December 31, 2014

Ray Stevens: What's Planned for 2015??

An early New Year's Eve hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens!! As has become the tradition each year I speculate and opine on things to come in the new year as far as the career of Ray Stevens is concerned. Here's hoping that 2015 is the year a couple of much-anticipated projects see the light of day: a Bluegrass CD, a novelty song CD, and Volume Two of the Gospel Collection. If the follow-up to the gospel CD is to be in the near future I assume it'll arrive around Easter but that's just my guess because for all we know Ray could issue Volume Two this coming January...but that doesn't seem likely. Ray has also, at various times throughout 2014, mentioned that he's also working on a CD of non-political comedy songs.  

A lot of us Ray Stevens fans have been aware of a future Bluegrass project from Ray...he's made mention of the project several times over the years (!) and as mentioned in the above greeting here's hoping the project gets a release in 2015. I believe it was early 2013 or it may have been in late 2013 when Ray appeared as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry and made mention of an upcoming Bluegrass project and performed "Pretty Woman" in a Bluegrass arrangement. His music video of "Unchained Melody", in Bluegrass-style, is also a song that's to be on this anticipated release. In early interviews he stated that the CD's title is Melancholy Fescue...but it's hard to tell if that's going to remain the official title or if it's just the working title.

Checking the anniversary calendar for 2015 there's several big projects that reach a milestone this coming year.

First and most importantly is Ray Stevens reaching 76 next month on January 24th.

Starting things off...reaching 45 in 2015 is Ray's monster hit from 1970, "Everything is Beautiful". The single re-defined 'Ray Stevens' in the eyes of the buying public. Even though Ray had long displayed his serious side on many albums and single releases since the late '50s, "Everything is Beautiful" cemented his image as a pop vocalist and pretty much all of Ray's single releases during the 1970s were non-comical (exceptions included a novelty single late in 1970, a comedy LP in 1974, and a couple of out of the blue novelty releases later on that decade). Also, Ray had a major boost in his career thanks to consistent exposure on television. He'd become one of the recurring guests on Andy Williams' television program in 1969...Ray was named the host of Andy's summer program in 1970...and Ray remained a frequent guest on Andy's program through 1971. "Everything is Beautiful" became the summer television program's theme song/music. In America the single had hit #1 for 2 weeks on the pop chart and #1 for 3 weeks on the Adult-Contemporary chart (spanning the months of late May through late June 1970). The single entered the Hot 100 in April 1970 and by it's 9th week it took control of the #1 spot. It vanished from the pop chart after it's 15th chart week but it continued to appear on several international charts. Ironically, the single had it's biggest impact just prior to Ray taking over Andy's television program in late June. The single had already left the Top-10 portion of the pop chart by the time the first episode of Ray's summer program aired. Nevertheless, the exposure of the song each week (theme music) helped sales of the album, Everything is Beautiful, and the single continued to register sales even after the song became a recurrent. The 1970 album hit the Top-40 half of the Billboard 200 in July...the title track and "A Brighter Day" are the only self-written songs on the album. The rest of the recordings are Ray's versions of contemporary pop songs of the era. The summer television program ran from June 20 to August 8.

Other single/album releases from 1970 that are turning 45 in 2015 are: "America, Communicate with Me" and "Sunset Strip", both from Ray's album, Unreal!!!. Each single reached the Top-10 on the Adult-Contemporary chart...but their impact on pop music listeners/consumers didn't duplicate the smashing success of "Everything is Beautiful" (pop music consumers then, much like today, are traditionally the under-40 audience...the advertiser targeted 18-34 age group). 

Oh, before I forget...Andy owned the Barnaby Records label that Ray recorded for during the first half of the 1970s (1970-1975) and Andy's brother, Don, was Ray's manager for many, many years.

Here's a performance of "Everything is Beautiful" from that very summer television program in 1970 as hosted by Ray Stevens...

In December 1970 "Bridget the Midget the Queen of the Blues" hit the music scene. Oh yes, amidst the angst, protest, and unrest of 1970 Ray Stevens hadn't lost his funny bone and this funny bit of comical mayhem emerged as a single. It had it's biggest impact in the early half of 1971...nevertheless, the novelty single entered the charts in late December 1970 so it, too, reaches 45 in 2015.

Reaching 40 in 2015 is Misty. Released in 1975, the Misty album featured Ray's versions of several pop standards delivered in various original arrangements. The album, of course, is named for one of his single releases that year, "Misty". The single's arrangement (most notably piano, fiddle, and iconic steel guitar) earned Ray his second Grammy. Previously, "Misty" had been made popular by Johnny Mathis. His recording featured a much more slower vocal and even slower music. Prior to that, one of the song's composers, Erroll Garner, had an instrumental recording on the market. Johnny Burke wrote lyrics to Erroll's music. Ray turned the song around and gave it an up-tempo, Bluegrass-flavored presentation. This jolt in music arrangement for a song popularly known as a slow ballad sums up the Misty album. The songs that Ray covers are arranged in the opposite of what's popularly familiar. "Misty" became a Top-5 country music hit, a Top-20 pop hit, and a Top-10 hit internationally (music surveys published in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and Austria ranked the song in their Top-10). In addition to "Misty", other single releases from the album include: "Indian Love Call" and "Young Love". Ray included 2 original songs on the album, among the cover songs: The self-written "Sunshine" is a toe-tapping sing-a-long and then there's the romantic "Take Care of Business". It's been said in several publications that the song's writer, Layng Martine, Jr., sought inspiration for it's title by the popular hook line in Ray's 1968 hit "Mr. Businessman". Aside from those similarities there's nothing else in common between the songs. Ray's versions of "Lady of Spain", "Deep Purple", and "Cow-Cow Boogie" are great, too!

Stand back or else risk getting run over by Coy...oh yes, 2015 will mark the 35th anniversary of "The Shriner's Convention", commercially released in early 1980.

One of Ray's Gold albums, I Have Returned, turns 30 in 2015. The album hit the market in the latter half of 1985 and ultimately climbed to #1 in early 1986 on the Billboard Country Album chart. Single releases from that project included: "The Haircut Song", "The Blue Cyclone", and the seasonal "Santa Claus is Watching You". The re-recording of "Santa Claus is Watching You" became Ray's first music video (for more information on that song see my 2014 Christmas day blog post in the archives).

A couple of other recordings from that 1985 album have become popular amongst fans of Ray Stevens and have since been immortalized in music video form: "Hugo the Human Cannonball" and "The Pirate Song". Strangely enough "Kiss a Pig" nor "Punk Country Love" have entered music video territory...but the two songs are hysterical in their own kind of way.

Turning 20 in 2015 is Ray's 1995 direct-to-home video movie, Get Serious!!. This home video movie became the third best selling video project for Ray Stevens during the 1990s (following 1992's Comedy Video Classics and 1993's Ray Stevens Live!). Since the home videos were sold through direct marketing during their initial availability the titles weren't eligible to enter the Billboard sales charts (no retail availability). The 1992 home video entered the Billboard video chart in May of 1992, several months after it's explosive run on television. Get Serious!! seen a retail release in late 1996 (almost a full year after it's direct marketing campaign began) and it entered the Billboard video chart in January 1997 and it remained among the top selling home videos through the fall of 1997.

And so, here's to an upcoming new year...and here's hoping that it'll be filled with a lot of Ray Stevens music!!

December 25, 2014

Ray Stevens Christmas Videos...

Hello one and all to the annual look at the Ray Stevens Christmas Videos. I usually spotlight these particular music videos on Christmas Day or in the days leading up to Christmas. A couple of years ago I dominated December with a lot of Christmas blogs...back then Ray had a brand new Christmas music video that had jumped into the hundred thousand unique view range in a matter of days. That video is located further below. 

One of Ray's earliest Christmas recordings came along in 1962...and in my previous blog post I wrote of this particular song. It's a Christmas comedy classic titled "Santa Claus is Watching You". The song hit in December 1962 and for more than 20 years it was notable for being the only Christmas song in the career of Ray Stevens. The song, aimed at children, deals ith Santa keeping a watchful eye on all children and making sure they're behaving. Lyrically it's your run of the mill sing-a-long Christmas song...but yet it has several detours along the ride. For example...Rudolph can't make the voyage due to being hospitalized after injuring himself doing The Twist. The replacement? None other than Clyde the Camel.

