April 16, 2012

Ray Stevens 9-CD box set, Part 15...

It's an early Monday morning...and the main focus of this blog entry is on Ray's appearance on Crook and Chase's television program over the weekend. The two hosts have been a duo since 1983...hosting by now thousands of hours of interviews from mostly country music artists and sometimes celebrities from movies and television shows. They hosted This Week In Country Music for several years in syndication but their biggest impact came with Crook and Chase, a daily program on The Nashville Network for seven years, 1986-1993. From there the two hosted the nightly Music City Tonight, 1993-1996, and then they went into daily syndication for a season and returned to The Nashville Network in 1997 and remained on the air through the channel's demise in 1999. Since 2000 the duo remained active on various special programs aired on CMT and, or, GAC in addition to hosting their weekly 4-hour radio countdown program. The duo often became the most visible during the summer months, especially in June during the Fan-Fair week, which is now called the CMA Music Fest. The duo have also appeared as interviewers of nominees and winners during various country music awards programs. In 2008 the duo began appearing regularly on television again through RFD-TV with a weekly series instead of a daily program. The program continues to air on RFD but in 2010 a syndicated series started airing concurrent with the RFD program. The two series are actually the same show...the difference being episode air-dates. The syndicated program may air an episode on Saturday that features more recent information while the Sunday telecast on RFD may feature an entirely different episode from a month earlier...leaving one to assume that the Saturday episodes are current while RFD's telecasts are several weeks behind.

The Ray Stevens interview that aired Sunday evening took place a few months ago. There are pictures of the interview in one of Ray's photo albums at his Facebook page. The interview aired for the first time on March 4th of this year...this was the date that it didn't air on RFD-TV...but this time around, April 15th, the interview aired as scheduled. If you don't want to navigate through the main Facebook page you can click the following Ray Stevens Images  link and it takes you to the photo album named Crook and Chase. As mentioned, the interview took place late in 2011 around the time of his taping of Larry's Country Diner. It was during this time that Ray was planning on releasing the box set late in 2011 but then the release was pushed back to January 2012 and then it was pushed back to February 2012. In fact, in the episode of Larry's program that aired a month ago, Ray mentions that the Encyclopedia should be available in time for Christmas. Those who saw the show last month, based upon their Facebook comments on Larry's page, mistakenly thought that the episode had been taped this year and that they'd have to wait until the fall of 2012 to purchase the box set...but luckily Ray's appeared on many other TV and radio programs over the last month and it's become crystal clear for those that were mistaken earlier that The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music is available right here in all it's wonderful glory!!

In the interview with Crook and Chase, Ray spoke about the inspiration behind the box set and asked the hosts if they're more likely to remember "Purple People Eater" or a popular love ballad from the same time period. Ray, looking serious, proclaimed that Crook and Chase were to blame for comedy songs not being heard on the radio anymore but then said he was joking. Ray started telling them that he'd gotten resistance from radio (both pop and country) for so many years about programming comedy songs and being given the same excuse over and over as to why a 'comedy song' couldn't be added to playlists. Lorianne commented that she loves Ray's voice and was curious why he didn't become a full-time crooner. This led Ray into discussing how he attempted to be a serious pop singer but wasn't able to get a lot of attention until he put out a comedy song...which paved the way for additional comedy songs...and ultimately led to his career long typecasting as a novelty singer in spite of the serious recordings he was releasing...and having hits with...which, when you think about it, is ironic considering the heavy typecasting his career took being labeled as a novelty singer.

Along the way "The Streak" became the focus of the conversation and the interview dissolved into a hilarious several minutes where Ray, Lorianne, and Charlie talked about nudity, streaking, the impact the fad still has in Ray's career, and the accounts of female fans streaking during his concerts in the mid 1970's. At this point Ray jokingly begged for streaking to return at his concerts.

It was a very funny few minutes. The interview ended while the three were laughing...indicating to me that there's much more footage that didn't air. If that's the case I'd love to see the full interview!

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