Archive for the ‘Last of the Breed’ Category

Last of the Breed

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard — that just would have been easy business. And, put in terms of copyright and back catalog, it would have been a follow-through on “Pancho and Lefty” the hit record they made together almost 25 years ago. But to triangulate them with Ray Price, as the new record “Last of the Breed” does, is to structure a summit meeting on honky-tonk singing.

Photographs by Michael Falco for The New York Times

The three singers are connected by lots of small  items  like the fact that Mr. Nelson used to be Mr. Price’s bass player — but also in one big way. They are all magnetized toward the sound of Bob Will’s Texas swing. Mr. Haggard, for his part, seems drawn to the kind of front man Wills was: a sporadic fiddle player, spontaneous organizer of arrangements and agent of the unpredictable. Mr. Price, for his part, long ago adapted Will’s twin-fiddle breaks, folding them into nearly all his honky-tonk hits of the 1950s and ’60s. As for Mr. Nelson, a Texan, a country singer and an improviser, Wills is part of his light and air.

“Last of the Breed” came out last week on Lost Highway Records. The inevitable short and gentlemanly tour that followed — Mr. Price is 81, Mr. Haggard 69, Mr. Nelson 73 — would naturally be the live version of the record. Right? There are 22 songs on the album, from the repertory of their favorite ’40s and ’50s country songwriters. Wouldn’t it be enough to take that and round it off with some extras? Sure. But what happened at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday was infinitely better.

The beginning of the show was Mr. Price’s, and he played a half-hour set with his backup band, the Cherokee Cowboys. In a gray suit and red tie and moving with slow grace, he sang in his latter-day vocal style over his early-days music. The music was ironbound, honky-tonk shuffles with a steel guitar and twin fiddles; that vocal style was a crisp baritone that never bent notes, ennobling every phrase of “Crazy Arms” or “I Won’t Mention It Again” or “The Other Woman (in My Life),” making the deadbeats and emotional anarchists in the songs like stand-up guys.

After a pause Mr. Haggard appeared, with the Western-swing band Asleep at the Wheel as his backup. He looked itchy and inscrutable. He picked up his fiddle, and things got deep very quickly. He ordered up “Take Me Back to Tulsa,” singing in his relaxed, froggy voice, picking the order of soloists, and the band heated up in the out-chorus. They played an old public-domain blues, still warming up the fingers. Then began about 45 minutes of music that represented the best of what you can get, on the best of nights, from experienced, ornery types.

Song after song, with endless differences in the shadings and rhythms of his vocal phrasing, and with modest, clear-minded guitar solos, Mr. Haggard made copyright a dead issue. He used his restlessness to melt down his hits, to undo them and turn them back into process and possibility. He worked within the changing spaces of a flexible band; he sang the first verse of “Sing Me Back Home” by himself. He smuggled the line ‘Honey, don’t worry about what George Bush does into the lyrics of “That’s the Way Love Goes”; he ordered solos in “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”; he engaged Mickey Raphael, the harmonica player from Mr. Nelson’s band, who played short solos and obbligatos as if he were another guitarist.

Mr. Nelson arrived, smiley but wearing a similar inscrutability, and together the two continued the weird work that Mr. Haggard had begun.

“Pancho and Lefty” was served in a businesslike way. But then came “Ramblin’ Fever” with a slashing solo from Mr. Nelson’s heavily distressed guitar, and the demonstration of both singers’  lethal, discussion-ending baritone voices. Cleaning off the table before dessert, Freddie Powers, an excellent soft-tenor Texas singer who has worked with both Mr. Nelson and Mr. Haggard, sang “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.”

Mr. Price reappeared for a few songs from the record, including two from the great ark of Wills (“Roly Poly” and “Please Don’t Leave Me Any More Darlin’) and a rising-to-the-occasion version of “Night Life” in which he and the band slowly surged to a thundering final chorus. This was a more orderly part of the show: elegant, old school, moving.

The evening finally turned into the hero-worship stage, with Mr. Nelson taking over. You probably know the coordinates: amiable-vagabond music (“Whiskey River? and “On the Road Again”) and a funny new song called “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore.”  It was all better than good. But that delicate, tenebrous, alchemical middle section of the concert: that was something else, something unknowable.

Last of the Breed

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

last2 http://www.image-entertainment.com

In 2007 that Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price recorded their Last of the Breed album, of western swing, country classics and some of the best country music ever written — most of it by them.     The artists took their show on the road and toured in support of the album in March of that year.