In 1985 Ray re-recorded...actually he re-rote "Santa Claus is Watching You" and changed it from a children's song to a more adult tale. In the 1985 version, aimed at older audiences, Ray sings about infidelity and warns that Santa sees all and is keeping an eye at all times. This particular recording of the song has since become the more familiar and the music video, Ray's first, became a Christmas hit on The Nashville Network during the early years of country music videos. Also, the 1985 recording featured a glorious scat-singing passage. This wasn't the only Christmas recording Ray issued in 1985, though. His services were asked for participation in a various artist project called Tennessee Christmas. Ray's contribution was a Christmas novelty love song titled "Greatest Little Christmas Ever Wuz". The project was released on MCA, the label Ray recorded for during the mid to late 1980s and the album featured exclusively MCA artists.  The 1985 recording of "Santa Claus is Watching You" appeared on his 1985 album, I Have Returned. The only Christmas recording on a non-Christmas project.

The Christmas music in the career of Ray Stevens never really got going in full swing until a project in 1997 came along. At the time Ray was back on MCA Records following a 5-year run on Curb Records (1990-1995). The release of Christmas Through a Different Window in 1997 introduced the music world (and Ray Stevens fans, most importantly) to an entire album of mostly original Christmas novelty songs by the novelty music genre's #1 artist. This project, promoted as Ray's first-ever Christmas album, did manage to make the Country Music album chart in 1997 but it also developed a life of it's own in the years following it's release. Each year since 1997 and running annually until around 2003, this Ray Stevens comedy Christmas album seen an annual re-release and for a couple of years it spawned several series of concerts from Ray in various venues at Opryland (specifically during the late 1990s when the CD was in it's infancy). Often billed as the Ray Stevens Christmas Show, it received a lot of press in and around Nashville and become the most popular attraction in Nashville (outside of the Christmas Lights display). Yes, at the time, commercials for the program ran on The Grand Ole Opry radio show. The concerts weren't entirely Christmas music, neither. His signature classics greeted the crowds, too. Music videos didn't immediately follo the CD's release, though. The music videos to several songs on this 1997 CD didn't start to surface until 2010 (made primarily for YouTube). 

The first music video from the 1997 CD to hit the internet arrived on November 3, 2010 in the form of "Nightmare Before Christmas". The 1997 project, as a whole, skewered political correctness and this song, in particular, hammers the point home in a more direct manner. The other songs are just a little more subtle. "Redneck Christmas" hit the internet on December 22, 2012. The very day it hit the internet another Christmas video from Ray made it's debut...the all new "Merry Christmas" (a song that spotlights the trend of not  saying Merry Christmas and replacing it with Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings). On May 1, 2013 the 1997 CD's opening track, "Guilt For Christmas", emerged as an internet video. 

In 2009, Ray released a brand new Christmas CD. This time around the music included happened to be all-serious. Almost all of the songs are his versions of classic Christmas songs but there's one original, self-penned song entitled "Deck The Halls with Teardrops". The 2009 CD is titled, simply, Ray Stevens Christmas. One song from the 2009 CD has since become a music video...and it arrived on the internet on December 3, 2012...his version of "White Christmas". Ray blended the Elvis, Drifters, and Bing Crosby versions together.  

"Blue Christmas" has a long's famously thought of as an Elvis Presley classic. Most artists that record the song usually keep the arrangement heard on the Elvis recording, too. At some point decades later a comical recording performed by a fictional group going by the name of Seymour Swine and the Squealers became a novelty classic on FM rock radio stations. The singing star is a parody of Porky Pig (complete with stutter). Over time it became part of most radio station's Christmas playlists (on both FM and AM radio). Ray decided to do his take on the stuttering version of "Blue Christmas" in 2012 and it's something to behold...a music video was put together to promote the single-only release. Keep in mind that Ray recorded a serious version of "Blue Christmas" in 2009 for the Ray Stevens Christmas CD and a promo single arrived in 2012 featuring the comical version of "Blue Christmas" backed with the serious version of "Blue Christmas". The music video hit the internet on December 21, 2012...a day before "Redneck Christmas" and "Merry Christmas"...and 18 days after "White Christmas". The Red, White, and Blue Christmas music videos of December 2012 is the big reason Ray's Christmas music dominated my blog posts that month. Since the release of the "Guilt For Christmas" music video in 2013, Ray hasn't posted another Christmas-related video. A couple days ago he re-introduced some of these music videos on his Twitter page. Both 2014 and 2013 have been relatively quiet as far as Christmas music from Ray Stevens is concerned.

Those are just some of the latter-day Christmas productions from Ray from is the classic from 1985...

You can purchase the Mp3 digital copies of both of Ray's Christmas projects at Amazon... 

Ray Stevens Comedy Christmas Mp3

Ray Stevens Serious Christmas Mp3

December 24, 2014

Ray Stevens: United Kingdom CD Import...

Hello to all the Ray Stevens fans!! As you can tell Ray's been on a's typical during the final weeks of the year, though, for most artists to take a lengthy Christmas break. As 2014 nears it's end I decided to publish a blog entry about a CD that I finally got around to ordering a couple of days ago. I made a blog post about this CD back in April...yes, that's the month that it became available! I finally have it in my possession and I'm glad I do because a lot of those early Ray Stevens songs are so obscure. Through my contact with other fans of Ray Stevens I have heard these early recordings before...and I couldn't wait to get this CD once I became aware of it's existence back in the spring. Does this collection have anything that I hadn't heard? Technically, no! However, since this CD is an import from the United Kingdom I discovered that "Ahab the Arab" must have had an alternate lyric for radio stations in Europe. I knew of the song having a radio edit and knew of the longer version, too. I have the radio edit and the longer version...each appear on various compilation CD's issued by Mercury and their subsidiaries but was I surprised at what I heard during Track 19 of this CD, the radio edit of "Ahab the Arab". Gone is the reference to R.O.C cola and MAD magazine and in their place is a reference to a pistachio milkshake and Fatima's reading a nameless magazine. The Arabic chant is a lot more exaggerated than before, too. Hearing this slightly altered lyric caught me by surprise, as I mentioned. I could have heard this before, though, but you'd think I'd remember hearing it!? One of the unique things about the CD is that it features the radio edit as Track 19 and the full length version as Track 25.

The back of the CD features a track list, credits, and an image of Ray that appeared on his 1962 single, "Santa Claus is Watching You". That song appears on this CD, too, as track 23. Much like the previous commentary, this song also had a radio edit. The CD features the unedited copy, clocking in at 3 minutes, 15 seconds. The edited copy is a little more than 2 minutes in length (its not on the CD). The first 15 songs on this 31 track collection come from the years, 1957-1960. Since several of those songs were originally released as A-side/B-side vinyl singles, the 15 tracks that lead off the collection are in actuality only a handful of single releases. 6 vinyl singles (1 song per side) adds up to 12 songs...and so doing the math the first 15 tracks works out to something like 7 vinyl singles total and one additional song added in. If you're a casual fan of Ray's then this collection is a revelation for you. If you are only aware of his latter-day comical songs or his political music videos then this collection is a revelation for you. These recordings come from a time when Ray Stevens was heavily into pop music and R and B. His pop crooning and rocking R and B delivery (on songs like "Tingle", "Chickie-Chickie-Wah-Wah", "School", "Cat Pants", "That's What She Means to Me", and others) reveal the teenage idol material that he could convincingly sing...during the time the first 15 tracks of this CD were recorded Ray indeed was a teenager...he turned 20 in January 1959 (meaning that he was all of 18 and 19 during the first 8 recordings on this collection).

When you hear Ray say that music is his whole life and that it's all he's ever done...he isn't joking around.

Most of the remaining 16 tracks (11 of them, at least) come from his debut album for Mercury. The album, titled 1837 Seconds of Humor, features the Top-40 recordings "Jeremiah Peabody's Green and Purple Pills" and "Ahab the Arab", plus the Hot 100 entry, "Furthermore". A fourth single release, "Scratch My Back", didn't reach the charts but it's nonetheless is this entire 31 track collection. There are several songs from his 1963 album, This is Ray Stevens, sprinkled throughout.

Even though this CD covers some obscure and wonderful recordings from Ray Stevens there are still several more songs reaching for recognition from the dungeons of obscurity (those include songs such as "It's Party Time", "Laughing Over My Grave", "Melt", and his version of "When You wish Upon a Star" just to name a couple.

