December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor...12-7-41

On this particular album from Ray Stevens, released in 1991 a few months prior to the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we hear a few songs at the end of the album tied to Japanese culture with a few mentions of December 7, 1941. The album's cover may carry a subliminal message as well. Although titled #1 With a Bullet the huge bullet also carries thoughts of a big missile. The comedy album features ten songs...the final two songs, "A Little Blue Haired Lady" and the obvious "Workin' For the Japanese" feature passages that spotlight December 7, 1941. In "A Little Blue Haired Lady" the song starts out as a novelty song about older women who drive too slow and how it caused one motorist to start shooting people at random. However, the final verse of the song changes the direction of the song and it goes from everyday headaches on the roadways to blaming slow drivers as the reason why the Japanese never sent Roosevelt warning of an attack on 12-7-41. Ray sports a Japanese-American dialect as he plays the Japanese Ambassador informing Roosevelt that they tried to get a message delivered but their driver was stuck in traffic all morning behind you guessed it...A Little Blue Haired Lady. Naturally, the absurdity of the situation makes it all the more funnier. The album's closer, "Workin' For The Japanese", is a social commentary song about how Japanese culture was taking over America and how our money was going overseas because American's weren't buying American-made products. Surprisingly, given how sensitive the public at large had become because of the growing epidemic of political correctness, the song became a minor hit and made an appearance on the country charts in late 1991, peaking in the Top-60 after a 10 week chart appearance. The song was written by a man named Ron DeLacy.

In the meantime, I thought it would be interesting to spotlight World War Two and Pearl Harbor-related imagery from Ray Stevens since this is the 67th anniversary of December 7, 1941. The Pearl Harbor attack for those who do not know led the country into World War Two. The ironic thing, looking back, is World War One does have it's place in history of course but yet it's World War Two that seems to have the most notoriety and one can only speculate that a lot of this has to do with Hollywood through the years glamorizing(?) the war years, 1939-1945, specifically the early to mid 1940's during America's involvement. Ray is posing as General MacArthur on the cover of I Have Returned which is named after one of MacArthur's historical quotes. Aside from the album's mock-up of MacArthur, the songs contained on the comedy album are not war-related but I felt since the pose is a recreation from the WWII years that it would fit perfectly in this blog.

Of course, this image of Ray is a close-up during the photo sessions for his 1985 album I Have Returned. I have featured these pictures a lot in my You Tube video montages. Unfortunately I do not have a You Tube video montage of "Workin' For The Japanese" or "A Little Blue Haired Lady" from his 1991 album. I may do one later today, specifically because of this being December 7th.

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