September 9, 2012

Ray Stevens: Nostalgia Valley, Part 42...

As it's become somewhat of a tradition on this blog, I always make mention of "Armchair Quarterback", a song that Ray Stevens recorded in 1985. The song can be found on the I Have Returned album. The album itself is a classic in his career...not only was it certified Gold but it reached #1 on the Country Album chart early in 1986. The album features 10 comedy of those recordings is the chicken flavored "Thus Cacked Henrietta", also known as Thus Spoke Zarathustra as well as a few other names. Lasting just over 1 minute it's a super brief, but tasty, rendition of a familiar motion picture theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. On the album it's referred to as "Thus Cacked Henrietta A/K/A Also Sprach Zarathustra". In actuality it could be considered a further performance by The Henhouse Five Plus Too, the fictional all-clucking group Ray invented in 1976 when he released "In the Mood". The group performed "Classical Cluck" as that single's b-side. So, this 1985 performance marked the fictional group's third and to date, final, clucking.

"Armchair Quarterback" tells the story of what's perceived to be the typical football fan...lounging in an armchair, complete with snacks and drinks, and yelling at the TV over the plays he sees or the commentary being made by the broadcasters. I love watching football, mostly NFL, but I sometimes will catch a college game on Saturdays...I don't yell or shout at the TV and I don't make football watching into a party...but I do have the snacks and the non-alcoholic drinks at my side. In the song, Ray sings of the typical football fan and the impact that the season has on his life as well as his family. The song was never issued as an A-side but it did accompany his famed re-recording of "Santa Claus Is Watching You" in late 1985. The single came with a picture sleeve, shown below, of Ray dressed as Santa...with a look of mischief on his face...peeking over at some hidden activity to his right. The song became his first-ever music video.

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