1. Rang Tang Ding Dong (I'm The Japanese Sandman)
2. Silver Bracelet
3. Cholly Wolly Chang Chang
4. Five More Steps
5. Tingle
6. That's What She Means to Me
7. Chickie Chickie Wah Wah
8. Cat Pants
9. The Clown
10. School
11. High School Yearbook
12. Truly True
13. What would I Do without You
14. Sgt. Preston of the Yukon
15. Who Do you Love
16. Jeremiah Peabody's Green and Purple Pills
17. Teen Years (1963)
18. Scratch My Back
19. Ahab the Arab (radio single edit)
20. It's Been So Long (1963)
21. Furthermore
22. Saturday Night at the Movies
23. Santa Claus is Watching You (originally released as a single-only)
24. Loved and Lost (1963)
25. Ahab the Arab (longer version)
26. Popeye and Olive Oyl
27. The Rockin' Boppin' waltz
28. PFC Rhythm and Blues Jones
29. The Rock and Roll Show
30. Julius Played the Trumpet
31. A Hermit Named Dave

Those interested can purchase the CD on Amazon by clicking HERE.

December 14, 2014

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 34...

Once again it's time to take a look at Rayality TV...the 34th installment debuted this past Friday. The clip is from one of Ray's concert DVDs and it's a performance of "It's Me Again, Margaret". If you consider yourself a fan of Ray Stevens at all then you should already be very familiar with this song and, like a lot of his stage performances, you'll be hooked from the beginning. Ray knows how to perform on stage and to deliver every drop of visual comedy into a performance.

This is one of his all-time classics.

Margaret is just one of the various female characters that have become embedded into the collective memories of every Ray Stevens fan. Aside from Margaret we've heard Ray sing about Fatima, obviously, in the 1962 classic "Ahab the Arab". Fatima, a member of the Sultan's harem, is carrying on with Ahab. Most critics, if not all, usually (or deliberately) forget that it's a comical cheating song and it brings scorn and contempt from hypersensitive, politically correct zealots. In my opinion the song's cleverness of blending and mixing various fictional titles together and presenting it in a pop music recording is certainly praise-worthy, fictional stories such as Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, The Thief of Baghdad, The Sheik, The Son of the Sheik...each of those classic stories/films inspired Ray.

In the official music video of "Ahab the Arab" (filmed in 1995), Ray pays homage to the Valentino films, appearing several times in brief silent-movie type footage. It's very noticeable so be on the lookout for it.

Ray's single became a hit in the summer months of 1962. In December that year a brand new movie premiered...titled Lawrence of Arabia. I'm certain that the movie's box-office popularity throughout the early half of 1963 had unexpectedly kept Ray's novelty single as a radio recurrent long after it's original peak in 1962. Ray's single sold more than a million copies...I'd have to say that the sales strength came from much more than airplay exposure alone.

In the 1969 hits "Gitarzan" and "Along Came Jones", Ray told us about Jane and Sweet Sue, respectively. Jane attempted to be the singer in the jungle band...but her mate's overly anxious performances got on her nerves so much she screamed out her catchphrase at the end of her contribution (you readers should know that catchphrase!!). "Gitarzan" sold a million copies. Here's Ray as "Gitarzan" on the picture sleeve that accompanied the 1969 vinyl single...

Sweet Sue, on the other hand, is the classic damsel in distress type...always put in danger but rescued in the nick of time by Jones. Neither participant in "Along Came Jones" have any aspirations of being a singing sensation, though. A Gitarzan album appeared in 1969. A year later Ray had himself another hit comedy recording featuring a fictional female character...can you guess the name of it? If you said Bridget you're absolutely correct!!

"Bridget the Midget" became a international hit in late 1970/early 1971. The biggest success happened to occur in the United Kingdom. The song tells the story of a fictional tap dancer named Bridget and her back-up group, Strawberry and the Short-Cakes. The hook/gimmick of the novelty song is the sped-up vocalization of Bridget. Ray, in his natural voice, acts as presenter/narrator and at several moments in the recording there's an appearance of a spaced out beatnik/hippie-type patron that offers his enthusiasm about the goings-on.

The most popular female character in a Ray Stevens recording is a 3-way tie, actually. One of those is the previously mentioned Margaret from "It's Me Again, Margaret". The second of the three is Sister Bertha from "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival". That song and the one about Margaret both arrived back-to-back on a 1984 comedy album from Ray called He Thinks He's Ray Stevens (a Platinum selling, Top-5 Album on the country charts). Sister Bertha is the unfortunate soul that had a peculiar thing happen to her during church service.

Sister Bertha wasn't the first religious fictional female character to appear in a Ray Stevens recording. Four years earlier, in 1980, Sister Doris and Sister Dewdrop debuted on "The Dooright Family". Their duty was to sing harmony and bless the hearts of all they see. That song, made into a music video in 1995, debuted on Ray's 1980 Shriner's Convention album.

The third female character in the 3-way tie is none other than Ethel...the legendary wife of the eyewitness of "The Streak", in 1974. She comes in at #1 in the 3-way tie...the reason being is her name is synonymous with streaking thanks to the song's catchphrase heard at various moments, "don't look Ethel!!!". Another reason she's first in the 3-way tie at #1 is because "The Streak" sold more than 5 million copies internationally and because of the comical twist and the end of the song regarding Ethel's future.

Here are some other female characters that have popped up or have been mentioned in numerous recordings from Ray Stevens through the decades...

Sally Smash (pop vocalist in "The Rock and Roll Show", 1962); Sugar Bee (companion of motorcyclist "Speed Ball", 1963);  Heidi Fokes (girlfriend of "Butch Babarian", 1964); Bubble Gum (the lead character in "Bubble Gum the Bubble Dancer", 1964); Mary (title character in "Mary, My Secretary", 1967); Fair Maiden/Damsel (victim in "Sir Thanks-a-Lot", 1969); Mildred Queen (pop vocalist in "The Moonlight Special", 1974); Rita (title character in "Rita's Letter", 1980); Melissa (title character in "Melissa", 1981); Mary Lou Picket (from "Country Boy, Country Club Girl", 1982).

I'll stop there or I'll find myself mentally recalling every studio album from Ray Stevens starting in 1983 and moving forward...thinking of each and every mention of a female's name in a song or in the title of a song and so I'll stop there...but the characters above make up a good enough list.  

December 7, 2014

Ray Stevens: Recent radio station interviews...

Hello all once more! In my previous blog entries I didn't make mention of some of the recent radio interviews that Ray Stevens took part in. In addition to the television appearance on Kentucky's WBKO, Ray also gave some radio interviews to a couple of stations. Each of the interviews focused on his book and the gospel CD.

On December 4th, Ray did a 10 minute-plus call-in to radio station WKSJ in Mobile, Alabama on the Jason Taylor program. You can listen to that HERE.

On December 5th, the same day that Ray made the appearance on WBKO-TV and did the Barnes and Noble book signing, he gave an interview to radio station WGGC. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a podcast or any audio clip of his interview on that particular radio station but I became aware that Ray did an interview for the station this past Friday after seeing mention of it on a social media site and seeing a picture of Ray and the disc jockey that conducted the interview, Greg Almond.

Given that Ray appeared at the Barnes and Noble book store in Bowling Green, KY the radio and TV interviews that took place there featured Ray in-person.

The only call-in interviews that took place were on the Mobile, Alabama station and this one from Louisiana...

KVPI ...This radio station is actually an Oldies it's a little bit unusual to have a Ray Stevens interview on a station programming Oldies music (usually Ray's radio interviews are on Classic Country radio stations, morning programs on Mainstream Country stations, or on Talk Radio stations). Although Ray's career dates back to 1957 and his earliest recordings of pop/teenage love songs could easily find a home on any Oldies format, it's his reputation as a "novelty singer" that's long separated his catalog of love ballads and pop music from those that never strayed too far from the pop/love song formula.

In other words, if you play one of his singles from that era (keeping the identity of the singer a secret) and played another song by any number of pop acts from the same time period, chances are a listener would like both recordings...but once you identity 'Ray Stevens' as the singer of one of those songs a listener is more than likely going to deny it being him because it doesn't fit their idea of what Ray Stevens is all about in their mind.

