March 17, 2018

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Gary Puckett...

Hello all...and in this fan created blog entry I'm reviewing episode ten of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville which guest stars Gary Puckett. This is one of the special that I mean it's one of the episodes that features a performer from pop music's history (much like Sam Moore's episode a couple of weeks ago). Ray opens the show singing "The Hustler", a song from the pen of Buddy Kalb. Ray recorded the song in 2000 and it appears on the Ear Candy CD (2000) and later it appeared on 2002's Osama Yo' Mama which was largely a re-release of Ear Candy with a few noticeable differences. What I didn't know when I first heard the song is that it had previously been recorded by country singer Mel McDaniel. His recording was never released as a single.

Ray introduces Gary Puckett who walks out and sits down by the piano. Ray makes mention that both he and Gary were contemporaries on the charts during the late '60s and early '70s. Gary speaks about his early years in Southern California and mentions Suicide Ridge and his odd jobs before becoming a recording of which happened to be a cashier at an auto parts store called Foreign Auto Supply. He asks Ray to guess how many foreign cars were in operation by American motorists in the mid '60s and Ray gives a number and Gary tells him he's close...and discloses the very small total. Ray says that he drove a foreign car at the time but reflected on how aggravating it was because parts for it were in limited supply.

Gary mentions that his influences in life were his parents. He says his mother is 98 and that both she and his father were musicians but not in any professional way. Ray asks about the creation of Gary's band, Union Gap. Gary mentioned that as a kid he loved seeing Civil War imagery and he loved the blue uniforms the Union Army wore and given his birth being in Washington State, where an actual Union Gap exists, he more or less decided to call his band Union Gap.

Ray mentions that in show business, no matter how successful, partnerships typically do not last long. Duos break up, bands dissolve, etc. and Ray asks about the disbanding of Union Gap. Gary mentions that after enjoying a lot of success certain creative differences crept in and the only thing to do, in the end, was to dissolve the band. Gary mentions that he learned their song, "Over You", was a favorite of Jack Webb. Gary sings "Over You" and then launches into what might be the group's second or third biggest hit, "Woman, Woman". The group had a string of power ballad successes in pop music in that late '60s time frame. As you can tell from looking at one of the picture sleeve's promoting "Over You" they're dressed in their Union Army uniforms. The uniforms aren't light blue, as you can also see, but there are other photos of them dressed in uniforms of all shades of blue. The official title of the song is "Woman, Woman" but Gary introduced it as "Woman, Woman Have You Got Cheating on Your Mind?". After the performance of this song he follows it up with "Young Girl".

That particular song peaked in the runner up position on the Hot 100 for three weeks in was kept out of the top spot by a pair of hits: "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" from Otis Redding and the Bobby Goldsboro hit, "Honey". Given that their single was a million seller but kept out of the top spot there's an argument to be made that the song's subject matter may have caused anxiety and therefore it was not given a number one finish on America's pop music chart and so Goldsboro's hit leapfrogged over "Young Girl" to claim number one. There's also arguments to be made that Bobby's hit was so strong that you couldn't stop it from hitting the top and it was simply a case of timing that caused "Young Girl" to fall short of number one. Having said that...the single hit the top in the United Kingdom. Gary has the audience singing most of the song's chorus along with him during the performance. Afterward Ray thanks him for being a guest on the show.

Ray typically closes the show with a one-liner or a comical story of some sort before the closing music begins to play...but on this episode he changed things up a bit. After thanking Gary for appearing on the show Ray tells a brief story about somebody that wonders why they've had some strange dreams. One morning they dreamed about the "Green, Green Grass of Home" and then the next morning they recall a dream about "Delilah". The dreamer was told he had Tom Jones Disease. When he asked if such dreams are common the reply he got was "It's Not Unusual"...and with that Ray launches into his version of "It's Not Unusual", a pop hit for Tom Jones.

