Ray Price dies at 87
Monday, December 16, 2013
– Ray Price, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died Monday afternoon at 87 of pancreatic cancer.
Price, dubbed the Cherokee Cowboy, was best known for songs including For the Good Times and Crazy Arms.
Radio DJ Bill Mack reported his friend's death on Facebook. He said, "Janie just called me: Ray Price left for heaven at 4:43 p.m. central time. He went in perfect peace. Details later. Janie and the family so grateful for your prayers. Ray's body will be received at Restland Funeral Home in Dallas." Janie is Price's widow and manager.
Price was born in Perryville, Texas on Jan. 12, 1926. He served with the U.S. Marines from 1944-1946, and began singing for KRBC in Abilene, Texas in 1948. He joined the Big D Jamboree in Dallas the following year.
He moved to Nashville in the early 1950s, rooming for a short time with Hank Williams. Price first hit the charts in May 1952 with Talk to Your Heart, which reached number three on the Billboard charts. In 1953, Price formed his band, the Cherokee Cowboys. Members included Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Darrell McCall, Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Bush, Buddy Emmons and Buddy Spicher.
Price became one of the key figures of 1950s honky tonk music. He enjoyed hits with Talk To Your Heart (1952) and Release Me (1954). He had a big hit with Crazy Arms in 1956. The song remained first on the Billboard charts for 20 weeks.
During the 1960s, Price went for the Nashville Sound, which was considered more commercial and lush with strings, quite different from the honky tonk sounds. Country traditionalists were not pleased with Price's change of sound.
Price continued touring and recording for much of the rest of his life. Price won Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association and Grammy Awards including Album and Single of the Year for For the Good Times in 1970 from the ACM.
Price continued charting the top 20 until 1982 when Old Friends with Roger Miller and Willie Nelson hit 19. Among his number ones in the 1970s were She's Got to Be a Saint and You're he Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. Price charted with 109 songs. His final one wasLove Me Down to Size in 1989. Price's last CD release was "Last of the Breed" with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, which came out in 2007. The three launched a nationwide tour.
In November 2012, Price confirmed he was battling pancreatic cancer.
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CD reviews for Ray Price
Fans of Ray Price's classics hardcore honky-tonk recordings of the '50s' and '60s have been hoping for one last return to form for quite a few years now - decades, actually - from the man who more or less created the style. And in spite of Price's legendary stubbornness, that return has finally come. Backed by a group of Nashville A-team studio vets, Price has finally abandoned the orchestra this time out for a long-overdue collection of shuffles, western swing and ballads like few other can deliver. »»»
Prisoner of Love
In spite of some fans' hopes that Ray Price would turn in one last great honky-tonk album, Price continues to mine the heavily orchestrated blend of country and pop that has dominated his career since 1967's "Danny Boy." In fact, the opening lines of the re-recording of Harlan Howard's terrific "Better Class of Losers" (which opens the album) could well be interpreted by some as a pointed message from Price to fans of his groundbreaking honky-tonk recordings of the '50's and '60's:
"I said I'm »»»
These 11 songs, originally released by Columbia in 1963, are some of Price's finest, and the lushest honky tonk you'll ever hear. Although he'd been making great country through the '50's, Price clearly loved the sultry moods of jazz - his tone and phrasing sharing much with Sinatra and Bennett - and his post 60's work veered in that direction, often ending in disasters complete with 20-piece orchestras. Price knew he was taking chances.
On this record's intro he says of the Nelson-penned "Night »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
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