June 19, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville DVD and Series: My Examination!!!

Hello out there...all of you fans of Ray Stevens!! The DVD of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville, Season One arrived in the mail this past Friday (June 16th). It's a 4-disc collection featuring 13 episodes of his television series. Once you play any of the discs there's an advertisement for Ray's website and mention of the upcoming CabaRay venue. Ray provides a voice over as his chicken clucking recording of "In the Mood" plays in the background. The main menu consists of various options that a viewer can select. You can choose to "play all episodes" (4 half hour episodes are featured on 3 of the 4 discs) and that's the choice I often select on my other DVD's but you can select the "choose a program" option and pick specific episodes to watch and there's even an option where only the performances are available and that's in the "choose a song" selection. There isn't a list of the 13 episodes on display on the back of the DVD case...so if you hadn't purchased the DVD yet and you want to know what episodes are part of the collection read further because I'll be posting an episode list. Now, of course, you can choose to wait until you purchase the DVD and read the menu...but I thought I'd make mention of the fact that an episode list is going to be at the bottom of this blog entry.

The first season consists of 13 regular episodes and one Christmas episode. Technically 13 episodes are referred to as a half season and 26 are considered a full season because everything is based upon a once a week air-time and a 52 week calendar year (26 first run episodes plus 26 repeats equals 52). I explained a lot about Ray's production cycle in my previous couple of blog entries but in any case this collection features 13 episodes with all of them showcased in chronological broadcast order based upon it's current run on PBS stations across the country.

The series originated as a lot of you know on the cable channel, RFD, in November of 2015. It's first season on RFD consisted of 14 episodes (one of those episodes, which isn't part of the PBS syndicated package, was the Christmas themed episode). From here on out I'll be referring to the episode lists as Season One/RFD; Season Two/RFD and Season One/PBS. All of the episodes currently airing on PBS affiliates originally aired on RFD.

Ray has had taping sessions at various times throughout 2016 and into this year and those episodes are going to start airing on PBS stations at some point later this year. The footage is in post-production. Then, in 2018, he plans on taping his episodes from the actual CabaRay venue after it officially opens. I was at long last finally able to see the first episode and episode nine!! In episode nine John Conlee performed "Common Man" after talking about his radio background. Jeff Bates appeared on the program, too, and after performing his song he and Ray spoke about Conway. Ray and Jeff also mentioned "Mary and Joseph and the Baby and Me". Given that the episode originally aired in early January of 2016 it wouldn't be until November the same year that a music video emerged of the song...and eventually an entire Christmas CD soon after that. As most of you know I wasn't able to see Ray's television program during it's original run on RFD and couldn't see it on PBS until WCVN/KET2 began airing it on March 25th of this year.

The series is taped in bits and pieces and assembled into separate half hour programs during marathon-style taping sessions. In a lot of ways the recording and production of the series resembles Hee Haw

As mentioned...there are 13 episodes on this 4-disc collection...but for some reason there's a bit of a difference in the broadcast order of RFD and PBS.

Curiously, in addition to the Christmas episode (from December 26, 2015) not being among the episodes airing on PBS (so far) and therefore not on this DVD there are 2 episodes from Season One/RFD not on this particular DVD, either. The January 2016 episodes guest starring Lee Greenwood and Darryl Worley (January 23rd) and T. Graham Brown and Suzi Ragsdale (January 30th) are not on this DVD because, technically, those episodes haven't aired on PBS stations yet even though they originally aired during Season One/RFD. Those 2 episodes aren't scheduled to air on PBS stations until later. The local PBS affiliate in my area carrying the program, KET2, which is a sub-channel of PBS affiliate WCVN (part of Kentucky Educational Television), has the January 23rd episode airing on September 16th and the January 30th episode airing in a couple of weeks, July 1st. This is a perfect illustration of local PBS affiliates picking and choosing the episodes they'll be airing from those made available.

What happened is 2 episodes from Season Two/RFD, perhaps by mistake or by design, have aired on Season One/PBS already. An episode guest starring Gene Watson from June 18, 2016 (Season Two/RFD) aired on the local PBS station a couple of weeks ago on June 3rd. On June 10th the episode guest starring James Gregory (Season Two/RFD) aired on PBS stations. The 13th and final episode of Season One/PBS guest stars Billy Dean and it aired just this past Saturday on the PBS channel in my area (June 17th). This is also the final episode of Season One/RFD from March 19, 2016. So, for whatever reason, PBS stations haven't aired a couple of January episodes from Season One/RFD but they did air a couple of summer episodes from Season Two/RFD to fill-in the gaps.

