September 23, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Angaleena Presley

Hello once more!! On tonight's episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville the special guest happened to be Angaleena Presley.

Ray opened the show with a performance of "Ahab the Arab" and it was delivered with just the right amount of silliness that you'd probably expect. He performed the entire song...including the often over looked final verse of The Sultan catching Ahab and Fatima's tryst twist by surprise. If you hadn't seen a recent performance of the song, either in concert or from a television program, it may take you by surprise that Ray's added some lines to the song. Instead of saying the phrase "whoah, babies" at the conclusion of the fictional Arabic chant Ray has often substituted that phrase with a reference toward the tenor of Slim Whitman. During the encounter Ahab has with Fatima most recordings have Ray saying "crazy, baby!" in falsetto voice...in one recording Ray (as Fatima) scolds Ahab and says "get out of here, you idiot!". In more recent performances Ray (as Fatima) giggles uncontrollably. This can be seen in the 1995 music video and I assume this is why Ray stopped reciting lines as Fatima and now simply giggles.

After the opening performance a clip from We Ain't Dead Yet airs. This time it's a clip of Ray as the Wolfman Jack-inspired disc jockey, Rooster, attempting to sell 500 baby chickens to some person he randomly called on the phone. The 'radio station' is actually Rooster's room at The Encore...he's lost his mind and thinks he's hosting a radio show. The name of the station is WILD.

Prior to actually seeing this episode I was under the impression that the guest, Angaleena Presley, appeared as Margaret during a performance of "It's Me Again, Margaret" and more or less reacted to Ray's antics. I was surprised to learn that she actually performs the song, as Margaret, while Ray recites the Willard McBain lines. The performance by the two comes off like a live music video. Ray is seen a few feet away using a rotary phone prop which is hanging on a wall. During his call's to Margaret he appears full screen while Margaret (Angaleena) is shown in a small thumbnail screen shot in the upper left. There's a sign above the stage, but part of the performance, which reads S.T.O.P., which stands for Stop Telephone Obscenity Please. I took it to be a jab at political correctness because there's a lot of critics that say the song glorifies prank callers...so what better way to mock thin skinned critics than by having the performance take place near a PSA regarding obscene phone calls.

I did some research on the special guest and learned that she happened to be born on September 1, 1976...that makes her the same as me...and learned about The Pistol Annies.

I had heard of this group, actually, but having no real knowledge about them I didn't know much; which includes not knowing the names of the group members. It's a trio of singers...some critics have described them as outlaws...but I looked them up and discovered that they've been in existence as a trio for a number of years but they record solo, too.

After the performance of "It's Me Again, Margaret" another clip from We Ain't Dead Yet appears. In this clip Rooster once again calls somebody and informs the guy on the other end to expect delivery of 500 baby chickens. Darrell Waltrip can be seen listening on the other side of the door and he's informed that Rooster thinks he's on the radio but in reality he isn't. Ray introduces Angaleena and she discusses her career and remarks that she loves "The Pirate Song". Ray tells her that the music video happened to be shot in the very studio they're seated in and she tells him that she likes the squirrel song as well. She mentions that "It's Me Again, Margaret" happened to be a relative's favorite and loved being able to perform it as a tribute to her late relative. Angaleena peaks of being a descendant of the McCoy's...and Ray wonders whatever became of the Hatfields. She reacts with mock anger over hearing that last name. She performs "American Middle Class" which happened to be the name of her 2014 solo album. She has a current album out...released earlier this year...titled Wrangled. That particular release is also available in vinyl.

Ray closes the show with a performance of "Bon Temps Roulette". This is a song that Ray recorded back in 2000 and it's appeared on a couple of CD's. It's the first time I've seen him perform the song, though. It's a bouncy sing-a-long detailing the exploits of a woman on a riverboat while her past is revealed as the song progresses. There were no YouTube video clips promoting this episode or the one from last week guest starring Duane Eddy.

Next week's episode (September 30) guest stars The Riders in the Sky. It should be hilarious.

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Duane Eddy

Hello out there to all the fans of Ray Stevens! In this blog entry I'll be spotlighting the September 16th episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville. The episode, as you can see, aired last weekend but I'd been busy with off-line activity. The guest that night happened to be legendary guitarist, Duane Eddy. Ray opened the show with a highly energetic performance of "Searchin'", a song that should be familiar to most of Ray's fans. The song had originally been a hit recording by one of Ray's favorite groups, The Coasters. Ray recorded a version of the song for his 9-CD box set, Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music (released in 2012).

In the installment of the Comedy Theater we're treated to a clip from Ray's sitcom, We Ain't Dead Yet. The clip features Phil Everly playing the role of William Maurice (a pun on talent agency William Morris). Afterward Ray introduces Duane Eddy and they speak of his upbringing. Duane mentions that be was born in Upstate New York but later the family moved out west to Arizona. The reason given by Duane is that his father got tired of shoveling snow. Duane speaks of his record producer, Lee Hazlewood.

Duane talks of his innovative 'twangy' style of guitar playing and speaks of the mechanism he added to the guitar strings to create that effect. He and Ray perform a duet version of "Forty Miles of Bad Road"...and the performance is something to behold. It was as if the two of them were competing with one another: Duane on the twangy lead guitar and Ray playing piano. The image off to the left is a single release showing Duane as a co-writer. In smaller print the record producers are credited as Sill-Hazlewood, a reference to Lester Sill and Lee Hazlewood. Since I wasn't too familiar with the production credits of Duane Eddy recordings I had to look them up and that's how I learned of Lester Sill being one of the producers along with Lee Hazlewood. Upon the conclusion of "Forty Miles of Bad Road" Duane performs another one of his instrumental classics. This time around it's his signature instrumental, "Rebel Rouser". It, too, is performed as a duet. Ray's longtime saxophone session musician, Denis Solee, does his rendition of the instrumental while Duane performs it on the guitar. This performance also carries a kind of competitive presentation, too, with each legendary musician matching note for note on their very different instruments.

This episode seemed to be a bit shorter than the others but maybe it's because the guest happened to be an instrumentalist...or maybe because the episode was peppered with various instrumental performances it just seemed like it had a shorter running time? Whichever the reason this particular episode seemed to fly by...and he closed the show with a performance of "Three Legged Man". He had performed that song in a more recent episode but in that performance he did some vocal effects during the performance. This time around he had his sound effects played over the speaker system. The next episode of the series, which aired tonight (September 23rd), guest starred Angaleena Presley. I'll be doing a re-cap of that episode in a couple minutes so be on the look out for 2 blog entries from me tonight...maybe a third one by early Sunday morning...

September 13, 2017

Ray Stevens: Everything is Beautiful Exhibit...

Well, hello once more!! Two fan created blog entries in the same day...and back to back!! Well, the reason for this one is due to the breaking news concerning an upcoming honor taking place later this month. As soon as I published my previous blog entry about last week's episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville I visited a social media site...and was hit with the news that the Country Music Hall of Fame is going to have an Everything Is Beautiful exhibit...it'll be unveiled on September 22nd. You can see details about this exhibit...honoring Ray's 60th year in the music industry...by clicking this LINK. That's a photo of me and my vinyl album of Everything is Beautiful. The album, issued in 1970, was later released on CD and paired with his other 1970 album, Unreal!. The back of that 2-album-on-1-CD is seen in the second photo...