September 28, 2010

Ray Stevens: Nostalgia Valley, Part 14...

Looking down in the nostalgia valley today I see a burning car...this most certainly has to be a car that Charlene MacKenzie totaled; or, it might be a car that was left in a will prior to it being pushed off a cliff...a sort of thank-you from a man whose companion left him. Of course my opening thoughts are tied to a couple of Ray Stevens songs with the first being 1988's "The Day I Tried To Teach Charlene MacKenzie How To Drive". The other song is 1980's "The Last Laugh" where there's a mention in the song depicting the act of shoving a car off a hill. A third song revolving around vehicles is "This Is Your Daddy's Oldsmobile" which is a father-son type of song dealing with a teenager's attempt and desire to borrow the car keys for the weekend. The father's strict, though, and constantly warns his son that the car doesn't belong to him. A fourth song from Ray Stevens depicting activity in a car is "Butterfly Inside a Coupe DeVille" from 1989 but seven years before that "Country Boy, Country Club Girl" told of what Ray wished to do in the back of his car with the country club woman.

A similar fantasy comes calling again toward the end of 1988's "Booger Man" where Ray suggests to his girlfriend that she better snuggle up real close so he can protect her from the demon outside. In "Happy Hour" from 1984 there's a mention of a jealous woman setting Ray's car on fire while "Blood and Suede" tells the story of a Mercedes Benz and a Porsche crashing on Mulholland Drive. "Used Cars" arrived in 1990...a comical tale about the trials and tribulations of buying used cars.

"God Save Arizona" is still of now it's sitting at 407,886 You Tube hits. "Come to the USA" is this close to going past 4,000,000 hits!! How close you may ask? The hit count as of now is 3,991,263!!

I'd like to close this blog entry remembering the birthday of Jerry Clower. A lot of Ray's fans may be aware that Clower was one of the most celebrated country comedians enjoying a long, successful run mainly in the southern half of the United States but he performed all over the country during his more than 25 years in the country music business. His journey from growing up in the depression in the deep south and making his way through grade school, high school, military experiences, college life playing football at Mississippi State, his association with 4-H, and on into the business of selling chemicals and fertilizer is well documented in the hundreds of comical stories that collectively populated his albums. His run-in's with celebrities of all walks of life once he became a country music entertainer were also recounted in his own unique style. Clower was born September 28, 1926 and died August 24, you can tell it was almost a month shy of his turning 72. Clower was a guest vocalist, along with Minnie Pearl, on Ray's 1986 comedy single, "Southern Air". The comical story is only available on Ray's 1986 album, Surely You Joust. The single charted modestly on the country music charts and it's perhaps only familiar to those who follow Ray's career...although I realize that the performance is probably unknown to those who don't even have that 1986 album! Clower co-starred on Ray's 1995 direct-to-home video movie, Get Serious! Clower played the part of Ray's manager, The Colonel.

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