Season One/RFD Air-Dates/Broadcast Order:
1. Steve Wariner: November 7, 2015
2. Larry Gatlin: November 14, 2015
3. Bobby Bare: November 21, 2015
4. Don Schlitz: November 28, 2015
5. Charlie McCoy and Lori Stegner: December 5, 2015
6. Bobby Braddock: December 12, 2015
7. Jimmy Fortune: December 19, 2015
***Special episode: Suzy Bogus (Christmas program; hasn't aired on PBS): December 26, 2015***
8. Aaron Tippin: January 2, 2016
9. John Conlee and Jeff Bates: January 9, 2016
10. Tanya Tucker and T.G. Sheppard: January 16, 2016
11. Lee Greenwood and Darryl Worley: January 23, 2016 (hasn't aired on PBS yet; scheduled to air on WCVN/KET2 on September 16, 2017)
12. T. Graham Brown and Suzi Ragsdale: January 30, 2016 (hasn't aired on PBS yet; scheduled to air on WCVN/KET2 on July 1, 2017)
13. Billy Dean: March 19, 2016

Season Two/RFD Air-Dates/Broadcast Order:
1. James Gregory and Helen Highwater String Band: May 7, 2016 (aired on WCVN/KET2 already)
2. Bobby Goldsboro: May 14, 2016
3. Williams and Ree: May 21, 2016
4. Bellamy Brothers: June 4, 2016
5. The Gatlin Brothers: June 11, 2016
6. Gene Watson: June 18, 2016 (aired on WCVN/KET2 already)
7. Collin Raye: June 25, 2016
8. Bill Anderson: July 2, 2016
9. Sylvia: July 9, 2016
10. Con Hunley: July 16, 2016
11. Leroy Van Dyke: July 23, 2016
12. Janie Fricke: July 30, 2016

Here are the episodes that have aired and those yet to air on the local PBS affiliate in my area. You will notice that WCVN/KET2 isn't planning on airing much of what aired during the Season Two/RFD line-up. So I am hoping that more DVDs of his television program become available throughout the year!! Also, the first 13 episodes listed below are exactly what appears on Ray's latest DVD project...

WCVN/KET2 Air-Dates/Broadcast Order:
1. Steve Wariner: March 25, 2017
2. Larry Gatlin: April 1, 2017
3. Bobby Bare: April 8, 2017
4. Don Schlitz: April 15, 2017
5. Charlie McCoy and Lori Stegner: April 22, 2017
6. Bobby Braddock: April 29, 2017
7. Jimmy Fortune: May 6, 2017
8. Aaron Tippin: May 13, 2017
9. John Conlee and Jeff Bates: May 20, 2017
10. Tanya Tucker and T.G. Sheppard: May 27, 2017
11. Gene Watson: June 3, 2017 (from Season Two/RFD)
12. James Gregory: June 10, 2017 (from Season Two/RFD)
13. Billy Dean: June 17, 2017

1. Bobby Goldsboro: June 24, 2017
2. T. Graham Brown and Suzi Ragsdale: July 1, 2017 (from Season One/RFD)
3. Harold Bradley: July 8, 2017
4. Shenandoah: July 15, 2017 (footage taped February 2017)
5. Michael W. Smith: July 22, 2017
6. B.J. Thomas: July 29, 2017
7. Rhonda Vincent: August 5, 2017
8. Restless Heart: August 12, 2017
9. John Michael Montgomery: August 19, 2017
10. Baillie and the Boys: August 26, 2017
11. Con Hunley: September 2, 2017 (footage taped February 2017)
12. Jimmy Wayne: September 9, 2017
13. Lee Greenwood and Darryl Worley: September 16, 2017 (from Season One/RFD)

The second group of 13 episodes consists of some programs originally meant for RFD but weren't aired (based on social media postings late last year during taping sessions by the guest stars) and there are some from a taping session held earlier this year and those episodes will be brand new to all of Ray's fans since they hadn't aired before. The 11th episode is Con Hunley's second guest appearance. He appeared in an episode that RFD aired in July of last year. There was a taping session held in December of 2016 and those episodes are no doubt also part of the second group of 13 episodes WCVN/KET2 is scheduled to air.

From June 26th to June 30th Ray is going to be busy taping footage for even more episodes of the television series. These episodes are probably not going to start airing on PBS affiliates until maybe late fall or early winter this year. Once those episodes air, however, as I mentioned earlier, additional episodes are going to be taped at his CabaRay venue!

You can purchase the 13-episode, PBS-aired First Season DVD by clicking HERE.

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