April 10, 2010

Ray Stevens talks songwriting in 1982...

I do not know at what point in 1982 that this interview was conducted but it's a very good interview...it's an interview that sometimes plays out like one of those intimate 60 Minutes interviews and the reason I say this is because of the camera angles and the close-up's and the overall tone of the interview. There is some levity and jokes but for the most part it's a deadly serious discussion about songwriting. Ray talks about his inspiration for "The Streak" and "Everything Is Beautiful". Along the way Ray explains that he's been busy writing songs for what I assume is an upcoming album. If this is the case, depending on at what point in 1982 this interview was taped, Ray could have been talking about some of the songs he wrote for his 1982 Don't Laugh Now album or he could have been referring to the songs he wrote for his Me album, which was released in 1983.

The interview is conducted by the McCain Brothers and they ask about Ray's future projects. Newcomer fans of Ray Stevens who watch this may find it revealing that even in 1982 he was wanting to get into television regularly with a possible television program. This goal remained a constant throughout his career and it may have been fueled in the late '60s when so many pop/country singers were hosting their own television programs. Ray, in fact, became something of a regular on Andy Williams' show between 1969 and 1971...hosting the summer replacement show for Andy in 1970. In the early '90s Ray put together a pilot called Amazing Rolling Revue. It's long been out of print after initially being released on home video. The project was originally taped as a pilot for a television show. The title of the show referred to the way in which the comedy revue was presented. Based on the pilot, the show would feature skits and characters in addition to a special guest or two. Currently Ray sporadically tapes a series of shows called We Ain't Dead Yet which features a lot of country music personalities as regulars. It features a special guest each episode, too. This show is part of Ray Stevens Backstage, a subscription based service at his web-page.

Ray has appeared on countless television programs through the years. One of the things that I find interesting is back in the '60s and '70s the promotion departments of the various non-country music television programs would refer to Ray as composer/singer Ray Stevens. As the 1980's dawned, though, those same television shows would classify Ray as country artist/songwriter and then by the end of the decade he'd be referred to as a country comedian. Naturally, though, with the various style shifts in Ray's career through the years it makes sense.


  1. Thank you for that wonderful interview and column you sent for all of us to enjoy. One of my favorite songs comes from the title of one of his albums, simply called, "Don't Laugh Now." It is a song that touched my heart deeply and when someone does that you know how special that becomes. Doesn't he look like a doll in that blue shirt? You'll
    never hear any flack out of me about him, because he's a sweetheart.

  2. I'm glad you liked the interview! I'm hoping more things from Ray's past surface on You Tube.

  3. Also thanks for referencing my "About me" update and my rules of never publishing comments that speak badly of Ray Stevens. That "About me" section was edited a few days ago because there might be some people out there who think I have a professional or personal connection to Ray and I don't. I do this as a fan salute for those out there who assumed otherwise.

    I'm still waiting for my copy of Ray's new CD/DVD project, WE THE PEOPLE, to arrive in the mail. When it arrives I'll be writing a blog entry about it. Monday will mark 2 weeks since I sent off for it. I should have used my debit card but I wasn't thinking. Mail runs slow!

  4. The late great Soupy Sales taught my generation some humor when we were very young. You may recall he had the "Words Of Wisdom". He prepared us for a greater artist being Ray Stevens that continues to teach us many important things. The most important is to look at yourself. I wrote something today I'd like to share with you AC, "If a man profits from his own words of goodness, it's like talking to yourself in a mirror where no one hears but him in the mirror, but in the process if he see's himself as he really is he's heard God's words, and shares his message of goodness with others. Thank You for doing what you do!"


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