June 26, 2010

Ray Stevens hits the Top-5...

Last week Ray Stevens' latest CD, We The People, made it's debut in the Top-10 on Billboard's Comedy Album chart. This week the CD moved upward and is now among the Top-5 most popular comedy CD's in the country. This week also marked the CD's debut on Billboard's Top Country Albums list. The CD charted more modestly on the country album list due, perhaps, to it being a comedy CD but more importantly due to it being overly political and not hyped much among country music circles. It also charted lower on the country album list simply because of it's sales that week in comparison to the other CD's in the country Top-75. Whatever the reason for it's modest country album debut the CD's appearance in the Top-10 and then the Top-5 on the Comedy Album chart allows Ray to lay claim to having Top-10 success in six decades: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, 00's, and now this decade. What was his Top-10 success last decade you all may be wondering? It was the success during 2002-2003 of his single, "Osama Yo' Mama". The single became a big selling hit and remained on Billboard's Country Single Sales list for almost a year, usually charting in the Top-3, and sold half a million copies. This particular chart was discontinued in 2005 due to the lack of commercial singles being manufactured.

The single didn't cross over into the mainstream and so the public at large was largely unaware of it's existence. The album that Curb Records released in 2002 on Ray, titled Osama Yo' Mama, became a Top-30 hit on the Country Album chart, his highest charted audio album since 1987. Ray's Top-10 success during the '90s had to do with his home video releases. Comedy Video Classics and Ray Stevens Live! became million selling Top-5 home videos in the early '90s, specifically during the years of 1993-1995. Comedy Video Classics went on to sell over two million copies after having sold over a million copies through mail-order in 1992. Obviously, Billboard named that home video it's Video of the Year in their year-end rankings. His other major home video release that decade, Get Serious, remained on Billboard's Top Video chart for nearly half a year reaching the Top-5 in early 1997. So, there you have it. If anyone out there may have been wondering what Ray's successes were during the '90s and last decade now you know. I also supply this information for those who still think Ray hadn't been active since the 1980's. The time-line on the right side of the page gives an almost year by year breakdown of Ray's activity since the late 1950's. Some years aren't mentioned simply because Ray didn't release any music or any project those years.

You Tube update! "Come to the USA" has continued to obtain strong hits and as of this writing the music video has obtained 2,657,847 hits. The video was uploaded on May 13th and so in a couple of weeks it'll be two months old. The illegal immigration battle continues to rage on even though a couple of other news items have replaced it as a top headliner but nevertheless it's still a hot topic.

June 18, 2010

The new Top-10 CD from Ray Stevens...

The news broke the other day when Billboard magazine updated their weekly music charts showing that the latest CD from Ray Stevens, We The People, has debuted in the Top-10 of the Comedy Album chart. The CD, as you readers are aware, is no stranger to the Top-10 on Amazon's various charts. Those Amazon statistics were generally based on pre-orders and as I guessed in one of my previous blogs the reason why the CD hadn't appeared in Billboard magazine was because the CD hadn't officially been released yet. June 8th was the official date the CD became available while June 14th will be the official release date of the Mp3. So, this week the CD debuted on Billboard's Comedy Album chart. This is a secondary music chart and I say this because a lot of mainstream music critics in both pop and country may not hype or talk about the CD very much in spite of it's Top-10 debut. This goes for mainstream country publications like Country Weekly as well. I know the CD wasn't promoted at country radio but Ray Stevens for the last 30 years or so has clearly been associated with country music and country comedy so I'm curious why his CD didn't make an appearance on the Country Album chart this week. I'm sure it must have something to do with chart policies.

This collection features a 22 song CD and a DVD of 4 music videos. The 4 music videos are: "We The People", "Caribou Barbie", "Thank You", and "Throw the Bums Out!". There is no music video of "Come to the USA" for those of you who just discovered this collection in recent weeks or may discover it in the future. The reason is because this collection was released on April 1st through his web-site and there wasn't any "Come to the USA" music video put together at that time.