Nevertheless, publicity is publicity, and the interview on KVPI is good, too. In the interview Ray makes mention of an upcoming comedy CD due out at the first of the year (at some point in early 2015).

In the interview he didn't elaborate on the style of comedy taking center stage on the CD...if it's going to be traditional country comedy, irony, satire, social commentary, political humor, mockery, or sarcasm. I doubt it'll be political humor, though, given the extremely topical and timely nature of the subject matter. It's obviously best to hit with political humor in the months leading up to a national election cycle and the midterms closed in early November of this year and it's obviously way too early to release political commentary surrounding it's anyone's guess as to the style of comedy taking center stage on the upcoming CD.

Ray Stevens: The WBKO-TV interview and More...

Hello all the fans of Ray Stevens...and yes, it's December...and it's been a busy couple of days for Ray and also a busy time of the year for myself, too. My birthday rolled around 5 days ago on December 2 and so on that day I had to do the usual birthday stuff (purchase tags for my car/update it's registration). Ray's made a couple of stops in the state of Kentucky recently on a book signing tour. Previously he made an appearance at a Louisville, KY book store.

The most recent stop happened to be in Bowling Green, Kentucky at a Barnes and Noble store a couple of days ago (December 5th). Video footage surfaced of an appearance by Ray on the local WBKO television station prior to the appearance at the book store. The segment is hosted by the station's meteorologist, Chris Allen.

The interview promotes both the memoir, Ray Stevens' Nashville, and Ray's current CD, The Ray Stevens Gospel Collection: Volume One. You can see the video clip HERE. The video playback is nearly full screen...and once you click the link and the video appears you'll have to click the play doesn't start to play automatically like most video clips do.

Also on December 5th, Ray's Nashville book received a mention near the end of the Friday episode of The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel in the Tip of the Day segment. Bill mentioned the book and played a piece of one of Ray's music videos, "The Nightmare Before Christmas". You can see that video clip HERE.

Ray's memoir, the hardback copy, is ranked #92 this hour amongst Amazon's Best Sellers in what I call a subdivided category (Books > Arts and Photography > Music). This indicates that it's selling to a niche audience. The Kindle version is ranked this hour at #16, also in a more complex subdivided category. Take a look at this Best Seller category ranking the Kindle version at #16: Kindle Store > Kindle eBooksBiographies and Memoirs > Arts and Literature > Actors and Entertainers > Comedians. After completing that, it felt like I was writing a combination Math equation-English sentence dissection. 

Here's a link to the KINDLE version of Ray Stevens' Nashville. Keep in mind that the Amazon Best Seller rankings change hourly and so it's highly likely that the ranking isn't going to be among the Top-20 at the moment you're reading this...but click the link anyway in case you hadn't made your purchase of Ray's memoir yet.

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisodes 32 and 33...

In the 32nd installment of Rayality TV, originally posted on November 21st, you get to see one of the comedy routines featured in between the songs he sings on the Such a Night DVD. In the performance Ray tells the story of his grandfather and relates several comical tales in the tradition of the phone conversation as he vocally plays out the part of "grandfather", "grandmother", and "himself"...

After taking Thanksgiving week off, Rayality TV re-appeared on December 5th. Installment 33 features the story of "Misty" and a performance of the classic. If you're familiar with Ray's in-concert performance of the song you'll be used to Ray's slipping in a slow passage of the song amidst the usual uptempo delivery. I don't know exactly when he began to incorporate a piece of the slower rendition of "Misty" into his concert performances but I've been familiar with this blended tempo performance for nearly 20 years and so he's performed the song in this manner at least since the mid 1990s. In the original 1975 recording, of course, it's one full uptempo performance.

November 18, 2014

Ray Stevens: The Nashville Memoir Book Signing...

Hello all!! Oh yes, I'm still around...I've been taking one of my periodic hiatuses from the blog page but if you visit Ray's Facebook page you'll no doubt see that I've been posting over there.

This coming Saturday, November 22, Ray is to appear at Barnes and Noble in Louisville, Kentucky to sign copies of his memoir, Ray Stevens' Nashville. You can read about it HERE. Once there you'll be able to see the location and time of the appearance. Speaking of his book...he uploaded a commercial onto YouTube promoting the book...

I hope you all caught the previous 2 uploads of Rayality TV!! In my previous blog I embedded webisode 29. If you visit his YouTube channel you'll be able to see episodes 30 and 31.

A couple of days ago Ray co-hosted the Inspirational Country Music Awards. He co-hosted the event with Megan Alexander. If you do a Google Image search for Ray's name and the awards program you'll see pictures taken during the program. Yesterday I found an air-date for the event and it's scheduled to air next Saturday November 29th at 8pm Eastern on the NRB Network.

The program is to be streamed on-line and so on November 29th at 8pm Eastern you'll need to visit the NRB site and click "Watch Online 24/7". The program should be airing at that point in time. I'd suggest you click the on-line feature several minutes before 8pm so you won't miss anything. You can access the NRB site by clicking HERE.

If you hadn't made your purchase of the Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Volume One you can visit the Amazon page for the digital download HERE. "The Preacher and the Bear" and "If Jesus is a Stranger" continue to be the most purchased Mp3's from the collection. If you're like me and prefer the CD copy of the collection you can get that at Amazon, clicking HERE.

November 1, 2014

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 29...

Hello all!! It's November already! The latest installment of Rayality TV is here. The name of this particular webisode is called Such a Night Medley even though in the previous installment of Rayality TV, that particular song was performed. It's not performed on installment 29, though, regardless of it's title.

In this clip we're treated to a medley of songs from a concert Ray did a couple of years ago. Among the songs he performs in the medley are "Ahab the Arab", "Along Came Jones", and "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" (not in that order).

Nearing 34,000 unique views is "If You Like Your Plan", one of Ray's current YouTube videos. It's unofficially competing ith his other current YouTube video, "Nero Fiddled". That particular video's gotten 20,776 unique views so far.

It's hard to believe the 2014 Midterm Elections are this coming Tuesday!! According to whatever political pundit happens to be speaking at any given moment on television, some pundits like to say that ObamaCare is a "non-issue" and therefore irrelevant. I don't happen to feel that way. The media has pushed aside ObamaCare and it's gotten the appearance of it being a non-issue but it's still an important issue and it's also a program that's not fully implemented yet...but the media, in general, shies from it as if it's here to stay and I reckon the media types think there's no need to cover it heavily anymore.

Here's a reminder of ObamaCare...

Here's a reminder of why it's not in the nation's best interest voting for far-left, liberal-progressive ideologues... 

October 24, 2014

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 28 (It's Back!!)

Hello all the Ray Stevens fans!! As you can see from the blog title I've got the latest installment of Rayality TV to share/embed. If you're more than a casual fan of Ray's then you should be curious as to the reason there's a 28th webisode...considering a couple weeks ago Ray issued what he stated would be the final installment of the on-going weekly web series (each installment debuting on-line on every Friday). There's not been any explanation given as to the reason for the series coming to an end but then returning, out of the blue, today. 

Ray's Facebook page features commentary suggesting that there's no end in sight for the series...and upon first read I came away with the feeling that the series had come to an abrupt end a couple weeks ago due to behind-the-scenes happenings. The phrase in his Facebook post about the continuation of Rayality TV that caught my eye: "The end is nowhere near, let's just say that!". So, in my opinion, something must have taken place off-line/behind-the-scenes concerning the future of the series and whatever it happened to be has been corrected and now we're enjoying the 28th installment of the series. That's just my opinion upon reading the line I quoted. I definitely could be reading more into it, though.

Here is the latest installment of Rayality TV...

In case you missed my previous blog entry about one of Ray's latest YouTube videos soaring past 30,000 unique views, you can read about it HERE.

October 23, 2014

Ray Stevens: If You Like Your Plan surpasses 30,000 unique views...

Hello all...although the Ray Stevens music video "If You Like Your Plan" obtained more than 30,000 unique views a couple of days ago I wanted to highlight this in the title of a blog entry and so there you have it. In one of my other blog posts I mentioned that the video had gotten 30,572's now sitting at 31,809 for a pick-up of 1,237. As I've mentioned several times since the video's debut a month ago on September 22, the subject matter of Obamacare is going to forever be a topic throughout the rest of Obama's time in the White House (through late January 2017!). Obamacare may not be issue #1 or issue #2 on a national level (therefore getting less coverage than before) but it'll forever be an issue of the Obama Administration and so the music video is going to remain timely as the months and years go by.

