Hello Ray Stevens fans!! I noticed that my previous blog entry, Ray Stevens and the Drunk Preacher, was picked up and shared by a couple of web-sites. This was probably due to the title being eye-catching. Today's blog utilizes a familiar title...the 18th installment of my series creating awareness for Ray's 9-CD box set entitled The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. In that previous blog entry I provided a news clip featuring Ray discussing the collection and his quest to save the comedy song from extinction. Ray, for many years, has remained one of the biggest advocates for comedy music. It's gotten more and more difficult for the novelty song to find a sizable audience on what's called terrestrial radio...but those hardcore novelty song aficionados can access internet and satellite radio stations and find the material rather quickly. The only difference being that internet and satellite stations require a subscription or some sort of fee in order for a listener to hear the programming.
Having been available since February 28th I thought it would be neat to list several of the news items from the internet that have surfaced since late February promoting this 9-CD project. Ray's gotten quite a few promo pieces about this release and I feel that more is on the way as we move into the summer months...
Vintage Vinyl News did a lengthy promo piece the day the 9-CD collection went on sale on February 28th. The article offers no author credit but it has detailed information about the collection and it provides a track-list of all 108 songs on all 9 discs. There are a couple of typo's contained in the furnished track list. The word "In" follows the title "Chantilly Lace", the letter "n" is missing on "White Lightnin'" and it reads 'Lightin' instead, and the letter "e" in the word 'come' is missing from a song title on CD 9. Those typo's are only found on the on-line track list that's been passed around since late February. Now, elsewhere in the promo, they've embedded a video clip showing Ray in the studio and discussing the Encyclopedia. I made a brief comment at this site indicating how excited I was about the collection and that I had put in my order for it on the day it was released.
In this Mention by Jan Duke from the Nashville.About.com web-site, published on March 8th 2012, the writer promotes the collection which at that time had only been available for about a week or so. She supplied a link to Ray's web-page. For whatever reason there's an apostrophe between the the last two letters in Ray's last name. I don't know if the writer wrote his last name that way or if a technical glitch automatically inserted an apostrophe between the S and N in his last name. You'll see what I mean when you click the link. I also made a comment at the site...kind of lengthy...but when it comes to Ray I couldn't help it. I also, as you'll see, defended Ray's contemporary music even though I think the comment that I took issue with was a deliberately inflammatory and I fell for it.
Also on March 8th comes this promo featured on Billboard The 615. The article was written by Chuck Dauphin and it features a picture of Ray that was taken during an appearance at a book store. This article is as lengthy as the one from Vintage Vinyl News and it features quotes from Ray about the 9-CD's. This particular article became widely distributed by a lot of blogs and other outlets throughout March and into April.
An article in Country Weekly written by Steve Morley appeared on May 9th. In the review he gives the Encyclopedia 4 stars and goes in detail about the project's mission and why Ray is so uniquely qualified to be the one that took on such a task.
In addition to those written accounts of the Encyclopedia, Ray made appearances on radio and television programs both local and national throughout February and March. He appeared on the GAC series, On the Streets, on February 21st. He was interviewed by Kix Brooks for American Country Countdown in a segment titled The Back Forty. In an episode of Larry's Country Diner taped in the fall of 2011 and first broadcast in March 2012 on RFD-TV, Ray performed several songs from the Encyclopedia and spoke at length about the project and some of the artists that he covered for the collection. At the time of the episode's taping Ray was planning on releasing the Encyclopedia around Christmas time 2011 but it's release was pushed back a couple of months. This reference wasn't edited out of the broadcast and for a few days in March 2012 the viewers of Larry's show assumed that the episode was taped this year and that they'd have to wait until this coming December before they could purchase the collection. Luckily things were straightened out and those who were confused about the release time learned the 9-CD collection was already available.
On April 10th Ray appeared on Fox and Friends on the Fox News Channel and later that evening he appeared on a program titled Fox Across America, hosted by Spencer Hughes, on Fox News Radio. That wasn't all...in between the two Fox affiliated programs Ray was interviewed on two satellite radio programs: Freewheelin' with Meredith Ochs and Chris T. and Mark Says Hi. The two programs aired on channels 106 and 99, respectively, between the hours of 1 and 3pm Eastern.
An appearance on the Crook and Chase series happened on April 15th on RFD-TV but the segment had previously aired in February as part of the syndicated version of their show. His most recent appearances included Opry Country Classics on May 24th and an interview on Mike Huckabee's radio program on May 25th.