When the Arizona illegal immigration bill was introduced and it became a huge news story Ray decided to make a music video of a song they already had on the collection, namely "Come to the USA". It made perfect sense given that the song was about illegal immigration. But anyway, the CD's April release is why that particular music video, issued in late May, isn't on the DVD in this collection...but the song is...it's track 12 on the CD.

Congratulations, again, on the Top-10 debut of We The People.

June 15, 2010

Ray Stevens: The power of words...

Hello all Ray Stevens fans! This blog entry is pretty much an essay/commentary on how words, or lack thereof, can shape the image or public perception of a singer or a song. In this blog you'll all discover how the omission of a single word can completely change the perception of a music video...specifically "Come to the USA" by Ray Stevens...

If any of you out there are as much of a fan of Ray Stevens as I am then perhaps some of you have come across blogs that accuse Ray and his immigration music video of being anti-immigration. If ever there was an example of irresponsibility it's when bloggers knowingly leave out crucial words in an attempt to give credibility to their arguments. In this case it's the liberal bloggers who intentionally leave out the very important word: illegal. When the various liberal blog sites say that Ray's song is anti-immigration it supports their argument that people who agree with Arizona's law are racists. However, the liberal argument is pointless simply because illegal immigration is the issue...whereas the liberals want to make it a race issue...

You see, it doesn't make a person look like a racist when you use the phrase anti-illegal immigration...and that's why you rarely see that phrase used on liberal blog sites. By removing illegal from the anti-illegal immigration phrase it makes a person look racist. To date that's been their agenda and that's why time and time again bloggers with a liberal and progressive agenda use the phrase anti-immigration instead of anti-illegal immigration. Their removal of that one single yet powerful word, illegal, is a crucial omission on their part and in my opinion they knowingly omit the word because it supports their racist theories.

The "Come to the USA" music video is getting ever so close to 2.5 million hits. The specific numbers as of this writing are 2,491,123.

June 13, 2010

"Come to the USA" suggests Ray Stevens, Volume Three...

Today, June 13, marks the 1 month anniversary of "Come to the USA", the latest music video from Ray Stevens. In my last blog entry I made note of how the music video was 5 days shy of becoming a month old. The hit count for the music video has risen in the last 5 days as well...jumping to 2,442,871 hits. A few days ago Ray gave an interview on a radio show hosted by a man named Bob Rivers. Well, it was more than a few days ago...it was back on June 9th. The interview was very funny and Ray spoke about various political issues as well as the We The People CD, of course. The interview is still available, I think, at Bob Rivers' web-site. The interview starts about mid-way through the audio Podcast. The segment opens up, though, with a playing of "Come to the USA". Google Bob Rivers and you're guaranteed to find his web-site and once you enter it search around for Ray Stevens on the June 9, 2010 episode.

Is it just me or has their been a slacking off of insults and name-calling over Ray's music video lately? It might have to do with the big news item being the BP oil spill and not illegal immigration...even though illegal immigration is and will be a top issue this coming midterm election cycle...as will ObamaCare. Lack of media attention doesn't mean an issue is no longer relevant as some out there would have you believe.

It's my belief that no matter what's negatively said about Ray's recent streak of political music videos that rational thinking listeners will get the humor and in the case of "Come to the USA" I believe in time rational thinking people will not go off half-cocked and irrationally throw the 'racist' label so freely as some did a few weeks ago. The fear about Arizona's illegal immigration law isn't necessarily a fear of racial profiling...more or less it's a fear among the liberals and progressives that a majority of the country AGREE with the Arizona law, which poll after poll clearly indicates. You readers may be wondering: why do they fear that a majority of America agrees with Arizona? In my opinion it's because the left-wingers are politicizing the law and from their point of view it doesn't look too good when a majority of the country agree with a law that they say advocates racial profiling. In other words, a majority of the country seeing nothing wrong with the illegal immigration law clearly shows, in my mind at least, how much in the minority the left and the progressives really are nationwide.

