January 22, 2010

Ray Stevens: Nostalgia Valley, Part 3

The most recent play count on You Tube of the Ray Stevens music video, "We The People", currently sits at 2,412,796. I like to add an update every so often because the music video continues to climb in play counts and it's much like watching a CD climb in sales...there's an excitement about it, make no mistake, of watching the music video climb in viewer totals. It's anyone's guess if the music video will reach 3 million or more...but I think I remember saying something similar several days ago when I wondered if the video would reach 2 million. So now it's at 2.4 million and it's long been declared a major hit among social networks and I believe that Ray and company will continue to ride the music video at least another month...February 2010 is supposed to be the month that the album of patriotic and political songs is to be released. I wish I knew what was on the album now...as far as song titles...but amazingly in this day and age it's been able to be kept secret. I have an idea of what one of the songs will be and that's only because his web-page had mentioned the song as a possible follow-up but it's not been officially announced yet.

I continue to do my part in defending the song from it's slate of vicious critics and I'll continue to do so. I feel the criticisms are more or less on a personal level and they have no real substance. The national conversation is slowly navigating toward the economy and unemployment but the state of health care is on life-support until an actual final vote is reached...which may not happen for awhile...but we shall see. This Democratically controlled Congress is the same one who pushed through ObamaCare on Christmas Eve in the Senate so I'm not completely optimistic that those same people aren't coming up with another got'cha move when we least expect it.

In my third trip to Nostalgia Valley we come across a certain Ray Stevens song that should fill all your hearts with laughter...the wild and hilarious...hold on to your seats...the totally nuts "I Used To Be Crazy". The comical song comes from the 1989 Ray Stevens album, Beside Myself, which I've written a lot about. This particular song closes out the album and leaves the listener wanting more. The song can best be described as the rantings of a depressed entertainer who has a reputation for being slightly off-beat and has a public perception of being a nut-case. The man admits that he used to be crazy but feels that he's making improvements. This is a song that I really can't explain much about because doing so would spoil the song for those who hadn't heard it. Ray gets crazy in this song...and the appreciators of comical songs will grin from ear to ear when they hear it.

Another song that'll have you grinning ear to ear is Ray's early 1971 smash hit in England, "Bridget the Midget, the Queen of the Blues". In one of the most lop-sided statistics, this single peaked in the runner-up position in the United Kingdom in early 1971...peaking at #2. In America the single peaked in the Top-50 of the Hot 100. I don't know if the Top-50 finish in America was a statement being made by Top-40 radio at the time or if the song appealed more to the international audience by comparison because Ray in fact is and was an America-generated artist so it always surprised me why a novelty single, which is what Ray is known for releasing, would hit bigger in England by such a wide margin. The song spoofs go-go dance clubs and the patrons...and maybe the satire wasn't well embraced in America by radio DJ's who probably feared alienating a segment of the audience that frequented those clubs. It's anyone's guess but the single if heard today draws flack because of the high-sped vocals being used as Ray portrays the title character. I think that gimmick is perhaps what made it such a novelty sensation in England in early 1971. The song was impeccably produced and featured high quality sound...and the throng of activity that's presented within the song is incredible. It's like theater of the mind...letting the words paint the scene. When you hear the song you can picture yourself inside one of those go-go clubs watching it all play out.

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