Airing over the weekend is episode 11 of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville. It's part one of John Rich's guest appearance. The second half will air the following weekend. This marks the first time in the show's history in which an episode is broken into two parts. I'll see the first part of this episode next weekend when it's uploaded onto When compiling the current season's list of episodes I don't know whether to refer to the two part event as Episode 11 and Episode 12 or if it's officially going to be listed as Episode 11, Part 1 and Episode 11, Part 2. If it's listed as 2 separate episodes then the current Season Five will have 15 altogether. If it's listed as one episode but with a numerical suffix added then it'll keep the current season at 14 episodes.

March 11, 2018

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville: Deana Carter...

Hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens and those that stop by out of curiosity. I just finished watching the ninth episode of Season Five of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville. This episode originally aired on local PBS stations the weekend of March 3rd but was recently uploaded onto The special guest was Deana Carter.

Ray opened the show performing his take on "Night and Day". A brief history is in order...Ray recorded the song in the mid 2000's for a CD of his titled Ray Stevens Sings Sinatra...Say What??. The tribute CD became available in 2008 on his Clyde Records label. You can see more information about the CD by clicking this LINK. It takes you to Ray's official web-store at his website. Ray introduces Deana Carter by inquiring if she shaved her legs for the appearance.

One of the first discussions revolved around her childhood and upbringing as the daughter of performer and session musician, Fred Carter. She mentioned that it was a help and a hindrance in that it can provide all kinds of perks and with having a connection to the industry through a relative it carries the potential of getting a foot in the door a lot more easily but at the same time she mentioned it can be a hindrance because of all the expectations of being a relative, this case an offspring, of a noted musician. She mentioned that as a typical twenty-something she often didn't take the advice of her father and others older than herself because she felt the desire for independence.

Deana speaks about her entry into the music industry and how a demo tape made it's way to Willie Nelson, which, as a result of his hearing it, enabled her to get a segment on Farm Aid VII at the Super Dome in Louisiana that year (1994). She mentioned being terrified and that she was the only female artist on the entire show that year. She drew laughter when mentioning 'demo tape' given how everything nowadays is digital and she got laughs when mentioning that during her early days in Nashville she was always thinking of a back-up plan in case things didn't work out. She mentioned Jimmy Bowen being the main key into her getting on records when he signed to her Patriot Records in 1995. Her debut CD on Patriot was released in the United Kingdom but it was transformed a year later after it got a re-release on Capitol Records in the United States (only a couple of songs from the debut version made it onto the re-release in 1996). The debut CD's title was the eye catching Did I Shave My Legs for This? The photo's of the CD are also strikingly different. On the UK release in 1995 she's standing in front of images of skyscrapers and looking very urbane whereas in the US release in 1996 the photo has a close-up of her in a field among a collection of wild flowers in a green shirt and about as far away from urbanity as you can get. If you Google the images of the 1995 and 1996 releases of her debut CD you'll see what I'm referring to.

Deana performs "Did I Shave My Legs for This?". Ray brings up a song that she had a hand in writing that received a Grammy nomination called "You and Tequila". She mentions having co-written the song with Matraca Berg. Deana and Matraca recorded their own solo version of the song but a duet version by Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter emerged in 2010. Their recording became a Top-10 country hit in 2011, sold over a million copies as a digital download, and it received a Grammy nomination. Deana recalled how personally gratifying it was to receive a Grammy nomination as a Songwriter and how it carries an entirely different emotional reaction than being nominated as a performer/artist. After she performs "You and Tequila" she is then asked to perform her breakthrough song, "Strawberry Wine". This song was one of the new recordings in the 1996 release of her debut CD...meaning it wasn't on the UK version a year earlier.

Ray closes the show performing "Oh, Leo Lady". He mentions that the idea of the song came as a result of his discussing astrology with his bass player. Although not mentioned by name I'm assuming that bass player to be the late Stuart Keathley (who also doubled as the engineer of Ray's albums). The song appears on Ray's 1982 album, Don't Laugh Now. This is the first time I've seen him perform the song and probably the only time it's been performed on television.

