April 9, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville Episode List...

Hello once again! Last night I seen episode 3 of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville which featured Bobby Bare as a guest. He sang "The Streets of Baltimore" and told a couple of stories of Nashville's past. He and Ray spoke of Mel Tillis and "Detroit City". Ray played a clip of Bobby performing the song on an episode of Ray's previous internet-only series, We Ain't Dead Yet. Ray performed a rhythm and blues classic, "Hi-Heel Sneakers", and later on performed "Mississippi Squirrel Revival". Earlier this morning I began thinking about Ray's current television series and it's history. It previously aired on RFD-TV...debuting on November 7, 2015. There happened to be at least 26 episodes (maybe more) that aired on the channel prior to it's RFD exit nearly a year later. It began airing on local PBS stations across the country in January of this year (starting with episode 1 from November 2015).

On Ray's main site there's a section focusing on his television series and it lists the first 12 episodes. You can access that page by clicking HERE. On that page there's a state by state list of PBS affiliates carrying Ray's series. Click on the name of the state to see the PBS affiliate. Given that the series hasn't been available on PBS for too long (since January) the number of markets isn't saturated across the country which obviously explains the reason a lot of states are missing from the line-up. Some states carry the program on more PBS affiliates than others. For example...if you click Oklahoma you'll see that 19 stations carry the program. There are 16 PBS stations in Kentucky that air the program. I can tune into the program via KET2, a sub-channel of WCVN.

A couple days ago the Inductees of the Country Music Hall of Fame (class of 2017) were released. Going into the Hall of Fame this year are Alan Jackson, Jerry Reed, and songwriter Don Schlitz. Next week's episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville, by pure coincidence, guest stars Don Schlitz. Ray is not a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, by the way, but he's a member of other Halls of Fame and they're just as meaningful...but of course as a fan of his I'd love to see his name become enshrined as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame one day!

A couple months ago a 4 minute publicity video featuring snippets of Ray's television series appeared on YouTube. Some of the episodes spotlighted in this video clip have already aired on PBS and some have yet to air.


April 2, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville successfully Recorded...

Hello once more...last week I wrote a post about my lack of experience setting up the DVR recording options and that the episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville that I thought would be taped didn't turn out as planned. As I had guessed all I had to do was change it's default setting from "record new episodes" to "record all episodes" and that did the trick. Obviously by having the episode recorded I loved having the opportunity to go back several hours later and watch the episode all over again. In case you missed it the April 1st airing guest starred Larry Gatlin. Ray opened the show singing "Such a Night" and later performed "It's Me Again, Margaret". In case you hadn't seen this episode yet keep your eyes open for Don Cusic. Interestingly Ray didn't do a live vocal impression of the telephone dial during "It's Me Again, Margaret" but instead had his recorded sound effect piped in through the sound system. In a segment referred to as the Video Jukebox Ray presented his music video of "Freddie Feelgood and His Funky Little Five Piece Band".

Larry Gatlin spoke about his career and his brothers, plus he did his impression of Mel Tillis in addition to mentioning Mickey Newbury (a noted songwriter). He sang a couple of lines of a song from the pen of Newbury, "American Trilogy", before launching into "All the Gold in California".  Throughout the episode there happened to be comical inserts of vintage comedy bits featuring Ray as Sickmind Fraud, a parody of Sigmund Freud.

Prior to and after the episode PBS aired commercials for The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the more broader Musicians Hall of Fame. Ray was elected a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980 (the same year he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame!). Also promoted, of course, was Ray's website. In addition to the publicity for the Halls of Fame and Ray's website he appears before and after the episode seated at his piano for exclusive footage introducing/closing the presentation. This footage is exclusive to it's PBS airings given that he asks viewers to stay tuned to their local PBS station. It's a syndicated series...airing on scattered PBS stations across the country and on whatever day and time a station chooses to air it. Those wraparound segments of Ray at his piano reminded me of the PBS airings of classic episodes of Lawrence Welk's program. Former cast members/associates of that series often appeared before and after the episode to talk about the show, etc.

Saturday night (April 1, 2017) happened to be the first time I'd been able to see a complete episode of Ray's television program. Over the years the thing that's been consistent from those that had previously seen the episodes on RFD-TV is their sentiment that "the episodes are too short" or "it needs to be an hour long". After finally being able to see an episode I agree...it did feel as if the half hour flew by...but only time will tell if he expands it to an hour. My overall reaction: it's sort of an informal formality...it's a top flight, formal program lacking the stuffiness or pompousness often associated with formality. That's the best way of describing my feel of the series...and I've had that opinion of the series solely based on the clips I'd seen on his YouTube channel...so to finally see an episode in it's entirety only helps to reinforce my earlier opinion. I can't wait to see the next episode on April 8th!!

Here are a couple of articles about the upcoming CabaRay Nashville venue...set to open at some point later this year. Once it opens, it's already been announced, that future episodes of his television series are going to be taped there.

The first article features comments from Ray's longtime business and songwriting partner, Buddy Kalb, plus comments from Bill Cody (WSM radio personality and the announcer of Ray's television series) and several others. The second article features comments from Ray himself. Each article appeared in the March 31st issue...so they're still "hot off the presses" as the saying goes.

Nashville Ledger Buddy Kalb

Nashville Ledger Ray Stevens