August 19, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...John Michael Montgomery...

Hello I begin this entry of the fan-created blog it's 4 minutes until 9pm and the latest episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville ran it's closing credits about half an hour ago. On this episode the special guest happened to be John Michael Montgomery. Ray opened the show performing a song from his 1984 album, He Thinks He's Ray Stevens. A couple of episodes ago he performed "Ned Nostril"...the first time I'd ever seen him perform it on television; in fact it may have been the only time he's performed it on television as far as I know. This time around he opened the show singing "I'm Kissing You Goodbye"...a song that has a peculiar history.

As mentioned it's from a 1984 album...his debut album for MCA (a label he was with from 1984-1989 and again from 1996-1998). This song was actually the album's lead-off single...some of the vinyl albums that are sold on-line at places like eBay feature publicity stickers on the album's shrink wrap advertising this song as one of the spotlight recordings. MCA began promoting it as a  single but there wasn't much favorable response and very quickly the hype for the single ended...but whatever initial disappointment there might have been surrounding the future of the album was changed, however, once the squirrel got loose and demand for that song forced the label into releasing "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival" as a single...and once that happened late in 1984 it caused the album to do an about face and eventually climb into the Top-10...all on the strength of a song that originally was meant to be an album track and nothing more. Like "Ned Nostril", a song that I'd never seen Ray perform on television, the same holds true for "I'm Kissing You Goodbye"...and throughout the performance it received a rousing response from the audience. After the opening performance a clip from We Ain't Dead Yet aired in which Phil Everly portrays a manager of George Jones...attempting to get George booked for a series of concerts in Germany. You all may remember Rayality was one of Ray's television offerings seven or eight years ago. It was produced in sitcom style and it took place at a fictional retirement home for entertainers called The Encore...which enabled there to be a music segment in each episode. The series aired, originally titled We Ain't Dead Yet, as a subscription-based internet exclusive (to subscribers of Ray Stevens Backstage, specifically) but later the series aired in bits and pieces, surrounded by an assortment of other clips, as Rayality TV on the re-launched TNN (now called Heartland TV) but it was never seen nationally due to the limited coverage of the network at the time. It aired on the re-launched TNN during the 2012-2013 season prior to the channel re-branding itself Heartland TV...but back to tonight's episode...

Ray brings out John Michael Montgomery after making the point that some singers are known by only one name but most are known by first and last name...but then, as Ray points out, some artists boast three names...and after listing some of those three name acts he introduces John Michael Montgomery. John speaks of his career (going back to 1992) and mentions his brother, Eddie, and how both his brother and Troy Gentry (of the duo Montgomery-Gentry) were members of band's that John put together in the early years.

Following this conversation there's a short clip from Rayality TV once more. George Jones appears at the end of the clip looking for someone named William Maurice (a take-off on the talent agency, William Morris).

John sings "Letters from Home" and upon it's conclusion he performs "Sold". This is a rarity for it broke formula a little bit. In the episodes that have aired there is usually a performance from the guest, then a Video Jukebox segment, and then a second performance from the guest artist...but on tonight's episode John spoke about and then launched into "Sold" after the end of his first performance. For those not familiar it's an auction song whose official title is "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)".

After the performance there's a clip from Rayality TV once's the comical performance of "White Lightning" from George Jones. It's comical due to the fact that George is lip-syncing to the original 1959 recording and the footage was taped at some point in 2009/2010. It was done like that on purpose because of how funny it would look. After the clip is finished it returns back to Ray on the set of his show to perform the closing number, "Retired". That song was originally a duet with Ray and one of it's writers, Brent Burns. Ray also recorded a solo version and his solo recording appears on his 2009 CD, One for the Road. Afterward Ray tells some one-liner jokes prior to the closing theme playing...leading him to request a dance partner. Prior to the closing credit roll there's a message that appears on-screen dedicating the episode to the memory of Phil Everly and George Jones.

Next week's episode (airing here August 26th) will guest star Baillie and the Boys.

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