October 3, 2015

Ray Stevens: Pigeon Forge concert...

Hello all...and for me this has certainly been a memorable October introduction as far as the change in weather is concerned. Normally there isn't such a drastic change in temperatures but the last couple of days it's not gotten above 55 degrees. A return to normalcy is on the way, though, as today's high is going to be the upper 60s.

Speaking of numbers...the current unique views for "You Didn't Build That" are 54,927. This is a pick-up of 4,175 since my previous blog post.

This past Saturday Ray made a guest appearance on the Opry. He appeared during the final half hour segment of the night. Mel Tillis hosted the segment. Ray performed "Misty" and "Mississippi Squirrel Revival". Ray told a story about monkey's in outer space and he spoke of his upcoming television series...the program is called Ray Stevens' Nashville (the same name of his memoir). If you visit Ray's Facebook page you'll see that the banner's changed to reflect the upcoming series (it changed on September 29th). Mel, in his introduction, remarked that the program is to debut on November 7th on RFD-TV. Also mentioned in the introduction was the availability of Ray's current CD, Here We Go Again!. Mel referenced his famous stutter during the promo for Ray's CD.

Ray's completed several of his concerts since my previous blog post (the SKyPAC concert happened yesterday, October 2nd) and today he'll be doing 2 concerts at the Country Tonight venue in Pigeon Forge, TN. You can read about those concerts in this promo...


After tonight's pair of concerts in Pigeon Forge Ray's next appearance is up north in Canada at the Casino Rama venue on October 9th. Since it's a Casino there's an age restriction: 19 years and up. It's my assumption that he'll sing "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" either as part of a medley or perhaps in full performance...it's an obvious choice and it's too irresistible to omit from the set-list. You can hear that 1960 recording and other early recording on this CD. It covers a lot of ground as far as the earliest of Ray's commercial recordings (dating back to 1957). The inclusion of those rare single releases Ray's first 2 studio albums for Mercury Records in their entirety make this one of the better compilation releases...one of the best of the last 5 to 10 years.

"Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" is a pivotal song in his career...if it weren't for his writing and recording the song in 1960 and it becoming a near-hit (before being pulled off the air for copyright reasons) he probably never would've thought of issuing comedy/novelty music at all. The fact of the 1960 novelty song getting a lot of attention and airplay (more than anything he previously had out on the market) gave Ray the idea that comedy songs could get him attention...and the rest is history as they say.

September 18, 2015

Ray Stevens obscure 1978 cassette...

It's me once more! For those that have read my blog posts over the last 6 years or so you're familiar with the excitement I often display upon seeing something obscure, rare, or hard to find (all synonyms, yes!) pertaining to Ray Stevens. This time around it's a 1978 cassette copy of There Is Something On Your Mind!! Talk about obscure!! It's often hard to find in vinyl...seeing a cassette copy is almost unheard of...but yet a cassette copy of the album appears on eBay.

I never post links to eBay anymore because I've long become well aware of the fluid nature of the site...once an item is purchased or taken off the site by it's seller the link I provide will no longer be active. I found that out by looking through my archived posts several years ago and clicking on the links I embedded only for a blank error page to open up or a page informing me that the product is no longer listed/available. I'm sure other links that I've posted become that way during the passage of time but more so if the link is tied to an auction site.

If you're interested in seeing or possibly bidding/purchasing this rare cassette do a search on eBay of "Ray Stevens + cassette tapes" and select the newly listed option or you can go a general search for "Ray Stevens + There is Something On Your Mind". It'll be among the first results. The listing debuted on September 10th...so it's been nearly 2 weeks since it appeared. I just discovered it today. The 1978 album features Ray's excellent covers of vintage rhythm and blues songs from the '50s and '60s by groups such as The Clovers, The Drifters, and solo artists such as Ray Charles, Bobby Marchan, and Bobbie Freeman. The title track had originally been recorded in 1959 by a saxophonist named Big Jay McNeely and his release featured vocals by an artist named Little Sonny Warner. The appeal of Ray's 1978 album, aside from it's main appeal of it being an album by Ray Stevens, is that the material Ray chose to cover wasn't limited to the smash hits of Rhythm and Blues that crossed over to pop music radio. The album goes a long way at spotlighting songs that didn't cross-over and become million selling pop hits.

