December 7, 2009

Ray Stevens: For All Ages

December 7, 2009 marks the 68th anniversary of Pearl Harbor of the key figures during World War Two was Douglas MacArthur and he's the central figure on this 1985 album picture from Ray Stevens. "I Shall Return" and "I Have Returned" are the often repeated quotes from MacArthur, by the way. The local classic country radio station is doing their annual tribute to World War Two this morning featuring mostly war songs and country songs that were being played during the war years. Due to political correctness, which I am not a big fan of, a lot of the World War Two imagery is often censored today or re-enacted in a revisionist history kind of way as to "not offend" those who are descendants of the Germans or the Japanese. I'm pretty sure the Germans and the Japanese of today are well aware of their countries battles in the past. The mentality of "not offending" someone of German or Japanese heritage is hogwash, actually. In my way of thinking it's just another form of apologizing and glossing over the realities of what went on. Of course, time goes by and people make up and become friends, but that's no excuse to want to censor or sanitize the feelings that were taking place during that period in time. When people accuse the political correct crowd of revisionist history it means that people want to act like things never existed but if images or literature surfaces from that time period, the political correct people want to apologize instead of simply saying "well, that's the way things were at that time". The political correctness that runs rampant causes people to apologize or feel guilty for the way their country behaved...forgetting that it was during a time of war. I'm proud of the way our country behaved and still behaves when facing an enemy...that is, if the right person is in charge, someone who's not going to fall for the old routine of "diplomacy is the right strategy at all times".

A secondary theme of this blog entry is the age-gap and the age factor in general when it comes to Ray Stevens. I came across a blog earlier this morning that, I think, sarcastically mentioned that nobody under 40 would know who Ray Stevens is or what any of his songs are. I couldn't reply because they wanted you to join their site and I didn't feel like joining some blog page just to complain about one posting. What I felt like saying was "why can't someone under 40 know who Ray Stevens is?". The simple answer is they can. I'm tired of coming across blog pages or reading "commentary" on-line or in magazines saying that just because someone isn't over a certain age then they're ignorant about or disinterested in things. When I read that blog earlier and came across the remarks that nobody under 40 has a clue about Ray Stevens it annoyed me because of how ignorant THAT statement was. Is there this secret rule somewhere saying that someone under 40 is suppose to only like listening to music by those close in age? By reversing that same statement does that mean people over 40 aren't suppose to like anything that supposedly appeals to "younger people"? I've known of several people in their 50's who get caught up in those mindless reality shows that are on TV...and those shows are supposed to be aimed at teenagers and young adults...not older audiences who are traditionally more harder to please when it comes to entertainment.

This same feeling persists in radio as well. Radio programmers and DJ's tend to have the belief that they're only performing for a certain age group and only that age group listens to the radio. Currently, however, that belief may be accurate because of the way radio has pushed a lot of listeners off their stations in favor of a select age group by playing material that by and large is only appealing to a select audience...instead of the wide audience.

The mystery that I'd like to find the answer to is why can't someone under 40 appreciate singers or TV programs that are older than they are? Why must this constant belief that someone 32, for example, will only listen to music by people within their age group or watch a TV show with like-minded people? Fortunately for me I was raised on singers who were way older than I was. I was 5 or 6 when I first heard George Jones...a little bit later I heard Ray Stevens for the first time...and Conway Twitty...and so on and so forth. I'm in the minority...I should say those such as myself are in the minority. If you're not educated or exposed to something early on chances are by the time you do reach the age when you start to pick and choose TV shows you like and choose the music you like, it's often too late, I think, for that person to achieve some sort of respect or tolerance of things that they may comes to view as "old fashioned" or "yuck! that's my parent's music!". I can honestly say I've never had that kind of rebellious nature. I tended to like the things my parent's and grandparent's liked...which I think makes me more well-rounded than most my age who think it's their duty to be rebellious of everything and anything.


  1. I totally agree with what you have said, and if they don't know the music of Ray Stevens and the great things he stands for there unfortunatly missing out on one of the finer entertainers and smartest, humans anywhere that has ever been.

  2. Thanks for the comment! When I saw that blog that mentioned that people under 40 wouldn't really know who Ray Stevens is/was I just had to say something. Of course, I think such a belief as that is crazy but chances are they were generalizing instead of attempting to be accurate.

  3. We played the "Gitarzan" cd for our 2 grandchildren that are 11 and 10. They could not get enough of it. I immediately went to itunes and burned them Gitarzan and other songs for them before they went home.


Show your appreciation for the music of Ray Stevens...leave a comment...