January 13, 2018

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Reed Robertson

In this final episode of Season Two of Ray's PBS series the special guest is Reed Robertson. Ray opens the show singing "Dear Andy Griffith" featuring a lot of finger snapping from the harmony singers...but it didn't feature the exact music arrangement found on the studio recording...which doesn't feature finger snapping. The studio recording originated in 2010 on his album, We The People. Ray follows the opening performance with the limited animation music video, "Along Came Jones".

I was not into all of the hysteria and hype surrounding Duck Dynasty but several family members were. My parents, for example, couldn't miss an episode. In fact there was a time when my mom would watch the marathon airings of the show that used to air...even if she had seen the episode more than twice already...and so even though I wasn't necessarily a viewer/fan of the series I nevertheless was exposed to the series through my walking to and from my bedroom and the kitchen and passing by the living room and catching bits and pieces of the show.

Ray introduces Reed to the audience and asks about life in the Duck Dynasty universe. Reed speaks of his childhood and how he was an athlete playing five sports. He said he played football, too, but it wasn't his main sport. Given his height basketball became the main sport. Ray mentions that he was told to expect a gift...and Reed gives him a duck call. After testing it out Ray is told about Reed's parents being musically inclined but with two distinctive preferences. Reed says his mother used to sing opera throughout the house...many times early in the mornings as perhaps something of an alarm and that his dad loved singing Johnny Cash songs.

Reed performs a song titled "Hallelujah" and it's followed by Ray's clip advertising the Duck-a-Phone (actually spelled Duck-a-Fone) which parodies pan flutist, Zamfir. In the early '90s there were a series of television commercials advertising the pan flutist and they played all over television. Ray's parody featured a string of duck calls glued side by side in order to resemble a pan flute. The clip had been taped for inclusion in the 1992 home video, Amazing Rolling Revue, but was ultimately cut from the final print but once he uploaded the clip onto YouTube during the Duck Dynasty craze it obviously reached an entirely different audience mostly unaware of the original intent of the clip. The funny thing is Ray uploaded the sketch twice.

He uploaded it in 2012 but then uploaded it a second time in 2014 with some added material inserted into the beginning of the clip. The added material features Ray dressed in Duck Dynasty attire and wearing a comically fake long beard. That second upload, from 2014, has gotten more than 200,000 unique views on YouTube but yet the original upload from 2012 has amassed a little more than 30,000 unique views. As Ray has often pointed out in interviews a lot of the success of a song or a video depends 9 times out of 10 on timing...sometimes a song won't find it's audience until perhaps a second or third go around.

Reed follows the Duck-a-Fone clip with a performance of "I'll Be the One"...and then for the closing performance Ray calls on his daughter, Suzi Ragsdale, to perform with him on a song titled "Wishbone". This closes out Season Two of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville.

The first 26 episodes of his television series have, as you should already know, been released on DVD as Season One (13 episodes) and Season Two (13 episodes). The 26 episodes that make up Season Three and Season Four have yet to be released onto DVD. Those episodes are the ones that were the exclusive, first-run episodes for PBS stations. The episodes featured on the Season One and Season Two DVDs originally aired on RFD-TV (during 2015-2016) and those episodes were repeated on numerous PBS stations during the first half of 2017.

The CabaRay is set to open in 5 days...January 18th...and more than likely that's when my next blog entry is going to be. This should be a very active week, though...so I may blog sooner than I'm initially anticipating.

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