June 8, 2010

The New Ray Stevens CD...

Hello Ray Stevens fans! Although this material has been available on-line since mid April the We The People CD officially goes on sale today on Amazon, citing just one on-line store of course. I had openly expressed puzzlement a few blogs ago when I wondered why the CD hadn't charted on any of the various Billboard music charts...given how popular the CD is with on-line consumers. I then wondered if it's because the CD's official release day isn't until today, June 8th. We shall see next week when the charts are updated on-line. If this CD doesn't show up on any weekly album chart then there's something suspicious going on in my opinion. I say that given how popular the CD was with pre-orders and how much notoriety it's gotten among bloggers and other on-line resources that if it doesn't hit the charts as a result of it's sales and exposure then we can all come to our own conclusions why it didn't. As far as Amazon goes it's been charted on their best selling list for country CD's a total of 24 days which works out to 3 weeks and 3 days: 21 days is 3 weeks plus 3 more days equals 24. As of this hour the CD is ranked #11 among country music CD's. The Mp3's official release isn't until a week from today, June 15th, even though customers have been able to purchase the digital download CD for awhile, too. I'm not holding my breath when it comes to the national charts, though, because earlier in the year when Ray's "We The People" Mp3 single was released to coincide with the music video, the digital single reached the Top-5 on Amazon's various best seller lists but yet it never entered any of Billboard's digital charts...so I hope nobody gets disappointed if Ray's full-length CD doesn't rank in the national music charts but I'm hoping that it will.

The "We The People" music video continues to gather hits as it now sits at 3.2 million. The specifics are 3,207,718! "Come to the USA" is also close to another milestone. It's at 2,294,517 well on it's way to 2.3 million hits. This music video is 5 days shy of being just a month old.

June 7, 2010

Ray Stevens 1995 home video Documentary...

This home video was released 15 years ago when Ray Stevens had just released his direct-to-video movie, GET SERIOUS. The movie itself was sold through direct mail originally, in the late summer/fall of 1995, and it sold several hundred thousand copies in the process and then it was released to retail stores late in 1996. The movie became a Top-5 best seller on Billboard's video chart. This home video takes you backstage and gives a person a glimpse into how the movie was made. Ray narrates the documentary and runs through a list of people involved...several scenes are shot inside Ray's office. On a counter behind him in his office are a row of Music City News awards. Those awards were voted on by the fans of country music/readers of Music City News and Ray won 10 awards as Comedian of the Year from 1986 through 1994. Along the way there's footage of bloopers...those are abundant throughout...and we have comical snippets of Ray's co-stars and stage crew offering their comical opinion of Ray as it relates to the question: Is Ray Stevens guilty? This question is asked because the movie is all about Ray being on the run from the law...in addition to being accused of being politically incorrect by a fictional record executive whose launched an all-out public relations war on Ray for showing him up and refusing to "get serious".

The mystery behind the Three Legged Chickens are explored in this home video and we're shown how they were designed and put together. The dungeon wall and the actors playing in that scene are highlighted. The movie director, Rod Thompson, is featured at various times throughout the documentary as are Ray's brother, John Ragsdale, and Ray's co-writer friend, Buddy Kalb. Toward the end of the documentary Ray gives his views on political correctness circa 1995. Thankfully his thoughts on that matter haven't changed over the last 15 years.

This is by no means a thorough description of this home video but I wanted to highlight just a few things from it for those who come across this home video on-line. It's a must-have for fans of Ray Stevens that's for sure!

The movie was shot throughout 1994 and according to Ray's narration the editing process began in January 1995 and the finished project wasn't released until the summer of 1995. Those familiar with the movie will get a kick out of this behind the scenes documentary. The official title of this home video is Ray Stevens Made a Movie?? Get Serious!!

June 5, 2010

Come for the Laughs with Ray Stevens...