The episode of CabaRay Nashville airing on local PBS stations this weekend will be uploaded onto next weekend. That episode guest stars Gary Puckett. You know the routine by now...look for my recap/review of that episode next weekend sometime. I'm in the early adjustment stages of the time change. We lost an hour earlier this morning at 2am when we set our clocks ahead to 3am. As of this writing it's 7:25am Eastern time.

March 3, 2018

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville: Wilson Fairchild...

Hello once more...and I just finished watching episode 8, Season Five of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville. The special guests on this episode happen to be the duo, Wilson Fairchild. Ray opened the show singing a rendition of "Misty" while seated at the piano. After the performance Ray introduces the duo and asks about their background and origins.

The duo explain that their name is derived from each of their middle names. The duo consists of Wil and Langdon Reid and their fathers are Don and Harold Reid of The Statler Brothers. Ray asks the duo about their run as opening act for George Jones. This leads into a story about how they called up a concert promoter one day and asked if George had an opening act booked for a nearby concert. The promoter said "no" which caused the duo to ask if they could be the opening act for this appearance. The promoter told them "yes...but you're not going to be paid". Then they learned that George, within the following week, was going to be at another venue several hours away and so, according to the duo, they called the promoter of that concert to inquire about George's opening act. Hearing that there wasn't an opening act they asked if they could come down and open the show. Just as before they were told "go ahead...but you're not going to get paid". One thing led to another and they ended up being an opening act for George Jones for several years.

The duo sing "The Statler Brothers Song" which is largely composed of song titles of Statler Brothers hits. It was written as an obvious tribute to their blood line and Ray asked about their current CD titled Songs Our Dads Wrote. They joked around about how long it took them to come up with such a spectacular and original title for the CD. The duo perform "Guilty" which was a huge hit for The Statler Brothers in 1983. The song is on their CD so it was obviously written by Don and Harold Reid. Even though "Guilty" was a big hit from the The Statler Brothers 1983 album, Today, it was overshadowed largely by their version of "Oh Baby Mine", which hit number two, and the blockbuster number one hit, "Elizabeth".

After the duo perform "Guilty" they are thanked for appearing on the show. Ray introduces a newcomer named Marisa who performs a ballad titled "Goodbye Back". I did several internet searches and couldn't find anything about her. I even typed her name and the song's title and didn't get any useful search results. If I could've found something about her I would supply a link to a website or a CD advertisement of some kind. Ray closes the show with "Come on Home to Baseball", a song from his 2004 CD, Thank You. This episode of CabaRay Nashville originally aired the weekend of February 24th. The episode airing this weekend on local PBS stations features Deana Carter as a special guest. I'll provide a review/re-cap of that episode next weekend.

Have you visited the CabaRay showroom in West Nashville yet? I visited it this past Thursday (March 1st) and posted some commentary about my day in Nashville. Any fan of Ray Stevens should plan a trip to the venue. I live a couple of states away from Tennessee and I never thought I'd ever get the chance to visit Nashville but being a gigantic fan of his I felt that visiting the CabaRay was something I needed to do. During his years in Branson, Missouri (1991-1993; 2004-2006) I was never able to attend any concerts at his former theater (now owned and operated by RFD television). I didn't want to tackle such a road trip, first of all, and secondly I simply felt too scared to travel that far anyway. It's farther away from here than Nashville. However, a visit to Nashville was something I had always wished I could accomplish and once Ray's showroom opened earlier this year I decided no more procrastinating about Nashville and so, at long last, I stepped foot in Nashville early Thursday morning on March 1, 2018. Plan your visit to the CabaRay this year. While there you can look at the various awards and plaques he's received over the years. The image off to the left is a certificate of nomination. It's a certificate recognizing 1979's "I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow" being nominated for a Grammy in a comedy category. This is just one of the items on display at the CabaRay. For those of you that live in the Tri-State area (Southeast Indiana, Northern Kentucky, and Southwest Ohio) be sure to tune in or DVR the Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville Special on KET2. It airs at Midnight tonight (technically Sunday morning). If you come across this blog entry on Sunday or Monday of this week then you can catch a repeat of the special on March 6th. KET2 is airing it again at 3:30am Tuesday morning.