Hello one and all...it may seem as if this is becoming a recurring segment of my fan-created blog but it's more or less something that just seems to happen...that is, a re-cap of the previous night's episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville. Airing last night, episode seven, and the main guest happened to be tenor singer Jimmy Fortune.
The episode opened with Ray performing "Hang Up and Drive"...a comical gem of a song criticizing the habit of driving a car and talking on a cell-phone at the same time. This preoccupation habit is more commonly referred to today as texting and driving but it didn't have such a nick-name back when Ray recorded the song, originally, in 2000. Actually, to be specific, texting and driving refers to typing on your cell-phone as you drive your vehicle and this song happens to be about talking on your cell-phone as you drive your vehicle...regardless, though, either habit is unwise while operating a vehicle. The live performance lacks the abundance of car crash sound effects heard on the recording. He created a limited animation music video for the song back in the early 2000s. It originally appeared on the VHS release, Cartoon Video Collection, but the audio recording debuted on the 2000 Clyde Records release, Ear Candy; a CD which, in 2002, was partially re-released as Osama Yo' Mama- The Album on Curb Records. You can see the official music video of "Hang Up and Drive" by clicking HERE. All the music videos on that VHS release feature live-action Ray Stevens singing against animated backgrounds. All of them have since been uploaded onto YouTube. This one hit YouTube on June 12, 2013 and it's been seen by over 40,000 people.
Jimmy Fortune is brought out following an introduction by Ray concerning The Statler Brothers in the early 1980s upon the retirement of Lew Dewitt. He tells the audience/viewers that Jimmy became an invaluable member of the group due not only to the tenor support but through his songwriting. Jimmy penned several of the group's monster hits during the mid 1980s...including the song he performed solo on last night's episode, "Elizabeth". He penned "Elizabeth", "My Only Love", "Too Much on My Heart", "More Than a Name on a Wall", "Forever", and others. Jimmy speaks fondly of his years with The Statler Brothers prior to the group's retirement in 2002 and offers brief history on the group's origins...beginning in gospel music and transferring to country music...and Ray inserts commentary about Statler being the name of a tissue brand.
Later in the show Ray presents a treat for viewers...a segment that had been taped previously featuring Bobby Bare, Don Schlitz, and Charlie McCoy. After Ray asks each of them to describe their arrival in the music industry they join Ray in a performance of the Rhythm and Blues hit, "My Babe". The trio are in the same outfits that each of them appeared in during their solo appearances on Ray's program (Bobby episode 4, Don episode 5, and Charlie episode 6) and so I think the segment had originally been taped during the production of episode 4 and saved for broadcasting on episode 7...at least that's my theory. In the performance clip Charlie McCoy sings (!) in addition to playing a harmonica solo.
In the Video Jukebox the spotlight turned to his iconic music video, "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (1990). The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music "professor", Don Cusic, presented information concerning "Gitarzan"...and this lead to Ray's performance of his 1969 classic. A rousing performance to close the episode for sure!
Next Saturday night episode 8 will feature Aaron Tippin as special guest. If the PBS affiliate in your area airs the program tune it in. You can find out by clicking Ray's TV SERIES link. There's a state by state breakdown so if you find your state on the list click it and see which PBS affiliate in your area is carrying Ray's program. Once you do that check your local listings for specific day and time it airs. Syndicated television series have various air-times and air-dates throughout the country. In most major PBS markets that carry his program they offer it at 8pm on Saturday nights.
You, as fans, will have to look up your PBS channel's website from the list provided at Ray's web page. One the touring front Ray is to appear at The Grand Ole Opry on May 27th. Usually, but not always, but usually most guest appearances from Ray signal some sort of upcoming project is on the horizon and he's been known to debut unreleased songs during Opry appearances...but even after saying that don't read too much into his guest appearance until after it happens later this month. Since he hasn't released any music since last Christmas (the CD and music video of "Mary and Joseph and the Baby and Me") it's only natural for this fan to assume he'll spotlight some upcoming release but then again he may just walk out on the Opry stage and regal the audience with classics like "The Streak", "It's Me Again, Margaret", "Misty", "Everything is Beautiful", etc. Later this summer on July 22 he'll be appearing in Renfro Valley, Kentucky at their entertainment center. So far those are the only concert dates that appear on his site. I'm sure other appearances may appear on the schedule this summer but don't forget his CabaRay Nashville venue is set to open in the fall of this year...so the bulk of his performances are going to be taking place there...and factor in any taping sessions for his television series, too! He continues to keep himself busy doesn't he??