It may soon be the official anthem of the Tea Party Movement: Ray Stevens — comedian, songwriter and patriot — has rendered “We the People”, an hilarious country-western blast at Obamacare.
Ray Stevens? The same Ray Stevens who — for about four decades — has given us such wonderful wackiness as “The Streak” and “Ahab the Arab”? Yes, he’s back. And it’s great.
Over the holidays, one of the many emails I received was one with a link to a new song by Ray Stevens. “We the People” is classic Ray Stevens. I watched it and then showed it to my family, and then we took the next several hours introducing the genius of Ray Stevens to a new generation. From “Ahab, the Arab,” to “The Streak,” to “Everything is Beautiful,” Ray Stevens is a musician, a comedian and a patriot.
I was able to contact Ray and he was eager to talk about this project. Mike Sheppard, his marketing guy, says Ray got them all out of retirement to do this project. When I asked Ray about that, he said, “I didn’t know we were retired.” Ray has been working steadily since 1958 and has won every music award you can imagine. But he’s not concerned about his status; he’s worried about the future of his country.
“It’s not about health care it’s not about cap and trade…it’s about control. These people are socialists and Marxist and they want control and they want to be the elite ruling class and that’s not what America is and America needs to wake up, and I think we are, finally, and kick the bums out,” he told me.
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So Ray did what he does best. He got together with a songwriter, Max T. Burns. “We had a little talk session a couple of times. And the song is sort of an extension of the Tea Parties,” Stevens said, “then I went in the studio….and magic,” He went on to elaborate on his concerns about Obamacare. “What’s happening now with the House bill and the Senate bill, they now have to go back and recraft a combination of the two [bills] and present it to Congress to approve, as I understand it. “ He went on to say, “If I were a Congressman, I’d say at this point since you are giving me a whole new bill, then I’m going to reconsider my vote and not vote for this.”
Stevens still sounds like the Ray Stevens of “Misty” and “The Streak,” but he’s on fire. “All they want to do is get their foot in the door, and then they will worm their way in there and change everything that they want to change. It will take a little time but they will do it in the dead of night and hope that nobody will notice,” Stevens said and he’s not holding back. He went onto say, “I am sick and tired of the way Congress is being run.”
Stevens hasn’t always been politically active, but he’s always been conservative. When I asked him how this compared to something like “The Streak.” Ray said, “That was for fun, this is serious, this is serious business, there’s no call for this. It’s not about health care it’s not about cap and trade…it’s about control. These people are socialists and Marxists and they want control and they want to be the elite ruling class and that’s not what America is and America needs to wake up, and I think we are, finally, and kick the bums out…as a matter of fact that’s the name of the next song I think I’m going to try to get recorded. “Kick the bums out…” That sounds like a winner.
Ray Stevens has the same great voice and the same commitment to his music, but this isn’t about fun. He believes this is about something that’s going to change our life forever. This is about faith, family and freedom. This is not the change he can believe in.
We closed our conversation talking about another topic, changes in the music business. Ray is passionate about this. He’s passionate about protecting musicians and their music. He’s concerned that most people don’t buy music, they “steal” it. “It costs a lot of money to make a record, costs a lot of money to be in the music business. If there is no reward financially, you are going to have less and less of it being done. People with talent and brains are not going to dedicate their lives to doing something they are not going to be paid for. It’s an economic impossibility. It could be the death knell for music, not overall, but the music that is cutting edge, those people will go somewhere else.”
Sounds like a free marked entrepreneur to me. Ray was talking about music, but his analysis is exactly what will happen to the entire economy if Obamacare and Cap and Trade are passed and implemented. People with talent and brains are not doing to dedicate their lives to anything there is no reward in doing. The entrepreneurial spirit will be dead. Ray Stevens didn’t have to put himself in the cross hairs of media by taking a position, but I’m glad he did. He’s been shaking things up since before I was born. He’ll be 71 later this month and he’s still going strong. He’s doing what is in his sphere of influence and what a sphere it is.