On the heels of "If You Like Your Plan" there's the ballad "Nero Fiddled". It just keeps getting better the more and more you listen to it. I thought the song was great on first listen but some people need to hear a song several times before it really connects with them. This particular video has gotten 16,760 views since it's October 10th debut. It's arguably the more popular of the 2 YouTube videos at the moment if you consider that in the same time span that seen "If You Like Your Plan" pick up 1,237 additional unique views, "Nero Fiddled" picked up 2,062.

Be on the lookout for an appearance by Ray Stevens on Geraldo's Fox News Channel program in late November. Ray posted on his Facebook page that he taped the interview and it's set to air in late November 2014. Judging by the post, which features a picture of Ray and Geraldo, Ray is going to talk about...Elvis!?! Perhaps that's just a joke...but time will tell. I asked why the interview is taped so long in advance...there's not been a reply as of yet. Of course, as you know, Fox News Channel (like the other 24/7 cable news channels) reports 'breaking news' a lot of the time...and it's unlikely any pre-taped interviews make the national airwaves if it doesn't relate to the current day's news cycle and so, with that in mind, I'm not going to hype up a future Geraldo appearance that much but I wanted to at least make mention of it. The more closer we get to late November and the more that it looks like the appearance is to definitely take place the more I'll post reminders about it.

Have you all heard about the most recent voter fraud?? This time, apparently, voter machines in Illinois have given votes for Republican candidates to's a murky story that I've only read a little bit about but as soon as I seen the headline on a social media site I instantly thought of this modern-day Ray Stevens classic with over half a million unique views (522,789)...

"Grandpa Voted Democrat"...enjoy...

October 19, 2014

Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Part 6...

Hello Ray Stevens fans!! It's 6am on a Sunday morning as I begin this latest fan-created blog entry. I started the day doing a search on social media sites of any articles pertaining to Ray Stevens. I came across a link to a site named and there's a new publicity piece for Volume One of the Ray Stevens Gospel Collection.

If that site's name sounds familiar you must have a sharp memory. The site featured a much earlier promo piece (posted August 8th) for the gospel collection CD. The August 8th promo and the one posted today are by the same author. I posted a link to the earlier article back in August.

You can see the latest promo piece for the gospel collection HERE.

Once there be on the lookout for a link to that August 8th publicity article. It can be found at the end of the article before you get to the comments area. The August posting contains a track list for the CD, too. The CD's been available since August 19th and it can be purchased HERE. If you purchase digital music/Mp3's there's a link to the Mp3 format on the CD's product page.

YouTube corner...the two concurrent music videos from Ray Stevens have the following unique views as of 6:42am Eastern time...

1. If You Like Your Plan: 30,572 (uploaded September 22, 2014; view HERE).

2. Nero Fiddled: 14,702 (uploaded October 10, 2014; view HERE).

And so...after searching several social media sites and Google for Ray Stevens happenings, I did an eBay search...and on page 1 at the moment there's an item being offered of a rare magazine publicity ad. The promo ad originated 45 years ago...right around this time of the year...back in 1969. No, no...for those that might be thinking "Gitarzan", it isn't the promo ad for that single (that hit came earlier in 1969). In the latter part of 1969 Ray had returned to his more serious side again and Monument Records began publicizing the latest single release, "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down". The eBay listing for the magazine promo ad for that single can be seen HERE. There have been thumbnail images of this ad that have surfaced in several CD compilation projects over the years.

I used to think Ray had a beard in that photo whenever I'd see the small, thumbnail replica. The reason being is the copy of the photo that appears in the fold-out cover of a 1998 compilation CD is so small and the lighting on the picture not so great that, to my eyes, it looked as if he had a beard. I've long since seen a bigger image of the promo ad and seen for myself he's clean shaven. Those interested in seeing/purchasing the promo ad can click the above link.

October 16, 2014

Ray Stevens: Nero Fiddled, blog entry 2...

Hello's been almost a week since my previous blog entry. I've had a busy work week as to the reason I haven't had the time to put together a blog post since the 10th of October.

The main subject at hand..."Nero Fiddled"! That's one of two current music videos from Ray Stevens being discovered on YouTube at the moment. The video's gotten more than 10,000 unique views over the course of the last six days. The total as of this writing is 12,863. Back on October 10th during the video's first hours of availability I reported that it had amassed 68 unique views.

The fact that the video's been seen by more than 12,000 is a good sign...but there's not been any publicity of it's existence (beyond my blog posts and the Facebook post on Ray's official page over there).

On my YouTube home page it lists the 'most recent uploads' from my subscriptions...curiously it lists 2 uploads of Rayality TV (episodes 24 and 25) as the 'most recent uploads' from Ray. Those videos happened to have been uploaded several weeks ago and therefore are NOT the most recent video uploads from Ray's channel...there's no reference to "Nero Fiddled" (uploaded on October 10th) or "If You Like Your Plan" (uploaded September 22) as being Ray's most recent video uploads. Something else I noticed is there's no video embed of either clip on Ray's official website.

It used to be you could visit Ray's website and whatever the latest YouTube video from Ray happened to be it could be watched on his website on the home page.

The home page of Ray's official website, as of this writing, contains links to purchase his Nashville memoir and his Gospel Collection CD. There's a link to Ray's "If You Like Your Plan" video (the link posted in a promo piece back on September 22) but it's not an embed video. It may not seem like much but if there's an embedded video located on a website, as opposed to a video's link, chances are pretty high the video's going to be seen a lot more simply due to the fact that the video box is visible on the page and all a person has to do is click the play button.

This is only my opinion but I happen to feel that an even bigger audience for either of Ray's current music videos can be obtained by simply embedding either of those videos on the official website. There's a lot of people that visit Ray's official site that never even think to visit his YouTube channel to see whatever latest music video from him there might be.

Speaking of "If You Like Your Plan", it's gotten 29,822 unique views since it's late September arrival. It could break the 30,000 plateau tomorrow!

A couple of days ago Ray taped his segments of an upcoming television program, The Music City Show. This program airs on RFD-TV. I used to have that channel. It's part of a premium bundle of channels offered by my cable provider but the monthly cable bill had become too costly and so the added expense of having those channels on the line-up required the decision to remove that particular bundle of channels (and the added expense). I'm hoping clips of his upcoming television performance appear on-line at some point...if they do I'll make mention of it. I had read about his participation and it's going to focus on the music from his Gospel Collection CD. You can purchase the gospel CD HERE. The CD's been a success but there's been no indication of a possible follow-up. The songs have already been some of his interviews he's mentioned that he recorded 24 songs for the project. 12 are on Volume One and the second 12 are to be available on a possible Volume Two.

As a reminder...less than a month from today on November 13th Ray Stevens is to co-host the 20th annual Inspirational Country Music Awards. His co-host is Megan Alexander (from Inside Edition). As you could guess, Ray is to perform some songs from his gospel music CD. 

Since everything is subject to change I hadn't written much about an upcoming event that Ray is to take part in. On December 7th Ray is to appear at The Ryman Auditorium in a special series called Sam's Place-Music for the Spirit. The series is hosted by gospel performer Steven Curtis Chapman. Ray is one of 2 guests that night and you can read more about it HERE.

October 10, 2014

Ray Stevens: Nero Fiddled...

Hot off the presses...yes, I know that's a term meant for newspaper and magazine publishing...but this music video from Ray Stevens is brand spanking new...uploaded onto YouTube within the last half's called "Nero Fiddled" and it's absolutely powerful in my opinion. It's not a comedy video...this one is a return to a more serious delivery...and the video opens up with a Viewer Discretion disclaimer...

I'll give you all time to let the hair settle down on the backs of your necks and the goosebumps to vanish from your body after seeing the video and hearing the in your face lyrical commentary. Isn't it phenomenal?? Yes, that's Ray playing the role of Nero with his back to the camera. In this early stage the video's gotten 68 unique views.

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 27 (final installment)

Hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens!! As you can see from the title of this blog entry I'll be embedding what's being called the final installment of Rayality TV...the on-going Friday series of skits, music videos, and commentaries from the one and only Ray Stevens.

I've embedded each installment from it's beginning through today...not all of those blog entries are named for Rayality TV...some of the installments of the on-line series I've included in blog entries I posted on a Saturday or a Sunday.

