January 19, 2010

Ray Stevens: The New Battle of New Orleans

In what seems like a never ending quest today I'm going to attempt, once again, to explain away the claims of racism by those who hear this song. I have owned this single for several years and when I heard it for the first time I chuckled at it because I always chuckle whenever I hear a Ray Stevens comical effort for the first time. When listening to the song for that first time and all the subsequent times I loved the song even more. I came across a web-site a couple years ago and the reason why it's still fresh on my mind is because it's the very first time I had actually seen racial accusations being charged at Ray. It was certainly an eye-opening rant by someone royally ticked off because in his or her mind Ray had no right to sing about the Hurricane Katrina tragedy in a light-hearted way. First off...the song is satiric...there isn't anything "light hearted" about it. Secondly, the song isn't making fun of the hurricane victims as some people have come to believe. Lastly, there's not one thing racially charged within the lyrics but yet even today you may come across web-sites and blogs where racist accusations are thrown in the direction of Ray Stevens.

The lyrics are loud and clear...the song is satirizing the looters and the politicians of that area during the aftermath of Katrina...and yes, there's a jab at Jesse Jackson but it isn't race based. The comment deals with Jackson's personality. However, because it's a jab at an "African-American", people on the far-left see it as racial or racist. That kind of madness where people accuse one other of being racists back and fourth hopefully comes to an end this year! There is a much different version of the song by it's writer, Chuck Redden, that you can find if you Google the name of the song. Ray's version doesn't include all of those lyrics found in the Chuck Redden version but because bloggers, I think, find the full and un-edited lyrics on-line they ignorantly have passed along the misinformation that Ray recorded those lyrics when he didn't. The writer even admitted back in 2006 that Ray recorded a "much tamer version" of the song. Ray's recording was released in 2006 but it wasn't widely distributed. I found my copy of the song on-line. Check eBay for those who want to own a copy of the song...it's very hard to find.

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