June 26, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...episode 14...

Hello all...I watched the 14th episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville to air on WCVN/KET2 this past Saturday night. It was another fun episode and it kind of broke with some of the established formula of the previous episodes. 

Ray came out and performed "Never Too Late", a song from his 2009 CD, One for the Road. The song's lyrics carry an inspirational feel while the music is in the easy-listening/Tin Pan Alley/Great American Songbook vein. Somehow, though, I think the choice to perform that kind of song as a show opener had a lot to do with that episode's special guest, Bobby Goldsboro. I say that because Bobby's biggest commercial successes came with easy-listening and sometimes sing-a-long pop songs and to fit the overall music mood he opened the show with "Never Too Late".

Ray introduced Bobby and the two of them discussed their early years in the music industry. One thing that you'll notice right off the bat is how peppy and energetic Bobby happens to be...and fast talking. He made mention of Ray's session work and the harmony vocals provided in "Little Things" (a single that United Artists released on Bobby late in 1964). Ray makes mention that Bobby's artistic talents go beyond music by spotlighting some of the paintings Bobby created...and some are soon to be on display at the CabaRay Nashville venue once it opens later this fall. Bobby performs "Little Things" and then performs what became his signature hit, "Honey".

It's a highly emotional song and the camera panned over the audience upon the song's conclusion and, yes, there were some teary eyed members of the audience. It's a sad song in case you've never heard it...and I'm consistently amazed that there are quite a few people out there that routinely vote this particular song as "one of the worst ever written". I don't know if that overly dramatic reaction stems from a listener feeling uneasy or vulnerable when listening to the song or if a listener simply hates sad songs...whatever the reason it's a song that doesn't get the kind of respect it should get.

This is a promo for the episode. If you're a regular visitor to Ray's YouTube channel or any of his social media sites then you should be well aware that he's uploaded a lot of promo videos for his television program. Given the fact that the program is locally syndicated on PBS stations across the country all of the video uploads are meant to air on the PBS stations that air the show. If the PBS affiliate in your area carries Ray's program and Bobby happens to be the guest that week, for example, then this is the official promo that may air on your local PBS channel...



Due to the show airing on PBS there aren't any commercials and so it cuts to one segment after the other. After the emotional "Honey" concludes Ray walks out from behind the piano and thanks Bobby for being on the show. The very next segment is the lighthearted Video Jukebox installment and an airing of "The Moonlight Special" animated music video. Talk about going from one extreme emotion to the other in the blink of an eye. The recurring segment featuring Don Cusic appears next and he provides some history on the upcoming performance Ray is about to do...a song from The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. The song? "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?". Ray is in fine uptempo form as he tackles this song...originally a hit for Lonnie Donegan in the United Kingdom (1959) and in the United States (1961). After the performance of this song he closes the show in his usual way...by selecting someone to dance with as an instrumental of "Everything Is Beautiful" plays in the background. The one chosen this time around seemed terrified/nervous.

Here's a little mystery concerning the episode: In the description for this episode on the KET2 web page it states that Ray would be singing "The Skies Just Ain't Friendly Anymore" and no mention is made of "Never Too Late". This could have been a typo on their part (highly unlikely) so perhaps the original promo for this episode indicated that Ray would be performing that song but "Never Too Late" was chosen instead for the final cut...indicating that the original press release for the episode was never changed/corrected. That's just my theory. This is one of the episodes that had previously aired on RFD television (in May of last year to be specific). It's not a big deal, though, but it's something that caught my eye nevertheless.

In a previous blog entry I listed the upcoming episodes of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville scheduled for WCVN/KET2. They've added a couple more since that blog entry but mysteriously removed a couple they previously had posted...ones that I had shared in that blog entry.

Originally listed to air September 2nd was Con Hunley but now they have an episode listed guest starring Tommy Roe; for September 9th it was listed that Jimmy Wayne would be the special guest but now it's an episode guest starring Mark Wills. The September 16th episode, as originally scheduled, would be Ray's patriotic show guest starring Lee Greenwood and Darryl Worley but now KET2 has the September 16th air-date guest starring Duane Eddy instead.

In addition to those three episodes replacing what had originally been scheduled there were 2 episodes added to fill the entire month of September...

