Hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens!! Has anyone been checking the items on eBay lately? I often come across a lot of CD's and vinyl LP's and singles from all over the world during a Ray Stevens eBay search and this morning happened to be no different. There happens to be for sale 2 LP's of a radio program that Ray appeared on during the final week of January 1980. The Ralph Emery Show, syndicated on radio stations all over the United States, aired daily for more than 10 years beginning in the early '70s. The program ran 1 hour.
Each episode also featured a special guest/spotlight artist for the week whose songs happened to be aired more than others during a given week. Also, interview footage by Ralph and the guest that week aired periodically throughout an episode.
Ray Stevens appeared on Ralph's syndicated radio program during the last week of January 1980. The first episode, airing on January 21, 1980 (Monday) and the third episode from January 24, 1980 (Thursday) are available on vinyl on eBay. Each vinyl disc has 1 program split into two segments. The A-side has part 1 of the hour program and the B-side has part 2. Along with the vinyl you'll also get the program sheet that lists all the songs played and the length of each segment and the time length of each commercial. According to the sheet for each hour long program there are 10 segments in total. The total running time for both the show and their commercial breaks add up to 47 minutes. My guess is the local stations had to come up with the remaining 13 minutes of commercial time.
Take note: The item is only available until May 7th but here is a link to the eBay page as it exists on May 4th... Ray Stevens January 1980
Ray's involvement in that week's programs coincided with his birthday that year...he turned 41 on January 24, 1980 and had a soon to become gigantic novelty song just starting to make a lot of noise: "Shriner's Convention". That particular song is played on the January 21st episode of Ralph's radio program.
The song, ironically, had been a part of Ray's career since late in 1979...footage of Ray performing the song on a made-for-TV movie from 1979, Concrete Cowboys, reveals this. That film (starring Jerry Reed and Tom Selleck) aired on TV on October 17, 1979. I don't know the production dates of the movie...but given that the film aired in October 1979 has me assuming that Ray's scene had to have been shot at some point in the fall of 1979 (August...September at the latest). If anyone has any details about that film's production dates it would certainly clear up this mini-mystery. Ray performs "Shriner's Convention" in the movie beginning at the 34 minute, 10 second mark.
A TV series in 1981, based on the movie, aired for an incredibly brief run in the spring of 1981. Ray Stevens guest starred on what turned out to be the final episode of the TV series.
As far as the 1981 TV series goes, Jerry Reed reprises his role from the movie but Tom Selleck's role was recast with Geoffrey Scott. Selleck had gone on to star on Magnum, P.I. beginning in 1980 and obviously wasn't available to reprise his role from the 1979 movie.