The asking price for the cassette is $24.99 or best offer...but clearly the seller realizes that the rare, obscure nature of this product may be of value to fans of Ray Stevens. As usual read carefully before making any purchase or any bids on auction sites and ask the seller questions that can't be replied by a simple "yes" or "no". The products are previously owned by others and aren't typically in pristine, crisp condition but an honest, serious eBay seller will not risk his or her reputation by selling defective products and so, in theory, the seller should be up-front in their reply. I have the vinyl copy and it features some superb liner notes about every song and it includes a summary/commentary from Ray as to the reason behind the making of the album. This appears above Ray's photo on the LP version. His commentary/opinions of the songs he chose to cover appear on the back of the album. I can't tell if this feature comes with the cassette as only the photo and track list appear on eBay. There isn't any photo of inside the cassette case on eBay to see if the liner notes are part of the cassette copy or not. I doubt they are...one of the allures of the vinyl album is getting features exclusive to the vinyl release...shifting gears from 1978 to present-day 2015...

As you all should be aware of Ray's been on a mini-tour lately. He's performed a series of concerts (typically 2 or 3 per month) going back to the start of summer. The tour is named for his current CD, Here We Go Again!, even though there is plenty of current merchandise from Ray Stevens that no doubt is also being sold to concert goers, too. One such item being the memoir, Ray Stevens' Nashville. If it's not being sold at the merchandise table then purchase it from his on-line store or on Amazon.

Here We Go Again! Concert trail...

After the September 19th concert tomorrow at The Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach, SC Ray is going to be extremely busier than usual. If you're a member of his mailing list you should have gotten some e-mails about some of the happenings that are going to be taking place next week. It revolves around the television program that he's putting together. Search some of my earlier blog posts to read about the project. Ray closes out the month of September making a guest appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on September 26th. As mentioned in a previous blog entry I assume Ray is going to announce more information about the television program he's working on during the Opry appearance.

The activity doesn't stop there...in early October look for more concert appearances from Ray. He'll be in Bowling Green, KY at the SKyPAC venue on October 2nd. According to the publicity reports it's a near sell-out. An ad for the concert has aired on YouTube to promote the concert. I had posted the video back on September 3rd but the uploaders have since made that video private (if you come across that embed it'll now state that it's private) but they've re-uploaded the ad and made the video public again due to the concert getting closer and here it is...

The very next day, October 3rd, he'll be performing 2 concerts in Pigeon Forge, TN at the Country Tonite Theatre. The first concert is at 3pm and the second is at 8pm.

Ray Stevens Concert: 9/19/2015...

Hello once more...here's a reminder that the next Ray Stevens concert appearance on his limited engagement Here We Go Again! Tour is tomorrow night at THE ALABAMA THEATRE at 7pm. The link takes you to the advertisement. You can still purchase tickets since it isn't an official sell-out but, obviously, you should purchase your tickets in-person at the venue given that the concert is tomorrow night. Call the number listed in the link I provided.

If you're new at this kind of thing the person at the box office will inform you of any seating available or it could be a recording informing a caller that tickets are now only available at the venue's box office.

I assume that some venues set aside a number of tickets for in-person purchases because not everyone purchases tickets through mail-order or on-line or some people may learn about a concert at the last minute and their only way of obtaining a ticket is at the venue itself (assuming the concert isn't a sell-out by then).

In my own small way I've been promoting his concert appearances for those that are able to attend and I'll continue to do so. Unfortunately there aren't many, if any, concert goers that relate their experience or reveal much about the performance or song selections and so I rarely have any Ray Stevens post-concert information to share. If I do come across feedback from those that attend a concert of his I often make mention of it or I direct readers to a link containing the feedback.

There have been some comments posted on Twitter from concert goers...mostly in the form of pictures...so it isn't as if everybody that attends his concerts are tight lipped...it's just not an onslaught of feedback.