Angaleena Presley: September 23

Riders in the Sky: September 30

There's no explanation as to the reason the first 3 episodes in September that had originally appeared on the KET2 schedule have been replaced by other episodes but there must be a reason...I'm sure none of us will ever know the reason and I'm sure they never expected someone (myself) to have noticed the change of episodes anyway...let's hope the originally scheduled episodes make it onto DVD if they never make it to the PBS airwaves. There are to be 52 first-run episodes exclusive to PBS stations in addition to the first 26 episodes that aired on RFD. Half of those 52 first-run episodes have already been assembled and are scheduled to start airing soon.

Next week's episode on KET2 (July 1st) guest stars T. Graham Brown and Ray's daughter, Suzi Ragsdale. This is one of the RFD episodes (originally aired January 30, 2016). After the airing of that episode KET2 begins airing (starting July 8th) the first-run PBS episodes. Harold Bradley and Mandy Barnett are the guests on the July 8th episode.

June 19, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville DVD and Series: My Examination!!!

Hello out there...all of you fans of Ray Stevens!! The DVD of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville, Season One arrived in the mail this past Friday (June 16th). It's a 4-disc collection featuring 13 episodes of his television series. Once you play any of the discs there's an advertisement for Ray's website and mention of the upcoming CabaRay venue. Ray provides a voice over as his chicken clucking recording of "In the Mood" plays in the background. The main menu consists of various options that a viewer can select. You can choose to "play all episodes" (4 half hour episodes are featured on 3 of the 4 discs) and that's the choice I often select on my other DVD's but you can select the "choose a program" option and pick specific episodes to watch and there's even an option where only the performances are available and that's in the "choose a song" selection. There isn't a list of the 13 episodes on display on the back of the DVD case...so if you hadn't purchased the DVD yet and you want to know what episodes are part of the collection read further because I'll be posting an episode list. Now, of course, you can choose to wait until you purchase the DVD and read the menu...but I thought I'd make mention of the fact that an episode list is going to be at the bottom of this blog entry.

The first season consists of 13 regular episodes and one Christmas episode. Technically 13 episodes are referred to as a half season and 26 are considered a full season because everything is based upon a once a week air-time and a 52 week calendar year (26 first run episodes plus 26 repeats equals 52). I explained a lot about Ray's production cycle in my previous couple of blog entries but in any case this collection features 13 episodes with all of them showcased in chronological broadcast order based upon it's current run on PBS stations across the country.

The series originated as a lot of you know on the cable channel, RFD, in November of 2015. It's first season on RFD consisted of 14 episodes (one of those episodes, which isn't part of the PBS syndicated package, was the Christmas themed episode). From here on out I'll be referring to the episode lists as Season One/RFD; Season Two/RFD and Season One/PBS. All of the episodes currently airing on PBS affiliates originally aired on RFD.

Ray has had taping sessions at various times throughout 2016 and into this year and those episodes are going to start airing on PBS stations at some point later this year. The footage is in post-production. Then, in 2018, he plans on taping his episodes from the actual CabaRay venue after it officially opens. I was at long last finally able to see the first episode and episode nine!! In episode nine John Conlee performed "Common Man" after talking about his radio background. Jeff Bates appeared on the program, too, and after performing his song he and Ray spoke about Conway. Ray and Jeff also mentioned "Mary and Joseph and the Baby and Me". Given that the episode originally aired in early January of 2016 it wouldn't be until November the same year that a music video emerged of the song...and eventually an entire Christmas CD soon after that. As most of you know I wasn't able to see Ray's television program during it's original run on RFD and couldn't see it on PBS until WCVN/KET2 began airing it on March 25th of this year.

The series is taped in bits and pieces and assembled into separate half hour programs during marathon-style taping sessions. In a lot of ways the recording and production of the series resembles Hee Haw

As mentioned...there are 13 episodes on this 4-disc collection...but for some reason there's a bit of a difference in the broadcast order of RFD and PBS.

Curiously, in addition to the Christmas episode (from December 26, 2015) not being among the episodes airing on PBS (so far) and therefore not on this DVD there are 2 episodes from Season One/RFD not on this particular DVD, either. The January 2016 episodes guest starring Lee Greenwood and Darryl Worley (January 23rd) and T. Graham Brown and Suzi Ragsdale (January 30th) are not on this DVD because, technically, those episodes haven't aired on PBS stations yet even though they originally aired during Season One/RFD. Those 2 episodes aren't scheduled to air on PBS stations until later. The local PBS affiliate in my area carrying the program, KET2, which is a sub-channel of PBS affiliate WCVN (part of Kentucky Educational Television), has the January 23rd episode airing on September 16th and the January 30th episode airing in a couple of weeks, July 1st. This is a perfect illustration of local PBS affiliates picking and choosing the episodes they'll be airing from those made available.

