog. Call it perfect timing due to my habit of celebrating anniversaries involving Ray Stevens...but 40 years ago the one and only Ray Stevens was the featured Spotlight Artist on Marty Robbins obscure syndicated television series, Marty Robbins Spotlight. Late last year an episode spotlighting Chet Atkins appeared on YouTube and as a special guest, yes, it was Ray Stevens. I commented at the time that it would be great if the episode spotlighting Ray would appear on-line and like a wish come true such a thing happened this morning.



The episode is entertaining from start to finish. You don't ordinarily associate Ray with a Marty Robbins, for example, but this is another example of Ray's ability to adapt and interact with anybody. It reminds me of the time that Ray guest starred on an episode of George Jones' television series...there again he's appearing on a program hosted by someone you normally don't picture interacting together and yet the two come off as long-time friends. The same thing is true in the episode of Marty's program. Ray performs an outstanding "Feel the Music" and later, "Honky Tonk Waltz". He and Marty perform several bits together (a song medley, for example, features both of them at the piano) and there's an interview segment. One of the funniest parts of the episode is Ray in a trench coat, speaking in a thick German-American dialect, and performing a leg slapping routine. Throughout the segment featuring Ray and Marty at the piano the camera would frequently focus in on Marty's faux disbelief in hearing how varied Ray's musical styles happened to be...in the medley performance Ray gives his take on "What I'd Say" by Ray Charles and in a surreal moment Ray sings the first verse and chorus of "I Write the Songs", the smash hit recorded by Barry Manilow...why do I call it surreal? It's due to the fact that a couple of years after this episode aired Ray would record a song inspired by the sound and song titles from Barry's string of hits. Here is an example of one of those Marty Robbins comical looks of disbelief...


Marty's television series ran in syndication for a couple of years. I've seen information citing 26 episodes exist and other sources mention 24 episodes. I've even come across on-line sites stating the program has 52 episodes but I'm pretty sure only 24 (or 26) is the actual number. If anybody knows for sure how many actual half hour episodes of Marty Robbins Spotlight there happens to be leave a comment. It's a mystery to me, at least...and speaking of television programs...Ray himself has a television series...

Ray's television series, as a reminder, has jumped from RFD to PBS. It's been airing on scattered PBS stations since January after airing for a year and a half on RFD. The title has also changed from Ray Stevens' Nashville to Ray Stevens' CabaRay Nashville. The plan is to eventually tape episodes of the television series from the CabaRay venue.

Construction on his CabaRay entertainment venue is also well underway. It's still expected to open in the latter half of this year. Ray has periodically posted photo's of the venue's construction. The story of Ray embarking on construction of the venue broke in March of 2016 which is how the general public became aware but the most loyal of fans had been aware of the proposed venue for a couple of months prior. Does anyone not have the New Orleans Moon CD? In case this is all new to you the CD came out in 2007 as a salute to the music/culture of Louisiana a couple of years after Hurricane Katrina. The CD hit in March 2007 as an exclusive offered at Ray's web-store. It became available all over the internet in July of that year. It's been 10 years since it's release (technically a decade next month) but for the rest of this month (February) you can get the CD at a mark down price in celebration of Mardi Gras. I've been having a bit of trouble accessing the Store area of his website. Just in case you have the same trouble I'd suggest calling his office and ordering the CD over the phone. You can find ordering information/phone numbers at his official website by clicking HERE.