Episodes numbering 23, 24, 25, and 26 should be included in the blog entries named for Ray's current political music video, "If You Like Your Plan".

So, here it is...the final webisode of Rayality TV...and, ironically enough, it's one of the longest. It features the music video of "Hello Mama" and a performance from Bobby Bare, singing "Detroit City". There's a brief 10 second intermission after the scene between Nurse Broadside and Nurse Brick-House. The black screen begins at the 6 minute, 25 second mark. After 10 seconds Ray appears on-screen to introduce a segment at the fictional Encore Home starring the special guest, Bobby Bare. Ray is at the piano during the performance...wearing the denim shirt he wore for his 2009 CD, One for the Road.

If you're a detailed fan of Ray Stevens (rather than a casual fan) then you're well aware that the scenes on Rayality TV that took place at The Encore Home for Retired Entertainers came from an earlier on-line series Ray did titled We Ain't Dead Yet. Some installments of Rayality TV even include the theme song of that earlier on-line series and at the end of this final installment the audience shouts the phrase at Ralph Emery (making an appearance in the final seconds).

Some of the faces seen in the audience at The Encore in some of the Rayality TV installments include the late George Lindsey, producer/songwriter Norro Wilson (playing the resident named Robert, plagued with a cold pinky), Buddy Kalb (usually in character as one of the hippies or as Dudley Dorite), John Ragsdale (Ray's brother), Janice Copeland, Sabrina Shelfer, Darryl Waltrip, and several others whose names I don't know but their faces are familiar.

October 9, 2014

Ray Stevens: The Praise the Lord appearance...

Hello's been a week since my previous blog entry (for those that might be curious). An upcoming Ray Stevens appearance that I'd often been writing about in the last several blog entries finally aired a couple of days ago on October 7th. This appearance, taped in September, aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network series Praise the Lord. The program runs 2 hours...and there's a video clip available. You can see the video HERE.

Obviously being a 2 hour program there are a lot of other artists appearing throughout.

Ray's appearance comes during the final half hour (roughly 1 hour, 30 minutes into the 2 hour program). Religious personality Jason Crabb hosts this particular episode. Ray is interviewed (this lasts around 10 minutes) and he talks about the gospel CD and the origins of "Everything is Beautiful" and "Mississippi Squirrel Revival". He performs "If Jesus is a Stranger", "The Preacher and the Bear", and "Shall We Gather at the River/Down By the Riverside". During the performance segment (in between songs) the image of the Gospel Collection, Volume One CD flashed on the screen as did the image of his memoir, Nashville. A rather nice promo for both items if I do say so myself. Shifting gears...the Ray Stevens music video "If You Like Your Plan" has moved past the 25,000 mark in unique views. I had commented earlier on about how I felt that this week (starting back on October 2) would be the 'impact' moment for the music video. What is an 'impact' moment? The impact moment is the point of time where a new product issued to the masses (a CD, a song, a music video, a book etc.) is suppose to have it's biggest impact with it's targeted audience.

The music video, as of October 9th, has 26,663 unique views. This is a pick-up of 2,746 (the numbers posted in my previous blog entry had the video sitting at 23,917)...and so it's been a rather modest week in unique views. There's several reasons for this...

It's just my opinion (based on the facts up to this point) but I've started to think that the video isn't meant to be a major release...some of his YouTube music videos may get a lot of publicity (including publicity from various Fox News programs) and then there are some music videos of his that don't cross over into high-profile television exposure.

Another reason for the video's brief stall in viewership is most certainly the national conversation at the moment. The national conversation isn't about Obama may indeed return to Obama Care by month's end as the midterm election cycles reaches it's peak...but at the moment the 2 topics dominating the national news cycle is the Ebola virus and ISIS. The latter stands for Islamic State in Syria.
Did you hear the news the other day? Obama stated in one of his speeches, and I'm paraphrasing: "I'm not on the ballot this November but my policies are!". So let it be known this midterm election cycle and shout it at the top of your lungs:

A vote for a Democrat this November is a vote for Obama!!

Obama...the guy that assured people that their health coverage wouldn't change or go away as a result of his pet project...

You can purchase the CD copy of Gospel Collection, Volume One HERE.

Amazon is nearly sold-out of the Nashville hardcover version of the memoir...the paperback's been sold-out/out-of-stock for several weeks. The Amazon product page for the hardcover format states there's only 2 left in stock. If you don't want to risk the possibility of the book being out-of-stock on Amazon the minute you decide to make an order I suggest you play it safe and visit Ray's on-line store. He's selling the hardcover format of the book and you can read more about it HERE.

I can't wait to see what else Ray Stevens has planned for the remainder of 2014 as we've since entered the fourth quarter of the year!!

October 2, 2014

Ray Stevens: If You Like Your Plan nearing 25,000 unique views...

Here it is October already...and in my first fan-created blog post for this month I take a look at the current YouTube video from Ray Stevens, "If You Like Your Plan". It's gotten a modest gain during the last couple of days as September turned to October. In my previous blog post on September 29th, three days ago, the video had gained 21,149 unique views by then. Since then it's gotten 2,768 additional views to bring it's total, as of now, to 23,917.

It hasn't reached the 25,000 level that I had predicted it might reach a couple of days back based on the pace it had been on. It needs 1,083 to reach the 25,000 plateau. I hope it accomplishes this as the day goes on. Once that happens let's see if it'll get to 30,000 in the not too distant future.

Feel free to share the video on the various social media sites so we can create even more awareness for it's existence.

If you've seen any of the midterm election campaign commercials there are many incumbents and challengers in the Democratic party that are steering clear of Obamacare and health care in general. They want to make it a non-issue so it doesn't become a talking point on the campaign trail...but the facts remain that those running as a Democrat, liberal, etc. etc. traditionally share the same values and beliefs of Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden.

By steering clear of Obama Care and having their names kept from being attached to the likes of Obama, Reid, Pelosi shouldn't be seen as those Democrats running for Federal or State office this midterm cycle disagree in any way with the things those three have done during their time in office. It's obvious, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, that candidates don't want to publicly address health care. An incumbent, however, has a record. A politician running for re-election doesn't have the luxury of saying they'll "be different" than the establishment.

It isn't a coincidence that since Obama Care's passage in 2010 several key members of Congress have conveniently "retired" or have decided not to run for re-election. Health care (Obama Care) and a string of unethical, illegal, and scandalous moments should rightfully define this midterm campaign season for the Democrats and it should be front and center in the campaigns from Republican, conservative/Tea Party challengers. The economy isn't booming and there isn't any proof that unemployment shouldn't be of concern anymore, regardless of it's national percentage rate.

The meat and potatoes issues of the economy, employment, and health care...coupled with military issues...are still important to a voter. The made-up "issues" by the Democrats (like equal pay, voter disenfranchisement, a so-called war on women) are simply non-issues, really. Those topics, as I refer to them, are elevated to relevant status by being constantly focused on in liberal blogs and on liberal news programs on a national level. By elevating those social topics nationally the Democrats obviously hope to distract voters from the real issues and to concentrate entirely on social topics. Obama's ascendency to the Oval Office clearly demonstrates the dangers of voters focusing on social topics and trendy buzzwords rather than seriously asking themselves if he's actually the right person for the job.

The majority of the voters failed in 2008 to recognize his incompetence during Obama-Mania and the 2012 re-election revealed that he couldn't maintain the Obama-Mania voter surge of 2008 because the popular vote in 2012 had Obama displaying 65,917,796 votes and Romney had 60,933,500 (a difference of 4.9 million). In 2008 Obama had 69,498,516 popular vote and McCain had 59,948,323...a difference of 9.5 million. Scaring seniors about medicare and portraying Romney as someone that'll take away senior citizen benefits played heavily in Florida and Ohio. California's notoriously liberal so it's often out of play for any Republican candidate. The fact that Obama still won re-election remains baffling but it reveals that in 2012 he could successfully be challenged...Romney didn't lose in a landslide, remember.

Ray visually refers to his "Mr. President-Mr. President" music video from September 2011. I made mention of it a couple of blogs ago. That particular YouTube video debuted on September 27, 2011 and it's gotten 1.5 million unique views so it is...

On June 23, 2012 Ray Stevens gave us "Obama Nation". At the moment it's gotten 1.1 million unique views. Here's the video for that one...a nice blast from the not too distant past...

