November 16, 2008

Ray Stevens: HELP!!!

"Help" is a song from Ray Stevens 1969 album Have a Little Talk With Myself and it originally was recorded by The Beatles; not only that, it was the name of one of their movies. Ray covered the song but it wasn't issued as a commercial single on either an A or B side so it remains an obscure album track. I did a video montage several weeks ago or several months ago and that is what you see at the start of this blog. "Help" also played into the over-all theme of Ray's album: loneliness, asking for help, and despair.

Ray was a recurring player on Andy Williams TV show...guesting several times...and during the 1969-1971 era a lot of Ray's material was spotlighed on this program, more than any other TV show on the air. Ray hosted the 1970 summer show for Andy Williams, too. A summer show is a series that replaced the regular program during the summer often air during the summer months for mostly all TV shows, returning in the fall with new episodes. Well, Andy's program didn't offer many re-runs. Instead, Andy would fill his vacated time-slot with familiar faces for a summer season before the vacated show returned in the fall.

"Hey Jude", another Beatles song, is my latest You Tube montage. The performance is considerably lesser in length than the over seven minute Beatles production. Ray's version clocks in at 4 minutes, 29 seconds while the Beatles 1968 mega smash version clocks in at 7 minutes, 5 seconds. The Beatles version was a #1 hit...naturally...nearly everything they did during the British Invasion period hit the top of the UK or American music charts. In America, "Hey Jude" was a #1 single for 9 weeks. Ray didn't issue his version as a single...likewise for the versions of "Help", "The Fool On The Hill", "Hair", "Spinning Wheel", and "Aquarius" he covered on Have A Little Talk With Myself in 1969.

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