There were no 14-year-olds on that tour, but those guys toured like they were teenagers promoting their first album, blazing a trail across the country performing 15-shows in 17 days.  I got to see their show a couple times here in Colorado, and I was blown away.  These talented musicans were at the top of their game  and were having so much fun performing together. And the music!  They were joined by friend and fellow musical genius Freddy Powers, and sang their award-winning hits to sold-out halls everwhere.   We all left those shows knowing we’d just experienced something very special.

The Last of the Breed album was released before the tour, a double-album,  and a DVD quickly followed.  Now, on March 3, 2009, Image Entertainment will  release a live cd, recorded from their concerts.  This is good news, because it is going to get wider distribution, and will also be available, for the first time, through i-tunes for download.

They are the Last of the Breed — the elder statesmen of classic country music who have inspired artists for decades. No one else sings country music with the passion and purity of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price. In March 2007, these living legends and Country Music Hall of Famers united on stage for a once-in-a-lifetime concert event that was captured for television and recorded to give fans the ultimate concert experience. Backed by the GRAMMY Award-winning Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel and Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys, LIVE FROM THE LAST OF THE BREED TOUR presents Willie’s, Merle’s and Ray’s greatest hits that they performed on this magical evening.

TRACK LIST

  1. Miles and Miles of Texas (w/Asleep at the Wheel
  2. Make the World Go Away (Ray Price)
  3. For the Good Times (Ray Price)
  4. Take Me Back to Tulsa (Merle Haggard)
  5. Silver Wings (Merle Haggard)
  6. That’s the Way Love Goes (Merle Haggard)
  7. Okie From Miskogee (Merle Haggard)
  8. Pancho and Lefty (Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard)
  9. Always on My Mind (Willie Nelson)
  10. Mama Tried (Merle Haggard)
  11. Ramblin’ Fever (Merle Haggard)
  12. I Gotta Have My Baby Back (Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard)
  13. Night Life (Ray Price)
  14. Sing Me Back Home (Merle Haggard)
  15. Crazy (Willie Nelson, Ray Price
  16. On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)

 

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, ‘Okie From Muskogee’

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Last of the Breed”

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

In 2007 that Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price recorded their Last of the Breed album, of western swing, country classics and some of the best country music ever written — most of it by them.     The artists took their show on the road and toured in support of the album in March of that year..

TRACK LIST
1.Miles and Miles of Texas (w/Asleep at the Wheel
2.Make the World Go Away (Ray Price)
3.For the Good Times (Ray Price)
4.Take Me Back to Tulsa (Merle Haggard)
5.Silver Wings (Merle Haggard)
6.That’s the Way Love Goes (Merle Haggard)
7.Okie From Miskogee (Merle Haggard)
8.Pancho and Lefty (Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard)
9.Always on My Mind (Willie Nelson)
10.Mama Tried (Merle Haggard)
11.Ramblin’ Fever (Merle Haggard)
12.I Gotta Have My Baby Back (Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard)
13.Night Life (Ray Price)
14.Sing Me Back Home (Merle Haggard)
15.Crazy (Willie Nelson, Ray Price
16.On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)

 

Happy Birthday, Freddy Powers

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

“Today Freddy is celebrating his 81st Birthday which is the second birthday he wasn’t  suppose to see….. well thank you Jesus he is still here and ready for the party…… Just had a couple of wonderful days out there touring with Big $ Rich had a blast… first day had 7 Marines as his body guards all day and night…. next night was in New Orleans after  the show we all went over to Harrah’s and he and John Rich played Blackjack and we won big thanks to John… Shows were great and Big Kenny and John couldn’t have given Freddy a Birthday they were both so sweet and so good to my Freddy he is a happy man today and thanks you all for the wonderful Birthday wishes.”

Thanks to Cherie for sending her slide show with pictures she took at a Last of the Breed tour.

DSC_0304

Freddy Powers and Coach Royal, at Coach Royal’s birthday party at Saxon Pub two years ago.

Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, “Last of the Breed”

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

In March 2007, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price performed on-stage together for the first time in the Last of the Breed tour. No one else sings country music with the passion and purity of these elder statesmen of classic country music. Now the final epic performance of this history-making tour has been captured in high definition and 5.1 digital Surround Sound to give fans the ultimate concert experience. Backed by Asleep at the Wheel (led by Ray Benson) and Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys, this DVD delivers a feature-length master class in honky-tonk and Western swing. Purchase the DVD here: http://www.amazon.com/Willie-Nelson-Last-Breed-Concert/dp/B000S0GYMU/ref=sr_1…

Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, ‘Last of the Breed Tour’

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Last of the Breed concert at Bethel Woods (8/29/07)

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

 

Last of the Breed

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

last2
http://www.image-entertainment.com

In 2007 that Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price recorded their Last of the Breed album, of western swing, country classics and some of the best country music ever written — most of it by them.     The artists took their show on the road and toured in support of the album in March of that year.

