September 10, 2015

Ray Stevens and the Moon River Concert...

Hello once again! Here's a reminder that Ray Stevens has a concert coming up...this coming Saturday night at the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri. You can read about it and purchase tickets HERE. I've mentioned this concert in previous blog posts but considering it's now a couple of days away I thought to make mention of it once more. It's his first concert of the month...he has 2 more concerts planned for later in the month in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Beginning today you can purchase 2 of Ray's DVD collections in a special offer ($15.00). Each of the DVD collections regularly sell at his web-store for $10.95 each but starting today both are being sold together. The DVDs are the Cartoon Carnival releases. Each release (Volume One and Volume Two) features 10 music videos...most of them featuring animated characters on screen (including Ray himself) but there are some that feature live-action Ray interacting with animated backgrounds.

You can purchase the special offer HERE.

In one of the summer 1970 video clips found on Ray's YouTube channel there's a clip titled "Swamp Girl". In addition to the comedy sketch there's also the recurring segment called "Who is Ray Stevens?". In that segment you'll be treated to cameo appearances by Don Knotts, Andy Williams, and Jonathan Winters giving their response as to who they think Ray Stevens happens to be. The routine came about due to Ray's low-key nature and the idea/belief that a television audience is different than a music audience.

Ray had made periodic appearances on Andy's television program in 1969 and into early 1970 and according to producers of Andy's program Ray happened to be the most popular/talked about guest and so they approached him with the offer to host Andy's summer program. Ray, up until that point, had been a fixture on the pop music scene for nearly 10 years and he had several recordings and albums to his credit (some of those songs became million sellers).

The exposure on the summer television program launched him into pop superstar stratosphere. Ironically his summer series began on June 20, 1970...a couple of weeks after "Everything is Beautiful" had reached it's #1 finish on both the pop and the Easy-Listening charts...but the further exposure the song received on Ray's summer series enabled it to remain a top seller. Given the fact that it remained #1 pop for 2 weeks and #1 Easy-Listening for 3 and the fact that it hit the Top-40 internationally (reaching #1 in Australia and Canada and the Top-10 in Ireland and England) it's not a surprise to learn that it became the #12 song for the entire year of 1970. A massively popular recording.

The final episode of the summer series aired on August 8, 1970. During the production of the series he was promoting some other songs, too, which came to light on the Unreal album (released after the summer series ended). "America, Communicate with Me", for example, became the big single from that album but "Sunset Strip" is a masterful recording, too. Each single became a hit on the adult oriented Easy-Listening radio format (music that still appealed to a broad audience...but typically appealing to people aged 35 and older instead of 30 and younger).

Here is one of the clips from Ray's 1970 summer series...

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