The Mississippi Squirrel Revival ~ Ray Stevens

ray-stevensRay Stevens is an American country music and pop singer-songwriter who has become known for his novelty songs as well as more serious works. He was born in Clarkdale, a small town west of Atlanta.

Stevens’ music seems to be mostly influenced by traditional country-and-western and gospel music, but in his earlier material, heavy influences from R&B groups can be heard. He has done a few satire songs using other styles such as “I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow;” “Ned Nostril,” and “Surfin’ USSR.” Many of his novelty songs include long sections of dialog between two people, both played by Stevens, such as in “The Streak,” or between him and an unheard character over the telephone, such as in “Shriner’s Convention” or “It’s Me Again, Margaret.” Unlike some novelty artists, such as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Stevens has had some successful serious songs, such as “Mr. Businessman,” “Everything Is Beautiful,” “Turn Your Radio On,” and “Misty.”

The Mississippi Squirrel Revival

“Mississippi Squirrel Revival” is the only Top 40 single from this album, reaching No. 20 on Hot Country Singles (now Hot Country Songs) in early 1985. Stevens uses comic storytelling to frame what occurs when a young adolescent boy catches a squirrel (while visiting his grandmother in Pascagoula, Mississippi), brings it into church, where several self-righteous members – all with sinful secrets to hide – are prominent members … and the squirrel breaks loose from a box the boy has kept it in. As the squirrel wreaks havoc, several members admit to their fellow congregation members their faults, and by song’s end they all make a vow to change.

Well, when I was a kid I’d take a trip every summer down the Mississippi
To visit my granny in her antebellum world
I’d run barefooted all day long climbin’ trees free as a song
And one day I happened to catch myself a squirrel
Well, I stuffed him down in an old shoe box, punched a couple of holes in the top
And when Sunday came I snuck him into Church
I was sittin’ way back in the very last pew showin’ him to my good buddy Hugh
When that squirrel got loose and went totally berserk
Well, what happened next is hard to tell
Some thought it was heaven others thought it was hell
But the fact that something was among us was plain to see
As the choir sang “I Surrender All” the squirrel ran up Harv Newlan’s coveralls
Harv leaped to his feet and said, “Somethin’s got a hold on me”, Yeow!

The day the squirrel went berserk
In the First Self-Righteous Church
In the sleepy little town of Pascagoula
It was a fight for survival that broke out in revival
They were jumpin’ pews and shoutin’ Hallelujah!

Well, Harv hit the aisles dancin’ and screamin’
Some thought he had religion others thought he had a demon
And Harv thought he had a weed eater loose in his Fruit-Of-The-Looms
He fell to his knees to plead and beg and the squirrel ran out of his britches leg
Unobserved to the other side of the room
All the way down to the amen pew where sat Sister Bertha better-than-you
Who’d been watchin’ all the commotion with sadistic glee
But you should’ve seen the look in her eyes
When that squirrel jumped her garters and crossed her thighs
She jumped to her feet and said “Lord have mercy on me”
As the squirrel made laps inside her dress
She began to cry and then to confess to sins that would make a sailor blush with shame
She told of gossip and church dissension but the thing that got the most attention
Was when she talked about her love life and then she started naming names

The day the squirrel went berserk
In the First Self-Righteous Church
In that sleepy little town of Pascagoula
It was a fight for survival that broke out in revival
They were jumpin’ pews and shoutin’ Hallelujah!

Well seven deacons and the pastor got saved,
Twenty-five thousand dollars was raised and fifty volunteered
For missions in the Congo on the spot
Even without an invitation there were at least five hundred rededications
And we all got baptized whether we needed it or not
Now you’ve heard the bible story I guess
How he parted the waters for Moses to pass
Oh the miracles God has wrought in this old world
But the one I’ll remember ’til my dyin’ day
Is how he put that Church back on the narrow way
With a half crazed Mississippi squirrel

The day the squirrel went berserk
In the First Self-Righteous Church
In the sleepy little town of Pascagoula
It was a fight for survival that broke out in revival
They was jumpin’ pews and shoutin’ Hallelujah!

Play 
  • Audio from the 1984 album, He Thinks He’s Ray Stevens:

he-thinks-hes-ray-stevens
Purchase Music

Views: (4196)

About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

10 thoughts on “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival ~ Ray Stevens

  1. You are missing one of the greatest musical treats of your life if you don’t follow this great mans life and the music he has given us. He truely is worth listening to, he is one of our greatest, there is no one to compare him to!

    1. To my dieing day I shall thank Ray Stevens for warping my sense of humor. Ray you saved me from a fate worse than death ” an opera singer”.

Got a comment?