September 2, 2010

In a Ray Stevens Mood...

On today's music journey we take a glimpse at the continued success of Ray Stevens' latest video hit, "God Save Arizona". As of this writing the video is sitting at 169,519 hits on You Tube. The places where you can purchase the song is Ray's web-site store, Amazon, and or Itunes. The song isn't on Ray's current album, We The People, and so the only way to get the song legally is through Ray's web-site and the other sites I mentioned. The song has yet to be pushed/publicized in any aggressive manner...for now Ray must be content with the hundreds of thousands of hits the video has gotten on You Tube with hardly any publicity outside the word of mouth through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets. In a way it's like an advertiser's dream...a lot of publicity without really having to push the song and pay for advertising spots. I'm pretty sure this song will be a big hit when Ray returns to the concert stage this fall...don't forget he returns to Branson, Missouri for a series of concerts at the Welk Theater. The shows kick off later this month! You can check his web-site for touring information.

The title of the blog is a reference to "In the Mood" which Ray recorded in 1976 and released it under the pseudonym of The Henhouse Five Plus Too. As you can tell from that false group's name "In the Mood" was clucked like a cackling choir of chickens. The b-side of this cluckin' classic was "Classical Cluck" in which the choir of chickens regal us with a refined performance. "In the Mood" became a Top-40 novelty single in early 1977 both in America and in England. The overseas release was issued as Ray Stevens...whereas in America it was issued as The Henhouse Five Plus Too. You can see several picture sleeves of the recording in the time-line off to the right.

"The Blue Cyclone" is a particular comical song from Ray Stevens that made it's debut on the comical album, I Have Returned. The recording is one of the longest...maybe the Ray's career. The album version is broken into two parts...each part is around six or seven minutes in length. This means that Parts One and Two clock in somewhere between thirteen and fourteen minutes. The single shown here is the radio version which is edited's still a funny recording but it's nowhere near the "adventure" of the full length recording. The single version clocks in just under five minutes at four minutes, fifty-nine seconds. The Cyclone is one part of a tag-team duo who Ray and a drinking buddy go watch wrestle at a local venue. The hilarity is hearing Ray describe everything he sees...and then the turning point in the song comes when Ray's friend throws a chair into the ring. The friend disappears leaving the Cyclone to mistakenly think Ray's the culprit. We're given a punch by punch, kick by kick, groan by groan account of Ray's entanglement with the wrestler...sending Ray into the hospital! However, the irony builds as Ray seeks revenge on the Cyclone and he enlists his friend's help. Naturally this leads to even more hilarity as Ray picks a fight with the Cyclone...feeling quite confident now that his friends are with him...but are they? I'll stop there...just in case you all hadn't heard the story of "The Blue Cyclone" I don't want to spoil the entire thing. The song, believe it or not, typically draws the biggest laughs from men who hear it...and I suppose it's because the song carries a touch of machismo and braggadocio which often overtakes most men when they find themselves in a bar or at a sporting event of some kind.

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