September 29, 2014

Ray Stevens: If You Like Your post 4

Hello once more...the latest video from Ray Stevens, "If You Like Your Plan", has indeed vaulted past the 20,000 mark. In a pick-up of 4,359 unique views, this brings the overall total, so far, to 21,149. Later this evening the video will technically mark it's 1st week on-line. It debuted, out of the blue, last Monday (September 22) in the late afternoon hours. I'll take a look at the numbers later this afternoon/evening and see if they're above the 25,000 mark (and if they're nearing 30,000). This is just my opinion but I feel this should be the week that Ray begins to physically promote the song...whether it be appearing on any number of Fox News programs or calling in to a radio program...and potentially reach more audiences that don't usually frequent YouTube on a daily basis. That's just my opinion, though. I'm sure they'll promote the song beyond it's YouTube appearance but I'm usually restless and on the edge of the seat during the lead up to whatever forthcoming publicity/marketing campaign there happens to be (if any!).

Given that nearly 25,000 have seen the video on YouTube I'm sure some of differing opinions have seen the clip. In fact, 386 "like" the video and 10 "dislike" the there have been dissenting results and there have been some dissenting opinions in the comments section, too. You'll see my commentary over on the video's page, too. I usually offer commentary during the first couple of days of any brand new Ray Stevens video clip...I sometimes make further commentary if I see posts that cause me to give a reaction of some kind. Usually, though, in a matter of days the liberals discover whatever the latest Ray Stevens video might be and they take over the comment section and it often turns into personal name calling and bickering back and fourth. Once the comment section dissolves into that sort of thing I stop making an effort to read the comments.

Did anyone notice the visual reference to a previous video from Ray? There's a scene in the latest music video that has Ray in reporter attire...looking as he did in one of the scenes from "Mr. President-Mr. President". That particular scene in "If You Like Your Plan" comes complete with a brief music riff referencing the Mr. President song. I thought it a neat touch.

Also, perhaps completely coincidental, "Mr. President-Mr. President", hit YouTube in September...of 2011 (the exact date happened to be the 27th). The 2011 video clip has 1.5 million unique views along with 7,132 "likes" and 381 "dislikes".

In the meantime...have you visited Ray's website lately? He's added imagery publicizing his Nashville memoir and his current Gospel Collection, Volume One CD. I've included four links in this blog post. Even though the current excitement amongst Ray Stevens fans is largely due to the "If You Like Your Plan" music video, let's don't forget about the memoir and the gospel CD. The gospel CD is a little more than 1 month old (released on August 19th). You can my customer review of the CD HERE. A link to Ray's site can be found in the following paragraph...

The format of the memoir that's being offered at the site is the hardback. The paperback version sold out on Amazon several weeks ago...some of the Marketplace customers are offering the paperback version for more than $100.00!! There's still the Kindle on-line version of the memoir and the hardback (although Amazon states that there are only 5 copies of the hardback in stock!). A link to Ray's site is HERE.

You can see the latest Ray Stevens music video, "If You Like Your Plan", HERE. I've embedded it 3 consecutive times and so I decided to share a link to it this time around. In a future blog post I'll likely embed the video again. The fourth link I'm sharing is to my customer review of Ray's Nashville memoir. You can read my commentary HERE.

September 27, 2014

Ray Stevens: If You Like Your Plan nearing 20,000 unique views...

Hello fans of Ray Stevens!! It's a very early Saturday morning here and I decided to give a couple days time before posting my follow-up blog. In my previous blog post I speculated that the latest Ray Stevens video on YouTube, "If You Like Your Plan", which at that point in time was approaching 10,000 unique views, would more than likely reach 10,000 by day's end at the pace it happened to be on. At the time of the blog the music video had obtained 7,298 unique views in less than 2 days time. I just arrived from YouTube's site and at the moment the totals for "If You Like Your Plan" are 16,790!!! This is a pick-up of 9,492 additional views. It's a timely subject because as the months and years go by millions of people are going to see their health care coverage change dramatically...whether they like their health care plan or not. Obama, several years ago, standing up there at some podium insisting that people that currently have health care coverage and like their plan have nothing to worry about..."period!". Furthermore, according to Obama, this 'Affordable Care Act' (Obama Care) is strictly meant for people that have no health coverage whatsoever.

It was a pack of lies then and a pack of lies today...and never forget the deceit and legal trickery and maneuvering on the part of Congressional and Senate Democrats (the President and Vice President included) to make sure this monstrosity became Federal law. Something that the American population truly wants shouldn't have to be rammed through Congress on a party-line vote and under cover of the night (but I'm being rhetorical there!). They don't care about a person's health coverage or health care...their motivation was purely cynical and political. The Democrats simply wanted to deliver a blow to Capitalism and they accomplished it through deception. "If You Like Your Plan" you can keep your plan (period!)...repeated over and over by Obama...had long been hogwash.

The video's message is so great and's the third straight time I've embedded it in a blog post. I usually don't do that kind of thing anymore...but once in awhile I do.

Once more, the viral video hit from Ray Stevens... "If You Like Your Plan"...

Anything else going on in the world of Ray Stevens?? The news broke on Friday (September 26) that Ray is to co-host an upcoming gospel ceremony in November. You can read all about it HERE. The page gives the air date and the broadcast affiliate along with other details. I'm sure I don't receive the channel/network that will air the program but I'll look for more information nevertheless in mid November. The event's full title is the Inspirational Country Music Faith, Family and Country Week and it runs November 9th through the 12th. The awards ceremony takes place on November 12th. You can read my Amazon CD review of the Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Volume One HERE.

September 24, 2014

Ray Stevens: If You Like Your Plan nearing 10,000 unique views...

Hello once again! It's been less than 2 days since the debut of the latest Ray Stevens YouTube music video, "If You Like Your Plan". It's nearing 10,000 unique views as of this writing. The totals so far are 7,298 and I happen to believe that the video is going to gain the 2,702 additional views needed to reach the 10,000 plateau in no time at all. It's gotten more than 7,000 unique views in less than 2 days so it's safe to say it'll leap into 10,000 territory and beyond in a matter of hours at the pace it's on.

All over the social network sites the video's being shared...the one that's gotten the most shares is the one that describes the video in this manner: "Ray Stevens Relentlessly Mocks Obama Care..." followed by a link to Ray's video. I happen to, of course, agree with that description even though I couldn't find those exact words to type the other day during my blog post as I was trying to come up with descriptions of my experience seeing the video...but yes, 'relentless' is a good way to describe Ray's visual performance...PERIOD!! (once you see the video you'll understand the reason I used that word!!).

There have been a number of comments about the video on it's YouTube page...a couple by Obama supporters...but the majority of the commentary (so far) are by those in support of Ray's video and the message it delivers.

As more and more liberals discover the video, though, the commentary section may end up becoming a cesspool of name calling, personal attacks, and vulgar language since history shows that's their favorite tactic in replying to ideologies they happen to disagree with but for now none of that immature commentary has taken over the comments area.

Here's the viral video hit from Ray Stevens... "If You Like Your Plan"...

September 22, 2014

Ray Stevens: If You Like Your Plan (music video)

Hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens! I hope you all have purchased Ray's Nashville book and his Gospel Collection, Volume One CD. If you haven't I'd suggest you do so. The paperback of Nashville is sold-out on Amazon at the moment. The Kindle, of course, is still available as is a hardback's available at Ray's on-line store. The Gospel Collection, Volume One is a near sell-out on Amazon. As of this writing the CD's product page states that there's only 3 CD's in stock but more on the way.

The main focus of this blog entry is on the most recent offering from Ray Stevens...a brand new music video called "If You Like Your Plan". If you're a political junkie or follow current events you should be familiar with that phrase. It's an infamous phrase uttered by Obama during his national sales pitch for Obama Care (the one size fits all Government run health care system). As the scholars and critics had long since complained...people aren't necessarily going to be keeping their current health care plan...Obama Care's burden on private insurance companies places those organizations in a bind and in order to economically survive they'll have to raise their monthly/yearly rates.

So, yes, a lot of private health insurance companies are dumping a lot of their policy holders into the Federally run Obama Care out of economic necessity rather than by choice. Obama and those that dreamed up this health care monstrosity had always knew this sort of thing would happen (private insurance companies dumping their policy holders into the Government-run health care) and that's the reason a lot of people in 2010 could see this coming years in advance but only the informed paid any attention to the out-cry. A true capitalist could see the dangers of Obama Care...obviously that leaves Obama out.

