Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ray Price Eulogy

Don't look so sad
I know it's over
But life goes on
And this old world
Will keep on turning

Let's just be glad
We had this time
To spend together
There is no need to watch the bridges
That we're burning 

Out of all the songs that Ray Price did, he has picked For The Good Times to be the one song to remember him by.  Written by Kris Kristofferson it actually went up to the number 11 chart position on the local radio station in 1970.

Ray had one of the most distinctive voices in music, not just country.  For myself, he was the king of the honky tonk or the Ray Price Shuffle as they called it as he had hit after hit in the 50s with City Lights, Heartaches By The Number and My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You.  In the 60s, Price begin to do more pop type of songs, Danny Boy has also been one of his most requested numbers although I came to find it hokey.  I had no use for his pop style of albums although For The Good Times is actually more of a farewell song than actual love song, I compare it to Gordon Lightfoot's If You Could Read My Mind in the dark side of music masquerading as a love song.  Price had a couple more crossover hits in She's Got To Be A Saint and I Won't Mention It Again.

By 1976, Price left Columbia for a stint on ABC/Dot and continued his country-pop with little chart action.  There's a couple favorites of mine, 1977's Reunited With The Cherokee Cowboys on Dot which is more of some of the finest Nashville session players that ever played (Grady Martin,  Bob Moore, Buddy Harman, Tommy Jackson to name a few) and even if the songs are done in one take, Ray can sing these in his sleep, be it his You Done Me Wrong to Bob Dylan's I'll Be Your Baby Tonight.  And of course the two duet albums with Willie Nelson, San Antonio Rose and 2003's Run That By Me One More Time.  I haven't heard the final outing with Willie and Merle Haggard, 2007's Last Of The Breed which went all the way to number 7 on the charts but even Merle Haggard was amazed on how Ray could sing those songs with one mike and plenty of vocal.

Ray was very busy the final years of his life, discovering Face Book and connecting with his fans which I was and kept in touch with the happenings.  He took exception to a comment of Blake Shelton about "old farts and jack asses" which also became a Face Book fan page as well and made a few pointed comments to the BS man.  Eventually they both got together and made up.  But by then Ray was ill with cancer and this year never toured.  In November, tired of the chemo that drained him, he retired once and for all back to his beloved Texas ranch to which he would live out the rest of his life, finally going into a coma Sunday Night to move into the promised land the next day.

There's only one Ray Price and he's gone.

I'll get along
You'll find another
And I'll be here
If you should ever find
You need me

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blow softly against my window
Make believe you love me
One more time
For the good times


TAD said...

Hey Crabby, nice piece on Ray Price -- I remember For The Good Times and Heartaches By The Number. Nice Top 10, too -- though I prefer Original Caste's version of One Tin Soldier to Coven's.
The piece on worst country songs of 2013's pretty funny too. My girlfriend approves. You've been a busy guy.
Happy Chanukkah or whatever -- and BTW, my least face Xmas songs are Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. Jingle on!

TAD said...

BTW, I meant LEAST FAVE Xmas songs, but you already knew that. "Least face" works too, I guess. Gotta love that iPad auto-correct program....

R S Crabb said...

I really haven't been in a Christmas listening mood which is why I haven't ventured out to the shopping malls. One can only take so much of Holly Jolly Christmas. In fact I haven't played any Christmas music over here yet. Just not in the mood. Bah Humbug indeed. ;)