May 9, 2012

Ray Stevens: Nostalgia Valley, Part 34...

On Monday, Ray Stevens released a statement about George Lindsey, who had passed away on Sunday at the age of 83. You can read Ray's message here at Music News Nashville. The statement's been picked up by quite a few news outlets as well as other blog sites and spread around the internet. I found out about Lindsey's death while surfing the internet...when I wrote my early Sunday morning blog publicizing Ray's upcoming appearance that night on a 1972 episode of Hee-Haw I was unaware of Lindsey's death and therefore I made no mention of it in the blog. I don't think the news had really broke when I was putting the Sunday morning blog together. Once I found out about his death I wrote a blog entry about Lindsey in my Animation blog, which doubles as my off-topic blog, where I comment about a lot of other topics not associated with Ray Stevens. You can find that blog address on my profile or you can click This Link and be taken right to the blog.

Ray posted a link to a short review of the Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. That review is Here. Within the write-up there's a link to Amazon...a product page for the's from the Amazon marketplace, though, so it's not been officially released to Amazon as of now. The marketplace, for those unaware, is a seller generated sub-site where people can purchase things from Amazon members and deal directly with the Amazon member rather than the store itself. The seller's asking $150.00 for their copy of the collection.

Did anyone catch Ray Stevens on Hee-Haw this past Sunday? As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, this 1972 episode first aired on RFD-TV in early November of 2011 and so this was your last opportunity to see it. Ray's first performance was "Isn't It Lonely Together?". In the performance he's seated on a stool in casual attire...a red shirt and blue jeans. He's got a beard and the show's resident dog, Beauregard, was shown laying on the floor during the performance. The production was top-notch...several times in the performance they used split-screen camera effects. Later, during the performance of "Gitarzan", the mood is much more festive and upbeat as you can imagine...complete with several Hee-Haw Honeys prancing around behind Ray as he performed the song. He was in the same attire but this time he had the electric guitar with him. Instead of re-writing what I already wrote in a previous blog entry in November 2011 let me just say that it was a great performance!!!

I think I speak for all fans when I say we want to see more Ray Stevens...LOTS more vintage Ray from the '60s, '70s, and '80s especially. I say this because there's not been too much footage of him from those decades. I still look for the day to come where somebody or some company in Nashville or wherever gets copyright clearances or gets the permission of the various copyright holders of his many television appearances and then puts them out on a DVD collection for all the fans to see. I can say, without doing much research, that there are quite a few out there who'd love to see a DVD like that come available. The same holds true, obviously, for his summer TV show from 1970. I've seen performances of Andy Williams from his 1969-1971 variety program...the same exact years that Ray Stevens was a recurring cast-member...but yet any songs or sketches that Ray participated in don't show up. I don't know if that's a decision from Ray or whoever to keep those appearances out of DVD circulation...but all his fans would love to see those performances...especially those fans in my age bracket and younger who weren't even born when the summer TV show was on the air. All we have are a few clips from The Life and Times of Ray Stevens that The Nashville Network aired in the late '90s. The two clips that were shown come from the same 1970 episode...he sang snippets of "Mr. Businessman" and "Everything Is Beautiful". I was born in 1976 and became aware of Ray Stevens in the mid 1980's...but as time went on I researched his music and television appearances and am perhaps one of the MANY who want to see all of his television appearances. But of course, I know that can never be accomplished because a lot of his earliest appearances, I'd say, are lost to time...either taped over or destroyed when it was common practice for television stations and networks to tape over episodes or wipe their tapes for cost cutting reasons...but there were just as many appearances, I assume, that are still on tape and available for re-mastering for the DVD age. I won't hold my breath, of course, but it's something in the back of my mind that someday I'd like to see happen.

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