January 8, 2018

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Bellamy Brothers

On today's blog entry I'm taking a look at Episode Five, Season Two of Ray Stevens' CabaRay Nashville. The episode features The Bellamy Brothers as the special guests. Ray opens the show singing "Pickin' on the Chicken"...this is a whimsical song from his Here We Go Again! album. It's a song about a chicken pointing out that human beings have forever inserted chickens, hens, roosters, and other chicken-related terminology as representation of negative slang and misfortune. Aside from chicken cackling every so often from Ray he gives us examples of how we insert chicken terminology into everyday language. "don't count your chickens before they're hatched", "walking on eggshells", "rule the roost", etc. etc.

Ray brings out The Bellamy Brothers (Howard and David) and he asks David to tell the story of "Spiders and Snakes". Ray mentioned that he had no idea that David helped write the song until he began research for his Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. David tells of how he pitched the song to a record company and they pitched it into the trash but Jim Stafford came along and found it in the trash and loved it but asked if he could help rewrite some of the lyrics to fit his style. Howard tells the story of how Jim had a burglar alarm and it was driving Gallagher crazy and one thing led to another and Gallagher took out his Sledge-o-Matic and destroyed the alarm. It was at this point in the conversation that Ray brought up one of their hits and how it has one of the longest titles and they sang "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me".

Up next came the limited animation music video of "Hugo the Human Cannonball". This video emerged as part of a series of animated videos under the Cartoon Carnival banner. He had previously produced a series of music videos in which he appeared in live action with animated surroundings and then he produced some music videos featuring nothing but animation...this ultimately led to more animated music videos. The song itself goes back to 1985 in the career of Ray Stevens. He co-wrote the song with Buddy and Carlene Kalb. There was a real human cannonball circus star named Hugo Zacchini and in the recording, near the end, Ray delivers some lines in Americanized Italian dialect leading a lot of people to feel that the song is a tribute even though I'd never come across any interview or article with a definitive response from Ray declaring that it is indeed a salute to the circus star.

After the conclusion of the music video Ray makes mention of a CD celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Bellamy Brothers. It contains 20 recordings of their hits and 20 new songs. The CD hit in the summer of 2015 (remember to keep in mind that these episodes on the Season Two DVD of Ray's television show are from the 2015-2016 season on RFD-TV even though they aired on PBS in 2017). This leads into a performance of their first hit, "Let Your Love Flow".

I had always loved this song even before I knew who sang it. The lead vocals are from Howard although the majority of their most recognized songs feature David singing the lead. Among the conversation in the episode Ray brings up the Texas-based success of David's two sons who are billed Jesse and Noah. Ray closes the show singing the edited version of "The Haircut Song". By that I mean he performs the version found on the single release which omits the visit to the Los Angeles barbershop. On the album I Have Returned, which is where the song originally appeared, it tells the story of Ray visiting three distinct barbershops and getting three radically different haircuts. In the edited release for the single there are only two barbershop visits. Regardless of the performance being shortened it's still funny seeing him act out the song as he's singing.

On the next episode is another family act...a trio of brothers with the last name of Gatlin...

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