As one of the biggest Ray Stevens fans around I love the continued success of his latest music video on You Tube. "Come to the USA" has now risen to 2,136,682 hits and I caught a commercial for the We The People CD collection on Fox News Channel. Ray has a commercial uploaded on You Tube which runs over 2 minutes in length...the commercial that I saw during Glenn Beck's program Thursday was completely different from the one on You Tube. I uploaded the longer commercial in a previous blog. The shorter commercial that's been airing on Fox News Channel starts off with Ray singing a piece of "If 10% Is Good Enough For Jesus" as Ray does a voice-over talking about the collection and the over 3 million views of "We The People". The You Tube commercial has gotten 31,900 hits and "We The People" is getting close to 3.2 million hits.

One of the other great things is the continued success of the CD on Amazon. The CD as well as the digital Mp3 version has been jumping around in the Top-50 of the country and pop music lists as well as the Top-10 in the Mp3 comedy release list since April. As of this writing it's in the Top-10 among best selling country music CD's at #8 and #61 among pop music CD's. The Mp3 counterpart shows the digital CD at #4 among best selling comedy releases and #23 among country music releases. As I always remind readers: these numbers fluctuate every hour. A #4 one hour can be a #45 the next and then back up to #17, etc etc. The object of the game, as is the case with anything that's on a popularity chart, is to stay as high on the best seller lists as possible or remain among the Top-100 as much as possible. In other words be a consistent seller. Amazon ranks everything it sells. There are lots of CD's on there with sales ranks in the thousands, for example.

June 3, 2010

Ray Stevens at 2 million and climbing...

As a lot of us Ray Stevens fans have anticipated...it's finally happened! "Come to the USA" has vaulted past the two million mark on You Tube. The specific hit count for the music video is 2,040,255 and climbing! The video had gotten over a million hits prior to it's exposure on Megyn Kelly's Fox News program back on June 1st and was a couple hundred thousand hits away from hitting the two million mark...and since then the video has indeed reached the two million plateau. However, as a consequence(?) of the high profile exposure, which included a live interview with Ray, the predictable claws from the liberals and progressives who dominate much of the on-line blogosphere have shown their razor sharp presence. Over the course of the last few days one left-wing blog site after the other has jumped on the Megyn Kelly interview with Ray and, predictably, the liberal bloggers savaged the interview and the music video with the typical liberal ammunition: when all else fails call someone a racist.

I think I know why this CD hasn't appeared in Billboard yet...because it's officially on pre-order until next week. Although the Mp3 digital album has long been available...going back to early April...I think Billboard's policy states that a CD has to be officially released. If this is the case I hope the CD makes some appearances on the various sales charts...according to it's high sales rankings on Amazon over the last several weeks it should find a home somewhere on the national music charts...at least that's what I'm hoping. Although we, as fans, know how successful the CD is the music insiders tend to wait until something shows up in Billboard magazine before they'll give it any spotlight. A CD that contains songs that have become super-viral video hits on You Tube in theory should make a splash on the charts?? Amazon shows the Mp3 version isn't officially released until June 15 while the CD shows June 8 as it's release date. Meanwhile the tracks from the Mp3 version have been available for purchase since April and Ray's music store at his web-site have been selling the CD since April as well.

Here's another look at the You Tube commercial for Ray's latest CD...it includes "Come to the USA" but it wasn't a music video when the commercial was made and so it isn't highlighted...

The track-list includes the following:

1. We The People: 3.1 million video hits on You Tube
2. Caribou Barbie: You Tube viral video
3. Stand Up
4. Three Fractured Factions
5. Dear Andy Griffith
6. The Global Warming Song
7. Let's Roll
8. Solar Powered Song
9. Fly Over Country
10. We Are the Government
11. The Fallen Ones
12. Come to the USA: 2 million video hits on You Tube
13. If 10% Is Good Enough for Jesus
14. Kings and Queens
15. Obama Nation
16. Throw the Bums Out!: You Tube viral video
17. Sucking Sound
18. Safe at Home
19. Thank You: You Tube viral video
20. Pledge of Allegiance/Star Spangled Banner
21. Mr. Businessman
22. Midnight In Baghdad

The four music videos on the bonus DVD are:

1. We The People
2. Thank You
3. Caribou Barbie
4. Throw the Bums Out!

June 2, 2010

Ray Stevens: The We The People Album, Part 5...

