January 9, 2010
Ray Stevens: 45 at 24
1986 was one of the biggest years for Ray Stevens during that decade. Earlier in the year he was at #1 on the album chart with I Have Returned, a comedy album released late in 1985. Following the success of the album and a couple of the singles he moved on with a follow-up album, Surely You Joust, and this collaborative single. The single, "Southern Air", is a very funny song that uses a lot of regional locale for it's humor. I didn't get a few of the jokes until years later. The single was a departure for Ray in that it was a trio effort...helping him along the way were Jerry Clower and Minnie Pearl. They played the pilot and stewardess while Ray played the part of a passenger/narrator. "Southern Air" in case you didn't know is a fictional airline where through descriptive humor we're told that it has a screen door and in our minds we're suppose to conjure up an image of an airplane made by hand sputtering along the sky. In one of the jokes, the plane flies so low in Enterprise, Alabama that you could see buildings and monuments...you can pretty much guess where the plane lands and takes off from. Jerry Clower is hilarious as the pilot/captain and Minnie Pearl gets to play-up her persona as a man-hungry lady of class. The single reached the country Top-70 in 1986 and when I hear the song I'm always taken back to when I was a kid looking forward to watching Hee-Haw on Saturday evenings with my grandparents.