I don’t know where I heard it, but up until today, I thought Ray Stevens had passed away. I’m happy to say that I was wrong; he’s still at it, making music and making people laugh. Harold Ray Ragsdale was born in Clarkdale, Georgia (not far from where I live, as it so happens). He started his professional career when he was still in high school, and recorded his first song, “Silver Bracelet,” in 1957, and has been at it ever since. He has a website and YouTube channel (who doesn’t these days?), so stop by and be entertained.
One of my favorite songs by Ray is his countrified version of Errol Garner’s “Misty.” He recorded it on his 1975 album of the same name, and it reached #3 on the US Country chart, #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Many of Ray’s songs are novelty tunes that appeal to children of all ages. When I was in seventh and eighth grade, Ray’s “Gitarzan,” which he released in January 1969 on the album of the same name, was a particular favorite. (My friends and I were pretty good at the “boogie woogie” break in the middle of the song.) The song reached #8 on the Hot 100 in April 1969.
Ray Stevens, your Two for Tuesday, July 8, 2014.