Hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens! I'm sure those of you in the Myrtle Beach area attended the Ray Stevens concert at The Alabama Theater last night (Saturday March 4th). Hopefully those that attended will make commentary on social media sites at some point so there can be some documentation about it.
I'm anxiously awaiting the debut of Ray Stevens' CabaRay Nashville on a local PBS affiliate in my area. I've been aware of this upcoming debut for several months. Ray's series once aired on RFD but it moved to scattered PBS affiliates across the country this past January. A lot of stations in the South and Southeastern half of the country, perhaps predictably, immediately added the program to their line-ups but surprisingly, the state I live in, hasn't added it...but a neighboring state whose local PBS station is carried by our cable provider is set to start airing it on March 25th.
A couple of days ago I came across a vintage performance by Ray Stevens from 1976. In the clip he performs "Misty"...and is introduced by Andy Williams. It hasn't been promoted much, if at all, and therefore it's only received less than 30 (!) unique views.
Update: I originally had a video embed posted here from YouTube but it's been removed from their site and the embed no longer worked and so I removed that portion of this blog entry. I'm replacing the video embed with an image of Ray from that performance, though...
It may be one of Ray's last televised performances as a Barnaby Records artist. The performance took place on February 28, 1976. I know that the label released a couple of singles on Ray very early in 1976. One of those, "Young Love", happened to crash into the charts for a couple of weeks in late January. It debuted on the pop chart on Ray's birthday of all days, January 24, but not long after that Barnaby issued "Mockingbird Hill" as the fourth single off of the 1975 Misty album but I don't know off the top of my head if the single happened to be an impact release or just something the label issued to fill out a contractual obligation.
Sometimes an artist, I assume, may have a specific amount of single releases and album releases for whatever label they're recording for but if an artist and label are in their "lame-duck" period, to borrow a political phrase, and are in the process of parting company the label usually will issue one last single release to fill out the quota but not promote it much, if at all, and afterward the label and artist part ways on friendly terms. Sometimes, though, a label may issue an additional single or even an album that isn't part of the contracted total to be released. Some artists shrug it off but some fight against it on the grounds of contract violations...but getting back to the label Ray recorded for...
Barnaby was founded by and owned by Andy Williams; and Ray signed on in 1970. Andy's brother, Don, became Ray's manager (an association that lasted for more than 20 years). Not coincidentally Ray hosted the summer program that aired in Andy's time-slot on NBC in 1970 (Ray had been a recurring music guest on Andy's television series since 1969 and continued in that capacity during the 1970-1971 season). After the release of "Mockingbird Hill", which didn't make the pop or country singles charts, Ray left for Warner Brothers records and a different chapter of his career began.