What happened is 2 episodes from Season Two/RFD, perhaps by mistake or by design, have aired on Season One/PBS already. An episode guest starring Gene Watson from June 18, 2016 (Season Two/RFD) aired on the local PBS station a couple of weeks ago on June 3rd. On June 10th the episode guest starring James Gregory (Season Two/RFD) aired on PBS stations. The 13th and final episode of Season One/PBS guest stars Billy Dean and it aired just this past Saturday on the PBS channel in my area (June 17th). This is also the final episode of Season One/RFD from March 19, 2016. So, for whatever reason, PBS stations haven't aired a couple of January episodes from Season One/RFD but they did air a couple of summer episodes from Season Two/RFD to fill-in the gaps.

Season One/RFD Air-Dates/Broadcast Order:
1. Steve Wariner: November 7, 2015
2. Larry Gatlin: November 14, 2015
3. Bobby Bare: November 21, 2015
4. Don Schlitz: November 28, 2015
5. Charlie McCoy and Lori Stegner: December 5, 2015
6. Bobby Braddock: December 12, 2015
7. Jimmy Fortune: December 19, 2015
***Special episode: Suzy Bogus (Christmas program; hasn't aired on PBS): December 26, 2015***
8. Aaron Tippin: January 2, 2016
9. John Conlee and Jeff Bates: January 9, 2016
10. Tanya Tucker and T.G. Sheppard: January 16, 2016
11. Lee Greenwood and Darryl Worley: January 23, 2016 (hasn't aired on PBS yet; scheduled to air on WCVN/KET2 on September 16, 2017)
12. T. Graham Brown and Suzi Ragsdale: January 30, 2016 (hasn't aired on PBS yet; scheduled to air on WCVN/KET2 on July 1, 2017)
13. Billy Dean: March 19, 2016

Season Two/RFD Air-Dates/Broadcast Order:
1. James Gregory and Helen Highwater String Band: May 7, 2016 (aired on WCVN/KET2 already)
2. Bobby Goldsboro: May 14, 2016
3. Williams and Ree: May 21, 2016
4. Bellamy Brothers: June 4, 2016
5. The Gatlin Brothers: June 11, 2016
6. Gene Watson: June 18, 2016 (aired on WCVN/KET2 already)
7. Collin Raye: June 25, 2016
8. Bill Anderson: July 2, 2016
9. Sylvia: July 9, 2016
10. Con Hunley: July 16, 2016
11. Leroy Van Dyke: July 23, 2016
12. Janie Fricke: July 30, 2016

Here are the episodes that have aired and those yet to air on the local PBS affiliate in my area. You will notice that WCVN/KET2 isn't planning on airing much of what aired during the Season Two/RFD line-up. So I am hoping that more DVDs of his television program become available throughout the year!! Also, the first 13 episodes listed below are exactly what appears on Ray's latest DVD project...

WCVN/KET2 Air-Dates/Broadcast Order:
1. Steve Wariner: March 25, 2017
2. Larry Gatlin: April 1, 2017
3. Bobby Bare: April 8, 2017
4. Don Schlitz: April 15, 2017
5. Charlie McCoy and Lori Stegner: April 22, 2017
6. Bobby Braddock: April 29, 2017
7. Jimmy Fortune: May 6, 2017
8. Aaron Tippin: May 13, 2017
9. John Conlee and Jeff Bates: May 20, 2017
10. Tanya Tucker and T.G. Sheppard: May 27, 2017
11. Gene Watson: June 3, 2017 (from Season Two/RFD)
12. James Gregory: June 10, 2017 (from Season Two/RFD)
13. Billy Dean: June 17, 2017

1. Bobby Goldsboro: June 24, 2017
2. T. Graham Brown and Suzi Ragsdale: July 1, 2017 (from Season One/RFD)
3. Harold Bradley: July 8, 2017
4. Shenandoah: July 15, 2017 (footage taped February 2017)
5. Michael W. Smith: July 22, 2017
6. B.J. Thomas: July 29, 2017
7. Rhonda Vincent: August 5, 2017
8. Restless Heart: August 12, 2017
9. John Michael Montgomery: August 19, 2017
10. Baillie and the Boys: August 26, 2017
11. Con Hunley: September 2, 2017 (footage taped February 2017)
12. Jimmy Wayne: September 9, 2017
13. Lee Greenwood and Darryl Worley: September 16, 2017 (from Season One/RFD)

The second group of 13 episodes consists of some programs originally meant for RFD but weren't aired (based on social media postings late last year during taping sessions by the guest stars) and there are some from a taping session held earlier this year and those episodes will be brand new to all of Ray's fans since they hadn't aired before. The 11th episode is Con Hunley's second guest appearance. He appeared in an episode that RFD aired in July of last year. There was a taping session held in December of 2016 and those episodes are no doubt also part of the second group of 13 episodes WCVN/KET2 is scheduled to air.

