September 11, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Tommy Roe

Hello once again...oh yes I know that I hadn't posted a blog entry in a couple of weeks but a lot of it had to do with off-line events taking place that took me away from the computer and of course other demands prevented me from posting as well. As most of the frequent readers/visitors of this blog should know by now I rarely post episode summaries halfheartedly which is what you would've gotten if I attempted to simply rush an episode summary to the internet...but I prefer to be as detailed as possible.

Now, to be specific, in this particular blog entry it's a summary of the September 2nd episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville which guest starred Tommy Roe. The episode was officially billed as the bubblegum pop show because of it's guest star. A promo for the episode appeared on YouTube several days ago...but yet the episode by that time had already aired...but I'm posting the promo here nevertheless because you never some point the episode is bound to air on PBS stations that pick the show up at some later date...and so this serves as a promo for that episode...

Ray opened the episode singing "Chantilly Lace" in his own style...utilizing a familiar physical presence seen during performances of his immortal classic, "It's Me Again, Margaret". Ray recorded his version of "Chantilly Lace" several years ago and it's part of his 9-CD collection, The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. Following the opening performance there's a short clip from his 1995 Get Serious! movie...the clip features George Lindsey as a Shriner introducing Ray to some other members of the shrine and they're presenting Ray with a dune buggy...referred to in the movie as The Mone Mobile.

After this sketch airs Ray introduces Tommy Roe but not before Ray makes mention of their past in Atlanta and the music scene at the time. Bubblegum is the order of the day as Ray grabs a large plastic bin of bubblegum for everybody on the set. Ray and Tommy grab their piece while one of the harmony singers, Sabrina, hands out bubblegum to the band and ultimately the audience. Tommy speaks about his entrance into the industry and "Sheila"...and Ray brings up Tommy's record producer at the time, Felton Jarvis. Ray mentions that he and Felton were once brothers-in-law (Ray and Felton married a couple of sisters). Ray and Tommy speak about Felton's idolization of Elvis, too. Tommy mentions that the first album released on him, also called Sheila, featured musical arrangement by none other than Ray Stevens. I've searched all over the internet but all the images I've come across the music arranger isn't credited. During my image search I came across various single releases of the song and the LP releases in both the America and International market. I was wanting to find an arranger credit for Ray Stevens on a Tommy Roe project as a visual for the blog entry but I couldn't find one. If I ever come across one I'll edit the image into this blog entry at a later date...but back to the summary...

After Ray and Tommy speak about their early musical endeavors, which also included a photo being displayed of Tommy and Ray in the recording studio in the early '60s, Tommy sings his 1969 number one hit, "Dizzy". Throughout the performance the camera pans over to the band and the harmony singers...several of them blowing bubbles as they play their instruments. After the high energy performance of "Dizzy" there's an edit...and these edits/fade outs are commonplace on Ray's television program and if you have an eagle eye you should be able to spot them. Some are more obvious than others. The edits represent where a commercial would be if the series were running on commercial television but because it airs on PBS stations there aren't any commercial insertions. Anyway...after the fade out/fade in...Ray introduces Tommy one more time. Tommy performs "Memphis Me".

Upon the conclusion of the performance Ray walks back into the scene and removes his jacket. Tommy had been performing "Memphis Me" in a white shirt...and so Ray took off his own jacket to reveal a white button up shirt, too. That scene was highlighted in the video promo embedded above. In a bit of coincidence or intent this Tommy Roe episode airing the weekend of September 1st...airing here in my area on September 2...but the coincidence or irony tied to this episode comes from the fact that "Sheila" had hit number one on September 1, 1962...even though it was Tommy's other number one, "Dizzy", that got the spotlight via performance on Ray's show Saturday night. Given that "Dizzy" was performed rather than "Sheila" leads me to assume that Tommy's episode airing the weekend of September 1st was merely coincidence.

In a second installment of the Comedy Theater segment we're treated to the music video of "Dudley Dorite of the Highway Patrol" (from the 1995 Get Serious! movie). Ray follows this with a performance of "Maybellene"...a 1955 classic made famous by Chuck Berry. This is another song that Ray recorded for his 9-CD project, The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. As mentioned in previous blog entries concerning the 9-CD project Ray slipped in his performances of a lot of early rock and roll classics that lend themselves to being associated with novelty songs and in this case it's simply due to the song's uptempo, comical story of a man in a V8 Ford chasing the driver of a Cadillac. The girlfriend of the Ford driver is cheating on him and she's cruising all over town in a Cadillac with her new boyfriend.

Ray closes the show with one of his one-liner jokes...and the melody of "Everything is Beautiful" strikes up...meaning it's slow dance time. On this particular occasion after Ray picks somebody from the audience to dance with a 'gorilla' appears from out of nowhere as the credits are rolling. The gorilla cuts in and begins dancing with the woman that Ray had picked from the audience. A funny, unexpected twist to the familiar closing dance scene. The CabaRay venue is suppose to have it's grand opening next month and I have a feeling this is the main reason a lot of the on-line content has been a bit sparse...there wasn't a video promo of the episode that aired this past Saturday night (guest starring Mark Wills)...and so it's my guess that all of Ray's concentration is being placed on the eventual grand opening of the CabaRay.

I'll have a review/summary of the Mark Wills episode at some point...but as a reminder the guest star on the episode that airs this coming Saturday the 16th is Duane Eddy...and I can't wait to hear the stories/memories that come out of this appearance. I wonder if Ray brings up Wayne Twang? If you don't know who I'm referring to then you haven't heard Ray's "The Rock and Roll Show" novelty song.

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