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Ray Stevens: 51 Years of Music and Laughs
Since the mid 1950’s, Ray Stevens has successfully bridged the gap between standup-comedy and modern American music. Ray has also promoted BBW acceptance, casting several BBWs in his video series “Comedy Video Classics.” With hilarious hits like “The Streak”, “The Shriner’s Convention”, and “Ahab the Arab” and pop classics, such as “Turn Your Radio On”, and the Award Winning “Everything is Beautiful”, Ray has proven a wit and talent as versatile as it is timeless
Ray was recently in studio preparing for his latest release, “Smokey Mountain Rattlesnake Retreat”, and graciously took a few moments for a short interview with SSBBW.
SSBBW: Could you tell us about your family growing up? Brothers? Sisters?
RS: I am the oldest of two boys. My family life? Hmm. I guess it was normal, if you can define normal. (Laughs) We were a typical family.
SSBBW: Did your parents encourage you in your music?
RS: Oh yes, they encouraged me from the very beginning. They paid for my piano lessons at age 6.
SSBBW: What professional training did you receive?
RS: I took classical piano as a child, and majored in music at Georgia State (University).
SSBBW: Could you tell us about your very first recording?
RS: My first recording was called “Silver Bracelet,” in 1957. It was about an identity bracelet a boy would give to a girl.
SSBBW: What were your musical influences?
RS: Mostly R&B and country. I liked a lot of artists, including the Clovers and Ray Charles.
SSBBW: How old were you when you first realized a love for comedy and music?
RS: Well, according to my family, I started at birth! (Laughs) For as long as I can remember, I have loved music, and making people laugh, so I guess always. (Laughs)
SSBBW: What do you think of the trend toward downloading music, as opposed to purchasing a CD in the store?
RS: Well, I don’t think it’s ethical or legal to download music unless you pay for it. You used to walk into any record store and see all sorts of music on the shelves, and it was good for business, and now the record store business has been on a decline. It’s a shame.
SSBBW: What are you working on currently?
RS: I have about 50 or 60 different recordings going on right now. I am working on a Christmas album and an Oldies album, but my newest release in the next couple of w weeks is called “Smokey Mountain Rattlesnake Retreat.” It’s about some folks headed the mountains to what they think is a Baptist retreat. They arrive at the church, only to find out it’s a church that plays with snakes!
SSBBW: It sounds like an updated version of “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival.”
RS: (Laughs) Basically.
SSBBW: Have you been overseas in support of the troops?
RS: I have not been overseas, but I am a big supporter of the military. We would be in a real mess without them.
Check out Ray’s newest album “Hurricane,” or drop him a line at www.raystevens.com!
*Special thanks to Ray Stevens for taking the time to talk with us. Thanks also to staff at Clyde Records, Inc for their assistance, as well as the photographs for this article.*
Written by: M.M. Barbour
|"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child."
|"Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother."
|Please visit us at www.bbwcruise.com and cruise with us on Sept.07,2008. Any questions please call us at 1-877-BBW-CRUZ Come sail away with us!!!|
|The Philly Bash a fun 4 day event based on size acceptance, meeting new people and connecting with friends.|
During the 4 days we have entertainment, 2 dances, a fashion show, a vendor showcase, a pool party, a brunch, 2 dinners, and a hospitality suite to hang out and get to know other bash attendees.
When: July 24-27, 2008
Where: Park Ridge Sheraton, Valley Forge, PA