January 7, 2010

Ray Stevens: Tea'd Off...

Forgive the comical title of this blog entry when dealing with a serious subject but about an hour ago I came across a news article focusing on "We The People", the on-line smash hit from Ray Stevens. I loved the article as anyone could probably guess. The quotes and the write-up can be found at the CNSNews.com site. The author of the write-up is Pete Winn so if you visit that web-page and search for 'Ray Stevens' you should be able to locate the write-up very easily. You can also find a few other write-up's about the song in blog sites about current events, one in particular is a page called politicalthinker.blogs.cnn.com which starts off with a reference to 1990. I suppose the author wanted to highlight the 20 year passage of time because this is a new decade?

If my comment gets approved you'll see that I commented on Ray's sales achievements because the author of the blog, in my opinion anyway, made it appear that Ray only had a couple of big selling albums prior to 1990 and that it wasn't until "We The People" came along in December 2009 and it's subsequent 1.4 million plays on You Tube that he re-gained popularity. In my comment I wrote that Ray had always been a singles seller rather than an albums seller and that in the 1990's his biggest success was music video projects. Given that the comment wasn't directly about the song/music video it might not get approved...but if it does it'll be there for all to see. Ray's own web-page of course features a similar write-up in their news section.

The actual commercial single of the song is dancing around the Amazon Top-100. The highest position it's obtained is #42 on the comedy MP3 list. In country music it ranked earlier at #67. The totals are updated hourly so it isn't a weekly tally like other charts.

The name of this blog entry, of course, comes from Tea Party. The tea party movement and those who supported it are viewed in the mainstream media as a "fringe element" of society and one that shouldn't be taken seriously. In one of my previous blog entries I wrote about the whole concept of marginalization. The tea party crowds were marginalized in the mainstream media because the reporters who covered them sought out the most extreme participants in an attempt to label the entire thing as nothing more than "extremist ideologues spewing their venom". Of course that was a completely false representation of the whole tea party movement by those afraid that the crowds would inspire more and more questions aimed at Government. Time will only tell what happens from here on out, though...but now onto the lighter side of things to wrap up this blog entry...

Always on the hunt for anything about Ray Stevens that I didn't know comes this portion of the blog entry. I didn't know this little tidbit until late last night while browsing the internet...Ray Stevens co-wrote a Brook Benton single called "My True Confession". The co-writer of the song is Margie Singleton. I looked up the statistics for the single and it hit the Pop Top-30, the R&B Top-10 and the Adult-Contemporary Top-10 in 1963. I had known that Ray worked on the sessions of Brook Benton but I had assumed it was only as a session musician or music arranger. It's always fun/exciting to find out things about a singer that you feel you know just about everything. The troubling thing for me is why is Ray's songwriting contributions for other artists rarely, if ever, highlighted? You can watch a video upload of the song on You Tube.

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