July 22, 2013

Ray Stevens and those Unfriendly Skies...

Several blogs ago I wrote about an upcoming appearance by Ray Stevens at the CMA Music Fest. This event, known as Fan Fair for decades, is held each June in Nashville, Tennessee. I had hoped that footage of Ray's appearance would surface on-line and it finally has. In the clip below you'll see Ray perform one of his modern-day classics, "The Skies Just Ain't Friendly Anymore".


I don't have any idea if he performed more songs than just that one...but at the moment it's the only one I came across. At the start of the clip you'll see the emcee make mention of a couple of long awaited CD's from Ray. Although there wasn't any release dates announced, she did make reference to the title of the gospel CD (the first time I'd heard of a possible title for that project!). I hope those CD's arrive this year. He hasn't issued a studio album since the mammoth Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music back in early 2012. 

July 8, 2013

Ray Stevens and the Politics of Comedy, Part 2...

How is this for irony? I wrote a blog entry this morning about Ray's most recent video upload on You Tube, Politically Speaking: Obama Budget Plan, and within that entry I mentioned that it was the last thing that had been made available on Ray's You Tube channel. I returned to the internet and found out that an hour ago something new had been uploaded to his channel...a follow-up commentary. This time around the commentary centers around his most popular video upload, "Come to the U.S.A.", the illegal immigration song. Like the previous installment, this one is 31 seconds in length as well.

Ray Stevens and the Politics of Comedy...

It's been a rather quiet several weeks when it comes to activity from Ray Stevens. Well, I should re-state that it's been publicly quiet since he often is in the recording studio working on whatever it may be and then all of a sudden he emerges with a brand new music video or a brand new recording.

The planned Fox News appearance last month was canceled due to breaking news. Of course, that's why I didn't write a follow-up entry. I had written a blog entry promoting what was to be the upcoming appearance but the planned appearance, as I found out later, had been scrapped. There wasn't a mention of the cancellation on the air, though, so I was under the assumption that the appearance was still going to happen but had been pushed back to a later point in the show. Anyway, during a top of the hour commercial break I found out about the cancellation when I returned to the computer and saw commentary on one of Ray's social network sites alerting us to the canceled appearance. The alert came within a half an hour or so of the scheduled appearance and so if I had seen that message beforehand I wouldn't have been waiting for his appearance that entire previous hour. That experience taught me to take a glimpse at his Twitter and Facebook pages prior to any TV or radio appearance to see if there's been any sort of cancellation or not.

I think this may have been the third or fourth time within the last year (2012-2013) that he's had to cancel a national appearance due to breaking news of some kind or another. A few radio interviews on nationally syndicated programs were canceled "at the last minute" because of breaking news. This isn't to say everything he attempted during the last year resulted in cancellation it's just that those fairly recent abrupt cancellations were something I wasn't used to.

A couple of weeks ago he issued super brief video upload called Politically Speaking with the subject being the "Obama Budget Plan". The video consists of Ray delivering a political point of view that's all but 31 seconds long. I wish it would've been longer. The video commentary, I assume, will become an on-going series as a visual tie in with his book, Let's Get Political. The video closes with a photo of Ray that appeared on the book. Ray speaks a series of lines sandwiched between some video clips of "Obama Budget Plan". In case you hadn't seen it, you can watch it HERE. If there are to be future installments I hope Ray speaks a lot more than he did in the first one. "Obama Budget Plan", the music video, has a current view total of 2.4 million. To be more specific that's 2,439,468 unique views so far.

For those of you who may still have cassette tape devices but do not have a turntable, Ray's 1980 album Shriner's Convention, is available once more in cassette format. Of course, if you're like I am, you'll more than likely want a vinyl copy and a cassette copy. I came across a cassette version of this project at least 5 years ago, I think, and I purchased it. It's a rare item, in my opinion. The cassette versions of Ray's albums from the '70s and early '80s are an ultra rare find so if you come across one, and it's priced reasonably, by all means purchase it because chances are you'll never come across it again. I'm still looking forward to the day that his 1981 and 1982 albums show up for sale in either CD or Mp3 format. I won't hold my breath, of course, but it would still be great if those two albums were to see the light of day in a re-issue instead of having the material remained buried in the RCA vaults.

I've posted the picture of myself and the cassette version of Shriner's Convention before so I won't do it this time around but basically if you're a dedicated fan of Ray's and want something obscure then you definitely should take a look HERE.