Ray Steven's Lesser Known Songs

I was listening to Ray Steven’s Shriner’s Convention album earlier today and it got me to thinking. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the hits–“The Streak,” “Mississippi Squirrel Revival,” “Everything Is Beautiful.” But what about the songs that didn’t get airplay? Things like “Fat,” “Dudley Do-Right,” and others. So I thought I’d just satisfy my curiosity and ask my fellow Dopers: What are some of your favorites of Ray’s lesser known music? Why do you like them in particular?

I’ll start: I like the two that I mentioned above. “Fat” because it deals humorously with a frustrating part of life–being fat, hating it, and struggling to lose weight (something I know ALL about). My favorite lines:

“Every week down at the fat club, I would proudly stand up
Tell my weight loss and give my testimony
Lost 50 pounds, I was feelin’ great
Had one drink to celebrate
Went right out and ate a French-fried Shetland pony.”

“Dudley Do-Right” is about Ray getting pulled over by the most “by-the-book” patrolman in the world–and his town is populated with people who are all negatively portrayed in Ray’s music (like Coy, Bubba, Ethel, etc). When Dudley realizes who he’s talking to, he informs him how offended the town is by all his songs and wraps up his diatribe by saying, “Guess everything ain’t so dadburn beautiful right now, is it?” I found that line hilarious, mainly because I have always been annoyed by “Everything Is Beautiful.”

I have lots more, but I’ll add them later (if this thread even gets any replies–I’m pretty good at thread-killing! :wink: )!

Didn’t he also do
Wildwood Weed “Wildwood weed grew wild on the farm but we never knew what it was called” and
Spiders and Snakes “I don’t like spiders and snakes and that ain’t what it takes to love me…”
as well as
Guitarzan “Shut up Jane, I’m trying to sing…”

In the spirit of the current world political situation, how about Ahab the Arab?! (And yes, I’m joking).

I’m also partial to It’s Me Again, Margaret and Gitarzan (as Nic2004 mentioned).

  • Peter Wiggen

In the Mood, by The Henhouse Five, Plus Two. The arrangement doesn’t really add much, but the original In the Mood is utterly brilliant, and his arrangement doesn’t really lose much either.

Ray Stevens, eh? It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to, or even thought of, him, but he used to be a favorite of mine back in the day. Is it cool to admit you like Ray Stevens? Some of his stuff falls kinda flat, but the guy has talent, and his best stuff is very funny indeed.

In addtion to the songs already mentioned, some that spring to mind are
The Do-Right Family (“Hush Mama, Virgil!” THUNK! “Now play the pianer, Mama.”)
Harry the Hairy Ape
Santa Claus is Watching You (“He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!”)

Those first two were by Jim Stafford. “Gitarzan” was indeed Ray Stevens.

Right on the the third one, but it was Jim Stafford who did “Wildwood Weed” and “Spiders and Snakes”

Don’t forget the seasonal favorite Grandma got run over by a Reindeer and a more mainstream King of the Road
Trailers for sale or rent
Rooms to let, fifty cents
I’m a man-of-means by no means…

Crap! That’s right. :smack:

King of The Road was by Roger Miller.

Damn. Not enough sleep. I’ll just quit now.

::slinks off into the night::

How 'bout Everything is beautiful
That’s Ray, right? RIGHT?

Well, I have to admit that besides It’s Me Again, Margaret ("…and some Peach Preserves!!!") that my favorite “obscure” Ray Stevens song is The Haircut Song:

“I just play my piano, sing my little songs…”


Shoot, I should have remembered this one. Seems like every Christmas is just an excuse for me to run around screaming “He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!” Well played, sir.

  • Peter Wiggen

Along Came Jones!

Dammit dammit dammit, now that song is in my head. Curse you all!

Err…“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” was Elmo & Patsy.

But for Ray’s stuff, I like everything that’s been mentioned and “Ahab the Arab”.

Damn, I’m trying to remember the name of the one where the couple stumble into the snake handling cult…“Take it man, don’t you believe?” " ‘I believe all right, I believe I’ll leave!’ " And that’s when I felt the Spirit hit my feet."

Mm-hmm–as mentioned in my OP! :slight_smile: I never liked the song, which is why I laughed so much when he lampooned it in “Dudley Do-right.”

Now a couple more of my faves:

“Bridget the Midget.” My family and I performed this at talent shows by lip-synching to the song. The first time we did it, it was definitely low-budget–we wrapped sheets that had little girl dresses pinned to them around us as we performed as Bridget and Strawberry and the Shortcakes. It was done at a church youth camp–and the minister laughed so loudly that we could hardly hear the music! Later, since there were several encore performances at other church functions, the props were improved (a wood frame with cloth attached had child’s dresses pinned to it with holes cut in the cloth at the sleeve and neck area and pantyhose stuffed and inserted into little girl shoes pinned under the skirts. All the actors had to do was thrust arms and heads through the openings in the cloth and voila! we were midgets!). The best part? My dad–mustache and all–played the part of Bridget!

“The Coin Machine Song.” Who could fail to relate to a song that laments the existence of “coin machines, those nickels and dimers, those ‘out-of-orders’ and work-one-timers, those penny-pinching, quarter-grubbing monsters,” where you could “pay a quarter for a nickel comb, get a throw-away razor or a shot of cologne, or a quick shoe shine that even polishes your socks?”

The Coasters sang “Along Came Jones”

Yes. So did Ray. I’ve only ever heard a live (or faux live) version.