October 23, 2009

Ray Stevens: Backstage Subscription, Part Two

Hello Ray Stevens fans from all over...this is a follow-up blog about the latest addition at Ray's web-site, the backstage feature. I signed up for it yesterday and I found out that when you sign up for a subscription you'll need to have a PayPal account. I never had one...but I decided to get one simply because there was no other way, as far as I knew, to become a monthly subscriber. Anyway, I started a PayPal account of which I probably will only use for this monthly subscription. After becoming a member I was able to view some pictures of Ray but more than that I was able to catch the pilot episode of We Ain't Dead Yet. For those who follow this Ray Stevens blog and his own web-site you'll know that Ray's taped several episodes of a TV show that he hopes to sell to some cable outlet. The pilot episode was amusing, cute, and entertaining and it set up the run of the potential series. It takes place inside a retirement home and it has a Hee-Haw feel to it on purpose. I am not sure if each month people will see a different episode or if the pilot episode was just a special for the month of October.

Anyway...once you subscribe...the monthly payment of $4.97 will be deducted from your checking account each month unless you cancel your subscription. There is a 3 month option, though, for $14.97. I'm not sure if it's 97 cents but I know it's $14.00 and some change. Looking back I should have chose that option but I didn't. I opted for a monthly subscription instead.

With it getting close to November and the holiday season don't forget that Ray has a Christmas CD out of all-serious recordings simply called Ray Stevens Christmas. You can purchase it at Amazon via the link at his web-site. On the left side of the page you'll see various sections and in the "Buy" section a drop down menu opens when you click "Buy". There's a link to "Official Store", "Itunes", and "Amazon". It isn't available at his official web-site store but it's available at Amazon. I did a run-down/review of the CD several weeks ago. There are 10 songs on it...9 of them are holiday standards and one of them is an original song, "Deck The Halls With Teardrops". It's tough to tell if the CD will be promoted much because of it's serious overtone...most people expect comical recordings from Ray. The expectation of comical recordings causes most people to not know how to take what we call "serious Ray".

As previously discussed, the photo of Ray originates from the mid 1990's when his comical Christmas CD was released. The 1997 comical CD was re-released on the same day as the non-comical CD. The comical CD is titled Christmas Through a Different Window. Unfortunately neither FM or AM radio stations like to play the novelty or the bizarre Christmas songs anymore. So-called studies done by radio people seem to suggest that comical songs are annoying rather than entertaining. Naturally the idea of a 'novelty song' is to be amusing and often topical and funny...but to a specific audience. Brow beaters tend to be easily annoyed by such "tomfoolery" and for the last decade or so oldies-style FM and AM radio stations have stayed away from the silly and goofy Christmas songs that once had equal sir-time among the traditional, serious Christmas recordings. Today the various oldies and pop-standards radio stations play legitimate holiday songs...not a comical vignette to be heard. Perhaps I'm listening at the wrong time? I'm not awake at 3:30 in the morning to know what's played but I do know that in the last decade it seems as if radio has pushed off the Christmas comedy songs that were once commonplace on the radio each season. Ray's non-comical Christmas CD, though, features several jazzy/up-beat arrangements so it isn't a slow ballad-heavy project.

Photobucket Speaking of non-comical...this is the 8-track version of Don't Laugh Now. For those who may think to themselves "geeze...how many times is he going to talk about that album???" let me say that I happen to not only love the album but I love the picture, too! Those familiar with my commentary about this album may remember that I once posted the back of the album...showing a very much happy, smiling picture of Ray. A drastic change from the gloomy expression on Ray's face that we all see on the front of the album.

Photobucket When you click the above image you'll see a much bigger picture of the back of the I Have Returned album from 1985. I took the picture with my digital camera and edited some of the excess imagery. Those who only have the cassette version didn't have the pleasure of seeing the picture on the back of the album as you see here. On the front side of the album Ray, as General MacArthur, is wading in the water in a mock-up of MacArthur's famous pose where he said "I have returned". Meanwhile, on the back of that album, Ray had actually waded upon a public beach and he's asking directions from people. The funny pictures on the back of the albums for whatever reason weren't replicated on the inside fold-out cover of cassettes and only the buyers of the albums were treated to those pictures. Of course, a lot of albums have the same picture on the front and back but sometimes they don't.


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