May 13, 2012

Ray Stevens and Political Music...

I wrote about this a few blogs ago but I never wrote any follow-up blog entries due to the fact that The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music was brand new and that took up a lot of my blog entries the last several months. The 9-CD box set will reach 3 months old this coming May 28th. It has yet to appear for sale on Amazon but I have a feeling that it won't become available for purchase there anytime soon but then again it may show up for sale there sooner rather than later.

Anyway, the Ray Stevens Book that I wrote about a few blogs ago is titled Let's Get Political. The link will take you to the product page at Ray's web-site. He's advertising what he's calling a Tea Party Special which includes We The  People, The Spirit of '76, and the Let's Get Political book. However, you can still purchase the items separately...and since I already have the CD's that are being offered I obviously purchased the book by itself. I highly recommend the book for those who already have the CD's. I also highly recommend the book for those who discovered Ray Stevens on You Tube and had no idea of who he was beforehand. The book will introduce you to the essays of Ray Stevens and Buddy Kalb as they offer commentary on the songs found on We The People and The Spirit of '76.

The CD's feature an abundance of political and patriotic songs. Before anyone can ask...Ray does realize that there are people who have not been too happy or supportive of his decision to incorporate political feelings into his music but those are the opinions of a minority. In fact, since December 2009, the response has actually been 90% positive. There's a small amount of criticism and flack that comes from a vocal 10% but the fact remains that a majority of Ray's fan-base either share similar feelings or have the exact same feelings about the issues of the day as he does. If anyone thought that Ray was a far-left liberal progressive at any point in time then you were mistaken and it's easy to see why.

You can be a conservative and still want peace, love, and prosperity...but the means in which to achieve it are vastly different based upon political ideology.

A song like "Everything Is Beautiful", released by Ray in 1970, has long been described as a song championing a liberal cause while a more recent song, such as "Thank You", honors the soldiers in the military who voluntarily join the Armed Forces without knowing if they will be sent overseas or not. Extremists on the left side of the political spectrum can say that the 1970 song fits their agenda while extremists on the right can latch onto the sentiments in "Thank You".

However, a general audience should be able to enjoy both songs for what they are...without having to apply a political undertone or overtone in their decisions to like or not like either song. I love a lot of the well-done protest songs of the late '60s but that doesn't make me some sort of anti-war zealot...I like a lot of military songs, too, but that doesn't make me some sort of military zealot. I like several styles of music but Ray Stevens is the one I'm the biggest fan of. Music critics and radio programmers, especially, love to pigeonhole radio listeners into only being tolerable of specific sounds or certain artists, which is why critics labeled Ray's "Everything Is Beautiful" as a sentiment for the liberal point of view...never realizing that anyone, of all political points of view, may enjoy the song as well.

Anyway, that sort of assumption by critics, for example, paved the way for the splintering of the Top-40 format in the 1980's as every musical style under the sun seemingly got it's own special popularity chart and radio frequency but that's an entirely different discussion!

Are you one of the more than half a million or so that have watched Ray's hilarious "Mr. President - Mr. President" music video? A recently updated total shows that 563,459 people have viewed the video. Multiple views aren't counted and so it's safe to say that the video's been watched over a million times because it's only natural that a music video that people like will be watched multiple times. Even if people only watch a video twice you can multiply the video's current unique view total by 2 and get an estimated total of real-time views. If all 563,459 people were to watch the video just 1 additional time the total would technically be 1.1 million real-time views. If all those people watch the video 6 times throughout the course of a week the total of real-time views would be 3.3 million, etc. etc.

So, yes, while You Tube prevents the tallying of multiple views when they report on a video's view count, in an effort to stop skewed numbers ratcheted up by rabid fan bases, the fact remains that a lot of times, especially for music-related video content, people watch a video more than once so the real-time numbers will never come to light since multiple views aren't counted. Enjoy this clever song and speaks volumes...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Show your appreciation for the music of Ray Stevens...leave a comment...