From June 26th to June 30th Ray is going to be busy taping footage for even more episodes of the television series. These episodes are probably not going to start airing on PBS affiliates until maybe late fall or early winter this year. Once those episodes air, however, as I mentioned earlier, additional episodes are going to be taped at his CabaRay venue!

You can purchase the 13-episode, PBS-aired First Season DVD by clicking HERE.

June 11, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville DVD!!

News broke several days ago about an upcoming product concerning Ray Stevens. I became aware of the product while doing one of my Google image searches for Ray. I happened to come across an image of a DVD offering the first season of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville (13 episodes). Whenever I come across something about Ray that's out of the ordinary I contact Ray's people and ask questions. The image was credited from originating at Ray's site. Since I write a fan-created blog focusing on Ray I prefer to post information that's official and accurate.

Admittedly I was aware of this product for several days...but I didn't feel secure enough to post much about it...so I privately shared the images with some other fans of Ray Stevens. I contacted Ray's people about the DVD but didn't get a reply...they were obviously planning/preparing for the CMA Music Festival. (Note: I wrote about his appearance at the Fan Fair event in my previous blog post from earlier this morning.).

Anyway, after sending Ray's people a message about this mysterious DVD image that I came across, I visited his website. Once the page opened up there's a great big advertisement for the DVD. Upon seeing this I realized that the DVD image credited to Ray in the Google image search happened to be official. Even though I had clicked the image of the DVD and it took me to Ray's store I still didn't feel okay writing about the product because of the lack of publicity for it...but considering the big advertisement at Ray's website I'll officially add my enthusiasm and excitement for this product and I'll spare no hold-back.

Isn't this a lovely sight?? This is something that I'd been hoping for ever since Ray debuted his television series back on RFD television in November 2015. I had hoped that a DVD of the program would emerge at some point and sure enough it has. Ray moved the show from RFD to PBS in January of this year. I've since placed my order for the DVD and I can't wait for it to get here...finally I'll be able to see episode 1 (guest starring Steve Wariner) in it's entirety and the several episodes that the DVR didn't record (namely episode 9 guest starring John Conlee and Jeff Bates!) and the episodes the DVR automatically removed (3 altogether!!). There were more episodes that aired on RFD than just 13 but the air-date schedule happened to confuse a lot of people and apparently it's unique production cycle is the reason for it's departure from RFD (but that's just my guess). It operated under a 13 week first-run/13 week rerun schedule. Once the 13th episode reran, new episodes would begin to air for 13 more weeks (a total of 26 first-run episodes and 26 reruns comprise a 52 week calendar year). Most television programs air 26 first-run episodes and then go into their hiatus/rerun period during the summer months. Ray's program wasn't taped in the 26 first-run, 26 rerun style...so the first 13 episodes billed as Season One could arguably be referred to as half a season. I'm hoping a Part 2 is also on the horizon featuring the remaining 13 episodes that originally aired on RFD. There has also been footage shot for an additional 26 episodes but the footage hasn't been constructed/edited into individual half hour programs yet. Once the editing process is completed then those episodes will start airing on PBS, too.

How can YOU order your copy of the Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville series?? I'm glad you asked!! You can purchase your copy of the DVD by visiting Ray's store and do what I already did...order it! You can visit the web-store by clicking HERE. If you have never ordered from his site before you will have to register as a customer and provide the usual details (name, shipping address, e-mail, payment method, etc. etc.). It's a 4-disc collection. Episodes 1 through 4 are on Disc 1, episodes 5 through 8 are on Disc 2, episodes 9 through 12 are on Disc 3, episode 13 and Bonus material is on Disc 4. I'm assuming the bonus material are out-takes, bloopers, etc. etc. Once I get the DVD and watch it and take note of the sound/picture, etc. etc. I'll post my review.