Hello all Ray Stevens fans!! The success of We The People continues as the physical CD has rebounded on Amazon's hourly sales rankings. While the collection has remained a solid Top-100 entry since becoming available on Amazon his appearance June 1st on Fox News caused the already popular collection to soar back into the Top-10 among top selling country CD's. Even more impressive is the CD breaking into the pop music list...as of this writing it's among the 50 best-selling pop music CD's this hour. Checking the Mp3 version of the CD it shows that Ray's in the Top-5 among comedy releases and among the Top-50 in country releases. Now, don't forget, when people purchase the CD version they also get a bonus DVD of four music videos. Potential buyers keep in mind that this collection was released a month before "Come to the USA" was uploaded onto You Tube and so it isn't part of the bonus DVD. "Come to the USA" to my knowledge wasn't going to be a single but the illegal immigration topic became such a major news item that a music video of the song became such an obvious choice. The music video was uploaded on May 13 and as of this writing it's obtained 1,964,479 hits. The music video's on the bonus DVD are: "We The People", "Caribou Barbie", "Throw the Bums Out!", and "Thank You".

One of the things that most of you may be aware of is the misrepresentation that "Come to the USA" often gets from johnny-come-lately critics and bloggers who aren't really interested in factual reports but are instead mostly interested in generating traffic for their web-site or stirring up anger. One blogger, or writer, depending on how one thinks of theirself, didn't remark that Ray Stevens is a country-pop singer or a country comedy singer or a novelty singer. No, one of these writers out there called Ray a "controversial singer". That's the first time I'd ever seen that label attached to Ray Stevens...of all people. He may make certain segments of a political viewpoint sick to their stomach but by no means does that make him "controversial". Ray's latest songs spark debate, of course...but he's only "controversial" in the eyes of those who disagree with him and the more success he has with his political music videos the angrier the opposition becomes. Whenever a blogger or music critic decides to label Ray Stevens, of all people, as "controversial" it actually can be seen as an indirect political statement on their part.

Ray Stevens visits Fox News Channel...

Ray Stevens brings in the new month of June in a big way! What a way to kick off a new month...

June 1, 2010...this was the day that "Come to the USA" was given exposure on America Live, a program that airs on the Fox News Channel, hosted by Megyn Kelly. Even more than the exposure that the song/music video achieved was the extra bonus of Ray Stevens himself being interviewed. Most people will remember that Ray's previous appearance was on The O'Reilly Factor. He and Bill O'Reilly talked about "We The People" and the over sensitivity of some who wish to control what society views as humorous. In other words some of their discussion was about the smothering of political correctness onto society in general...enabling harmless comical songs and movies to become deemed politically incorrect nowadays.

This time around Ray and Megyn spoke of illegal immigration and she remarked that Ray's latest videos have become super-viral...citing "We The People" having hits of over 3,000,000 and "Come to the USA" approaching 2,000,000 hits. Ray gives his opinions on illegal immigration and states that he's all for legal immigration but he doesn't stand for anything illegal. Ray talks about his latest CD, We The People, and mentions his web-site a couple of times.

As of right now Fox News has uploaded the interview onto You Tube and I'm embedding that interview below so you all can see it...

As always I shrink the height and width on any video I embed because I don't want the video to run over into the right side of the screen and jumble up anything that's written over there.

"Come to the USA" is sitting at 1.8 million hits on You Tube and climbing...in a previous blog I mentioned the video was at 1.5 million and that was just a couple of days ago. The actual hits so far for the music video is 1,866,007 and given this is June 1st it certainly appears that Ray will indeed reach 2,000,000 You Tube hits in a month's time: May 13-June 13.