June 11, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Episode 12...

It's an early Sunday morning (June 11th) and Ray has had a very busy last couple of days during the CMA Music Festival (also known as Fan Fair). He appeared at a booth and greeted all kinds of fans and members of the music press judging by the photo's that have appeared on social media. Ray signed CD's, books, photo's, and had his photo taken during three separate hour long sessions. The times were 1:30pm-2:30pm Central (June 8th, June 9th, and June 10th). You can look at the photo's that were posted on Ray's Facebook page. They're in the Mobile Uploads album section of his page and you can view the photo's by clicking HERE.

As of this writing he only has 6 photo's posted from the meet and greets...perhaps more may be added...and if so the photo's from the Fan Fair appearances with his fans stop at the photo of the key to Pascagoula, Mississippi. The other photo's are screen caps from his television series and from a book signing of his memoir, Ray Stevens' Nashville. Today he'll be participating in a locally produced version of "Celebrity Family Feud" on the CMA Close-Up Stage inside the Fan Fair X venue. It's being promoted as The Country Stars vs. The Reality Stars. The line-up for the Country stars happen to be: Ray, Jeannie Seely, Darryl Worley, Craig Campbell, and Parmalee. The Reality stars happen to be: Nicole Franzel, Caleb Reynolds, Sheila Kennedy, James Fuertes, and Jessica Figueroa. This charity event is going to take place at 1:30pm Central time today. Keep in mind that this is a locally produced version of the series...it isn't going to feature Steve Harvey as the host.

Last night at 8pm eastern the local PBS channel aired episode 12 of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville. I watched it and taped it...and about an hour ago I checked my DVR recording log because I couldn't find last night's episode in the line-up. Once again (much like the error message a couple of episodes ago) I received a message saying that KET2 wasn't available and therefore last night's episode didn't tape. It's a mystery to me...because I happened to be watching the very episode that the DVR didn't tape "because the channel was not available". Thankfully I made notes and last night's episode guest starred James Gregory and the Helen Highwater String Band.

Ray opened the show singing a rousing version of "Kiss a Pig" (originally recorded by him in 1985; I Have Returned). This is followed by a clip of Ray spoofing James Bond (originally from the 1993 home video, Ray Stevens Live!). James Gregory is then brought out and he performs a comedy routine. Afterward he and Ray have a discussion about weight loss. Although Ray is known for his comical songs and videos anytime somebody that's also known for their comedy appears on the same stage Ray often takes on the role of straight man...I don't know if it's intentional or not.

The Helen Highwater Stringband appear and perform a song called "Cryin' and Singin'". One of the band's members, Missy Raines, uploaded their performance from Ray's television program a couple of months ago and you can see it by clicking HERE. The band share the same microphone when they sing which is a rarity for group performances but this is one of those instances in which the proper definition is an actual band...rather than a group. In an effort to not get into the weeds too much there's a difference between calling an act "a group" or "a band". Search on-line social media for such arguments, though. After the string band performance the regular feature, Video Jukebox, appeared. This time around his music video of "Everything is Beautiful" aired. Don Cusic introduced the next segment focusing on the pop music classic "Splish Splash". Ray had recorded it for inclusion on his Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. It's on Disc 7 (it's a 9-CD collection; the songs appear in alphabetical order). If you thought "Kiss a Pig" happened to be rousing (as I had described it) then the performance of "Splish Splash" tops that one.

Given the song's history and familiarity plus the fact that Bobby Darin gave it a distinctive vocalization, originally, Ray happened to be more than up to the task of recreating the feeling of the song. Even though "Splish Splash" isn't necessarily a 'ha-ha' kind of comedy song it nevertheless was viewed as a novelty song by some due to it's unusual lyrics (for the time period) and it's overall subject matter. Afterward Ray told a hamster joke prior to the closing music beginning to play over the sound system. As usual Ray asked a member of the audience to be his dancing partner as the credits rolled. Although this is episode 12 of the 13-episode "first season" I can't say I'm disappointed to much in my lack of episodes on my DVR. My lack of disappointment is due to some news that broke several days ago...click on the third blog entry starting at the bottom for the month of June for further information over on the right hand side of the page in the archives!! 

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