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Ray Price


 
During his long and distinguished career, Ray Price has accomplished the remarkable feat of re-inventing hard-core honky-tonk and also gaining success with lushly arranged love ballads aimed at the country-and-pop crossover market. Whether clad in rhinestone suits or tuxedos, he has maintained an independence characteristic of great innovators in all artistic fields.
Dubbed the ‘King of Western Swing,’ Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys were considered the finest western swing band of all time and on September 25, 1961 Ray went into the famed Bradley Barn Studios in Nashville for an epic full-day session that produced the 1962-released SAN ANTONIO ROSE tribute album.
He had a crack band of Nashville session players, including members of his Cherokee Cowboys band—Willie Nelson (guitar), Jimmy Day (pedal steel), Stephan Bess (drums)—plus Grady Martin (guitar), Tommy Jackson (fiddle), ‘Pig’ Robbins (piano), and Pete Wade (guitar). They took such Bob Wills’ classics as A Maiden’s Prayer, Time Changes Everything and Hang Your Head In Shame and adapted them to Ray Price’s highly distinctive shuffle arrangements.
He followed this album with what many consider to be his country masterpiece, 1963’s NIGHTLIFE, which was very much a late-night barroom concept driven by Willie Nelson’s title song.
He remains an under-recognised bridge between the generations of country stars. Though best remembered as a big-voiced balladeer utilising lush orchestra arrangements, he was also a champion of western swing and dance-hall flavoured honky-tonk. On this set you have the perfect examples of this presented in a package of a pair of ground-breaking albums that have long been overlooked and unavailable for years.
 
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