There were no 14-year-olds on that tour, but those guys toured like they were teenagers promoting their first album, blazing a trail across the country performing 15-shows in 17 days.  I got to see their show a couple times here in Colorado, and I was blown away.  These talented musicans were at the top of their game  and were having so much fun performing together. And the music!  They were joined by friend and fellow musical genius Freddy Powers, and sang their award-winning hits to sold-out halls everwhere.   We all left those shows knowing we’d just experienced something very special.

The Last of the Breed album was released before the tour, a double-album,  and a DVD quickly followed.  Now, on March 3, 2009, Image Entertainment will  release a live cd, recorded from their concerts.  This is good news, because it is going to get wider distribution, and will also be available, for the first time, through i-tunes for download. 

They are the Last of the Breed — the elder statesmen of classic country music who have inspired artists for decades. No one else sings country music with the passion and purity of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price. In March 2007, these living legends and Country Music Hall of Famers united on stage for a once-in-a-lifetime concert event that was captured for television and recorded to give fans the ultimate concert experience. Backed by the GRAMMY Award-winning Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel and Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys, LIVE FROM THE LAST OF THE BREED TOUR presents Willie’s, Merle’s and Ray’s greatest hits that they performed on this magical evening.

TRACK LIST 

  1. Miles and Miles of Texas (w/Asleep at the Wheel
  2. Make the World Go Away (Ray Price)
  3. For the Good Times (Ray Price)
  4. Take Me Back to Tulsa (Merle Haggard)
  5. Silver Wings (Merle Haggard)
  6. That’s the Way Love Goes (Merle Haggard)
  7. Okie From Miskogee (Merle Haggard)
  8. Pancho and Lefty (Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard)
  9. Always on My Mind (Willie Nelson)
  10. Mama Tried (Merle Haggard)
  11. Ramblin’ Fever (Merle Haggard)
  12. I Gotta Have My Baby Back (Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard)
  13. Night Life (Ray Price)
  14. Sing Me Back Home (Merle Haggard)
  15. Crazy (Willie Nelson, Ray Price
  16. On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)

 

8/21/07  Smokies Stadium, Sevierville, TN
8/22/07  Cabarrus Arena, Concord, NC
8/24/07  Carolina Crossroads, Roanoke Rapids, NC
8/25/07  Big Sandy Arena, Huntington, WV
8/27/07  Turning Stone Casino, Verona, NY
8/28/07  PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
8/29/07  Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY
8/31/07  Taj Majah. Atlantic City, NJ
9/1/07  Presque Isle Forum, Presque Isle, ME
9/2/07  Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction, VT
9/4/07  Bank of America Pavillion, Boston, MA
9/6/07 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
9/7/07  York Fair, York, PA
9/8/07 Soverign Center, Reading, PA
9/9/07  Farm Aid, Randall’s Island, NY

Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, ‘The Last of the Breed’

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

In rock and roll, living past 30 used to threaten a performer’s credibility. But in country music, longevity is a point of Hence, ‘Last of the Breed’, this year’s beautifully titled album with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price. At Merriweather Post Pavillion Thursday night, the trio of legends delighted the crowd.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, ‘Pancho and Lefty’

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Spend Memorial Day Weekend with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, on Sirius/XM Radio’s “Last of the Breed Specials”

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Sirius/XM Radio is offering up a great soundtrack for your Memorial Day Weekend:

Last of the Breed” Concert Special with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price recorded and toured together as the “Last of the Breed” in 2007, and Willie’s Place will celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with exclusive SIRIUS XM concert replays from each of the three legendary artists recorded over the past year. 

These historic performances will include Willie Nelson’s recent “Country Music” album release concert with his all-star bluegrass band at the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom in New York City (two hours); Merle Haggard’s landmark set from the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, CA (one hour); and Ray Price recorded last December at the “Christmas at the Corner” concert in the “Night Life Theater” at the Willie’s Place truckstop in Carl’s Corner, TX (one hour).

On-Air Time: Saturday, May 29 – Ray Price 8 pm ET, Merle Haggard 9 pm ET, Willie Nelson 10 pm ET

Rebroadcast: Monday, May 31 – Ray Price 3 pm ET, Merle Haggard 4 pm ET, Willie Nelson 6 pm ET

For information on how to subscribe:
www.xmradio.com

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, ‘Poncho and Lefty’

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Last of The Breed

Friday, August 7th, 2009

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