And so, with that being said, have a look and a laugh at the latest Ray Stevens music video, "If You Like Your Plan". You'll like...LOVE...this video a lot!!!

September 13, 2014

Ray Stevens performs on 1985's Music City, USA...

Hello one and all to the latest fan created blog entry chronicling the legendary Ray Stevens!! In this blog entry I've embedded a 1985 television program called Music City, U.S.A. that ran on The Nashville Network in it's early years. Each episode featured a different host and this time it's Ray Stevens...promoting songs from his then-current album, He Thinks He's Ray Stevens. In the clip above you'll see glimpses of routines and sketches that foreshadowed Ray's future as a comedy music video king. Longtime fans and those that have only discovered his music recently are sure to smile as you watch and listen to Ray perform these songs. Ray has a special guest on this episode...Kathy of Conway's daughters. That's her in the still shot on the video capture.

Ray performs "It's Me Again, Margaret", "Erik the Awful", "Misty", and "Mississippi Squirrel Revival". In the performance of "Erik the Awful" there's a mishap with a prop...but being a pro, Ray smirks at the blooper, laughs a bit, and continues on. To add further hilarity, Ray continues to use the prop in his performance...knowing full well how silly it looks...but that's all part of the fun. After the performance and a bigger laugh as he looked at the band, Ray commented that he does have a serious side...and given that he performed 2 songs from his 1984 LP I assumed he'd perform his bluesy arrangement of "Furthermore" (track 10 on the LP) but he performed "Misty" instead. He closed the program singing "Mississippi Squirrel Revival".

Fast-forwarding from 1985 to 2014...this is the latest upload of Rayality TV...there are some scenes that take place at The Encore retirement home and there's a presentation of the "Red Hot Chili Cook-Off" music video...

September 8, 2014

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 22...

Hello to all the Ray Stevens fans!! The most recent Rayality TV has made it's way onto YouTube!! In this installment The Encore retirement home takes center stage once more...and in one of the sketches we're entertained by several spaced out characters (hippies). There is also a music video added in...the illegal immigration song "Come to the U.S.A." which, to date, has 8.7 million unique views on YouTube!!

I made mention of this a couple of blogs ago so I hope some of you all remembered that Ray Stevens was the special guest over the weekend on Larry's Country Diner. I notice over on the traffic feed that a couple of visits have been made to a blog I published in 2010 about an appearance by Ray on Larry's show. I didn't publish a stand alone blog this time around for Ray's most recent appearance because I no longer get RFD-TV and because of that I found it difficult to gather up the kind of hype/excitement that I get when it comes to any of the other Ray Stevens appearances but I hope those that seen the appearance loved it!!

I looked all over the internet but didn't see any screen caps or commentary about Ray's appearance but I did get some information about the songs Ray performed. The info comes from another fan that happens to still have RFD-TV. On the September 6, 2014 episode of Larry's Country Diner Ray Stevens performed the following songs: "If Jesus is a Stranger", "Amazing Grace", "Turn Your Radio On", and "Nashville". This appearance had been taped a month or two earlier. 

Here's an Amazon LINK to Ray's recording of "If Jesus is a Stranger". Based on sales, it's the most popular digital download from the gospel CD. The physical copy of the CD is currently ranked in sales at #352. It hasn't cracked the Top-100 yet...but I assume at some point if a music video or something comes along that creates more awareness of the CD's availability then the CD may just land in the Top-100 amongst the Amazon best-sellers list.

September 3, 2014

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 21...

Hello's suddenly September!! This past Friday an installment of Rayality TV didn't appear on-line...I assume it most certainly had to do with the busy activities of Ray and company in the days after the release of The Gospel Collection, Volume One CD on August 19th. I hope those reading took advantage of my previous blog post and visited either of those six on-line music stores that I provided a link to. In case you missed the previous blog post I did you can either search the archives or click this LINK.

The link takes you to the official Ray Stevens store's product page for the gospel CD. You can also purchase it at other stores, too. In case you're wondering if an Mp3 exists the answer is yes. If you visit Amazon and search in the Digital Music section for 'Ray Stevens Gospel Collection', you'll see the Mp3 edition of the CD available for sale, too. The Mp3 doesn't have any reviews, though. The CD copy has my review and a review by another customer. The second review appeared on Amazon today. My review was published back on August 23rd.

Rayality TV 19 and 20 carried a Christmas theme and this one carries the theme even further and it's referred to as "Christmas In August, Part Three". Evidently, going by the title, this installment of the series had been put together late last month but, as mentioned, didn't make it to YouTube until today. The music videos of "Blue Christmas" and "Nightmare Before Christmas" make an appearance sandwiched between Ray's commentary about the season and political correctness.

In other news, Ray Stevens is scheduled to appear on The Grand Ole Opry on September 12th. This is referred to as the Friday Night Opry, technically, and Ray is scheduled to make an appearance on the 12th. At this time I have no idea which segment Ray is to make an appearance. I assume he'll appear during the last portion but it's hard to tell. You can listen to the Opry on WSM radio's website by simply clicking the Listen Live audio button. After the Opry broadcast Ray is to sign copies of his Nashville memoir. You can read about that book signing HERE.

August 25, 2014

Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Part 5...

Good early Monday morning...those that have the Ray Stevens Gospel Collection in their possession I assume love the CD!!! I came across an article posted on The Tennessean site about the CD and it includes some quotes from Ray. You can read the article HERE.

There's mention made of Volume 2...and according to the article there may not be a follow-up if Volume 1 isn't "a success". The songs that are to appear on a possible follow-up have all been recorded. Ray recorded 24 songs for the project (12 appear on Volume 1 and another 12 are set to appear on the next Volume). I'm sure the success of the CD isn't necessarily going to be determined by sales alone...I'm sure Ray and company measure a CD's success in other ways, too. In the early stages it's a critical success...and it's saw signs of commercial success as it's fluctuating sales ranking on Amazon can attest to...but there hasn't been any television and radio publicity (yet) but I'm sure once Ray starts to make the rounds of various talk programs on either radio or TV (should he do that), the general public is going to become aware of the CD's existence.

Ideally, I believe a commercial on YouTube promoting the CD could be suffice considering the potential of a video clip reaching thousands of people through social media would create instant awareness. Also, given that it'll be on-line, it'll have the opportunity to be shared across the internet and there wouldn't be the scenario of people missing the commercial due to everyone's habit of channel surfing. Will there be a YouTube commercial for the gospel CD?? If one comes along I'll blog about it!!

In the meantime, if you hadn't purchased a copy, I'd suggest you do so. In my previous blog post I shared my review of the CD and I hope it inspires those that read it to purchase the CD. You can read my thoughts about the CD by searching the blog archive off to the right or you can read the Amazon review HERE.

If you're reading this blog I assume you're a fan of Ray Stevens anyhow and so why wouldn't you order it?

I'm going to provide a list of the various on-line stores where you can purchase your copy of the Ray Stevens Gospel Collection. I'm only highlighting certain stores, though...this isn't a directory by any stretch of the imagination...

Ray Stevens Store (CD copy)

Amazon (CD copy)

Amazon (Digital Download)

Capitol Christian Distribution (CD copy)

Wal-Mart (CD copy)

Itunes (Mp3)

Given the cosmetic facelift of Amazon recently they don't promote the CD and digital download on the same product page anymore and so once you're at Amazon you'd have to either click 'Digital Music' or 'CDs and Vinyl' and search for Ray's gospel project. Previous to the facelift, if you happened to be viewing the CD product page there would be a link in the product details for the Mp3 counterpart and vice versa but it isn't like that anymore and so I provided a link to both the CD and Mp3 format.

If you're wanting instant access to the latest Ray Stevens project then, of course, click on the links for the Mp3/digital download copy and have the songs sent right to your device (computer, phone, etc.). If you're like I am and prefer having a physical copy of a CD then click the other on-line stores of your choice. I didn't provide a link to the Bill Gaither on-line store because the page for Ray's gospel CD still has it listed in pre-order and I didn't want to provide a possible inactive link.

Those 6 choices of where you can purchase your copy of Ray's gospel project should be enough. It's not too long of a list and it isn't limited to just a couple of on-line stores, either.