July 2, 2009

Ray Stevens: Ned Nostril

Doing an impression of Johnny Cash, Ray tells the story of a man who has a little problem but the story allows the man to over-come his little problem and turn his misfortune into a positive character trait. The song is very funny and it's a parody of sorts on Johnny Cash's style of music...which is obviously why Ray sings the song in a Cash-like vocal style. The song appears on the 1984 album you see here, He Thinks He's Ray Stevens. Ray wrote the song and it's 4 minutes and 11 seconds in length. From the start of the song with that familiar musical intro on through the remainder of the song we're treated to an absurdly outrageous story of a baby, named Ned, who was born with a Pinnochio-like trait: the baby's nose would grow and apparently his nose continued to grow as he grew older. Ray tells us that Ned's heroes were Karl Malden, Jimmy Durante, and Pinnochio.

Ned's life in school is examined, especially in high school...and we're told about Ned's try-out's for the football and basketball team. Later on, Ned gathers up some of his friends and they start up a band. This band is a little bit peculiar due to the fact the bandmembers sniff ragweed to the point where they're all teary-eyed, allergy-ridden zombies pretty much. Ned, on the other hand, played his nose in the band. They dressed Hawaiian and the song's full title is: "Ned Nostril and His South Seas Paradise, Puts Your Blues On Ice, Cheap at Twice the Price Band, Ikky-Ikky Ukky-Ukky". The musical interludes in the song feature Ned and the band wheezing, sneezing, and coughing in rhythm. Ned attempts the drum, piano, and a horn after he forms the band but his nose gets in the way. He tried playing the drum but apparently he kept striking his nose instead of the drum. Also, his nose prevented him from seeing the piano. So, after these attempts, he realizes that it's best to just continue playing his nose as the band's front-man.

The album that this song appeared on became a Platinum album and it was his first for MCA Records. The bulk of the album's success, in reality, came a calendar year after it's release. The album came along in the latter part of 1984 but it reached it's peak on the album chart the next year, 1985. This wouldn't be the only time a Ray Stevens album would chart and then slowly but steadily climb up. Ray's follow-up album, I Have Returned, hit in October 1985 but it reached it's peak in March 1986. Of course, today, record companies don't have that kind of patience...that's a 5 month chart run to a peak position. Most albums today debut at their peak position...a lot of them debut at #1 or in the Top-5 and stay there throughout the remainder of their chart run. Anyway, those kinds of chart run's enabled Ray to capitalize on the success and popularity of his new 'country comedy' image and in 1986 he began his annual run of being named Music City News Comedian of the Year, a fan-voted award he was given through 1994.

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