I've just updated the Performance Venues on the site, listing all of the documented places Ray appeared, year by year, during his career. At least, these are the venues I've been able to document so far, based on newspaper and magazine ads, reviews, and articles. The material has been drawn from my research library over … Continue reading Performance Venues Page Updated
Despite a career on stage that spanned fifty years (and thirty years of recordings), Ray is probably most infamous for his 1950s "sex change" hoax. The main artifact of it today is his outrageously titled album, Let Me Tell You About My Operation and the funny title track where Ray sings, "There's been a change in … Continue reading The Story of Ray’s “Sex Change”
One of the most frustrating aspects of researching Ray’s life has been establishing some identity for his wife and son and tracking down what might have happened to them. As an icon of gay nightclubs, you might not think that Ray was married. However, Ray’s friends, and even Ray himself, said that he was bisexual, … Continue reading The Mystery of Ray’s Son and Possible Wife
I’m looking for a local tv program from 1957 and would appreciate any leads on where it might be located and some contacts. While not containing an appearance by Ray, it is significant for looking at public perceptions of gender identity and cross-dressing in Ray's home state around the time that Ray was getting arrested … Continue reading Seeking 1957 WFAA “Transvestite” TV Program
In the 1990s, when I first began researching Ray’s life and work, I got copies of most of his recordings from various collectors, mostly on cassette tape. I also dubbed all of his lp recordings to digital. These were briefly released on cd through a “print on demand” service. When that service folded, I offered … Continue reading Restoring Ray Bourbon’s Recorded Legacy: An Update
Research on Ray has been an ongoing process over the past twenty-five years, sometimes with fits and starts and often with long periods where nothing turns up. Here’s an overview of what I’m currently researching about Ray and leads I’m following this summer. If you have any ideas on places to look or resources to … Continue reading Research on Ray, Summer 2019
Ray's incomplete autobiography, written while he was in prison, along with his letters, are really the only documents we have were Ray tells his own story. Remarkably, as outlandish as many of the stories are, doing a little digging can usually confirm that what Ray said was true or had some basis in fact. I … Continue reading Ray Bourbon and a Member of the Chinese Royal Family?
One of the most curious questions about Ray Bourbon I've been trying to sort out for several years is how he became friends with Bob Hope. There are several second-hand reports that Ray knew Hope and that Hope attended shows at Ray's nightclub in Los Angeles. Ray's lawyer, in an interview about a decade after … Continue reading Ray Bourbon and Bob Hope