Over the course of the last several months (dating back to early January of this year) local PBS affiliates picked episodes that previously aired on RFD and aired those. The PBS station in my area began airing the show in late March and of those RFD episodes available to air, WCVN/KET2 broadcast 15 of them (the 15th being a gospel themed episode guest starring T. Graham Brown and it also guest starred Ray's daughter, Suzi Ragsdale). Last night's episode guest starred Harold Bradley and Mandy Barnett.
On that particular episode it carried an early '60s feel...but yet this isn't surprising considering the guests that night. Ray opened the show singing "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" which eventually led to an explanation of the song's origins and history and how, coupled with it's brisk sales success and the fact that it happened to be a comedy song, inspired him to focus on comedy for awhile and perhaps that would enable him to breakthrough and become a successful recording artist. He had to pull the single off the market after threats of a lawsuit from the copyright owners of the Sgt. Preston character but the sales attention he had gotten led him to issue another comedy song...and this one contains one of the longest song titles in existence: "Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills". That song rocketed up the Hot 100 and into the Top-40 in the blink of an eye in 1961.
Harold Bradley, a legendary guitar player/session musician and brother of the late Owen Bradley (himself a legendary music figure), talks of his background and history in the music industry. Owen happened to be a producer at Decca (later renamed MCA) and eventually opened what was to be known as The Bradley Barn (a recording studio inside a converted barn). Prior to this, however, both Owen and Harold worked in what was referred to as The Quonset Hut. The facility happened to be located at a house on 16th Avenue and 1954 is the year it opened for business...attaching a Quonset Hut to the house later on...which originally was intended as a film/TV studio but over time it became part of the recording studio. Owen and Harold sold the studio to Columbia in 1962 and, as mentioned, The Bradley Barn came into existence a couple of years later. Ray and Harold discuss their identical first and middle names: Harold Ray Ragsdale (the birth name of our Ray Stevens!) and Harold Ray Bradley. They speak of Patsy Cline and this eventually brings out Mandy Barnett. She sings "Crazy" and "I'm Confessin'" as Harold plays the electric guitar. Given the length of time spent with Harold and Mandy there wasn't much time for some of the familiar segments. There was a Video Jukebox segment featuring the limited animation music video, "Barbecue", and a closing song from Ray...a performance of his early '60s hit "Harry the Hairy Ape".
This begins the official third season of Ray's television show. The updated schedule of episodes can be found below. The air-dates listed below fall on Friday but that doesn't mean Friday is the official day of the week the show airs. Some local PBS affiliates air the show on Friday evening while a bulk of the PBS affiliates air the show on Saturday or Sunday evenings. As mentioned the first episode has already aired here...some PBS affiliates are airing that episode today...some PBS affiliates aired the episode on Friday.
July 7 – Harold Bradley and Mandy Barnett
July 14 – Shenandoah
July 21 – Michael W. Smith
July 28 – B.J. Thomas
Aug 4 – Rhonda Vincent
Aug 11 – Restless Heart
Aug 18 – John Michael Montgomery
Aug 25 – Baillie & the Boys
Sept 1 – Tommy Roe
Sept 8 – Mark Wills
Sept 15 – Duane Eddy
The last three episodes on the above list weren't originally scheduled to air when I provided what turned out to be a tentative list of future episodes in a previous blog. The last three episodes are going to air here on September 2, 9, and 16. Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville Schedule.