Hgeocities.com/Nashville/2798/ray.htmgeocities.com/Nashville/2798/ray.htm.delayedxTSJG $OKtext/htmlvm$b.HThu, 25 Dec 1997 14:26:35 GMTMozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, *SSJ$ The Unofficial Ray Price Home Page
The Unofficial

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He was born Ray Noble Price on January 12, 1926 near Perryville, Texas. In his boyhood days, Ray Price worked on his family's farm in Cherokee County. And, like most young East Texas farmboys, he grew up with a steady diet of Jimmie Rodgers and Ernest Tubb. As a teenager, he later relocated to the Dallas area. Prior to World War II he was studying veterinary medicine at North Texas Agricultural College (later to become The University of Texas at Arlington). Shortly thereafter, he joined the Marines and served in the Pacific.

Although he returned to his studies in 1946, Ray began playing music at college events and local clubs. In 1948, he made his radio debut on the Hillbilly Circus show on Abilene station KRBC. Soon "The Cherokee Cowboy" became more interested in music than medicine, landing a job on Dallas' Big D Jamboree, which was broadcast over the CBS Radio Network. Then, in 1949, Ray Price recorded his first record, Jealous Lies, with Nashville's Bullet label. In 1951 he was signed by Columbia Records. After moving to Nashville he became a friend of Hank Williams, who helped him get on the Grand Ol' Opry. His early style showed a strong influence from Hank.

Ray Price's first hit came with Talk To Your Heart, which hit Number 11 on the Billboard charts in July 1952. Later that year Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes reached Number 4, and in February 1954, I'll Be There made it to Number 2. That same year he formed a new band called "The Cherokee Cowboys" from the remnants of Hank Williams' "Drifting Cowboys," a band that included at various times in Ray's career, Buddy Emmons, Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck, and Willie Nelson. Then, in 1956, Price had his first Number One record with Crazy Arms, which was on the charts for an amazing 45 weeks. Next was the Number Three hit I've Got a Brand New Heartache.

This was also the time when Elvis arrived on the charts. A lot of country artists tried to hold their audiences by performing rockabilly music. However, Ray Price refused to compromise his style and he hit Number One again in 1958 with City Lights. A hard fiddle and steel guitar were featured on his next classics such as The Same Old Me and Heartaches by the Number in 1959, Soft Rain and Heart over Mind in 1961, and Pride in 1962. The strong revival of honky-tonk music at the beginning of the sixties was due to the fact that men like Ray Price remained firmly attached to older styles and were able to resist most of the pressures to "modernize."

Nevertheless, as a result of his versatile vocal style and his strong individualism, Ray soon began performing songs of the country-pop style, which he so vigorously rejected in the late fifties. Having recorded an album of sacred songs (the Faith album in 1960) and Make the World Go Away in 1963, which hit Number 2, Ray began to feature string sections in his music. This was upsetting to many of his hardcore country fans. He completed his crossover with Burning Memories in 1964 and Danny Boy in 1967.

Since he was a keen judge of current trends, Ray realized that country needed to appeal to a wider audience in order to forge ahead. He removed the cowboy image from his performances and started to appear onstage in a dress suit. Nevertheless, his ballads still sounded as though they came out of Texas. Some would say that, like Jim Reeves before him, Ray Price abandoned country music. However, he stayed his course and had a Number 1 country hit with For The Good Times, which also reach Number 11 on the pop chart. In 1971, he had two more crossover hits with I Won't Mention It Again, and I'd Rather Be Sorry. He continued his success with such hits as The Lonesomest Lonesome and She's Got To Be A Saint in 1972 and You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me in 1973.

In 1974, Ray left Columbia Records and joined the Myrrh label. He recorded Like Old Times Again, which hit Number 4 in 1974, and Roses and Love Songs, which hit Number 3. Next he signed with ABC/Dot records and recorded some of what some people consider to be his worst material, such as 1975's Say I Do album. His best hit of this period was his 1976 remake of Mansion On The Hill, which rose only to Number 14. Following this was his Reunited album in 1977, which included some of the original Cherokee Cowboys. There were two Top 20 hits to follow on the Monument label in 1978, but it was obvious that most fans were tiring of his current style.

However, in 1980, Ray Price's old friend and songwriter, Willie Nelson, came to the rescue. He helped assemble a band that had the old Cherokee Cowboys' style and recorded the album San Antonio Rose. This album featured the vocal talents of both Nelson and Price and hit Number 3 in Billboard's country charts. Following this successful album, Ray two more Top Ten hits with It Don't Hurt Me Half As Bad and Diamonds in the Stars for Dimension Records in 1981. In 1982, Ray appeared with Willie Nelson and Roger Miller in the song Old Friends.

Ray Price continued recording into this decade and remains as one of the best crossover artists in the world.

Ray Price Lyrics

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This website copyright 1997 Eric W. Penman. All rights reserved. Sounds and artists pictures used by permission granted in the Fair Use guidelines of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act.