Archive for the ‘Last of the Breed’ Category

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

img789

Live From Last of the Breed Tour (with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price)

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

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

Way back before Willie and the Wheel, well, not that long ago, really, it was 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)

You can pre-order it at amazon:
  http://www.amazon.com/Live-Last-Breed-Willie-Nelson/dp/B001NY43JQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1235116883&sr=8-1

last

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price: Last of the Breed (8/29/07)

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

 

Merle Haggard Recovers

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
http://www.bakersfield.com
by Shellie Branco

At the insistence of his family and personal physician, Merle Haggard had a cancerous growth removed from his lung Monday at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. Friends and associates of the country music icon said the surgery was a success and he is in stable condition.

The 71-year-old country star and Oildale native had a malignant tumor, apparently the same growth that was discovered in May, according to sources who wished to remain anonymous.

Haggard told The Californian while on tour in August that he didn’t plan to treat the growth, which was discovered May 5. He said he doesn’t trust hospitals but, all along, family members wanted him to seek treatment.

“Of course, everyone wanted me at the Mayo Clinic, someone wanted me in Santa Barbara (to) do this and that,” he told The Californian in August. “And they said, ‘Oh, my God,’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna do anything.’”

At the time, he said it wasn’t cancerous and it hadn’t changed two months after the discovery, but that doctors didn’t know what it was.

The singer, to whom fans gave a warm welcome in February at the dedication of Merle Haggard Drive in Oildale and a hometown concert, was admitted to the hospital last week.

Haggard’s family has been by his side at the hospital and the singer is in good spirits, according to sources.

Local performer and longtime Haggard fan Monty Byrom said the news broke his heart. He even joked his father, a singer and guitarist himself, was the spitting image of Haggard until recently, when Dad eclipsed the star in the looks department.

“Whether he lives or not, if he can never sing again, we’ve probably just lost the greatest singer of our time,” said the Big House front man. “The difference between Merle and everyone else is he could sing everything: big band, blues, jazz. He was the consummate singer’s singer. I’ve never heard a purer voice.”

Byrom wanted to tell Haggard to “hang in there” and thank him for the inspiration.

“People think he’s just this redneck ‘Okie From Muskogee,’ ‘The Fightin’ Side of Me,’ but he’s more like Willie (Nelson),” he said. “He’s much more of a common man. He’s not this redneck everyone thinks of.”

A Half-Century of HonkyTonk (Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard)

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008


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 résumé 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 Wills’s Texas swing. Mr. Haggard, for his part, seems drawn to the kind of frontman Wills was: a sporadic fiddle player, spontaneous organizer of arrangements and agent of the unpredictable. Mr. Price, for his part, long ago adapted Wills’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.

The Willie Nelson Doll on the Road again (in Texas)

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Thanks to Cherie for sending this picture of Willie Doll, somewhere in Texas.

Happy Birthday, Willie Nelson, from Merle Haggard

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

by Merle Haggard, as told to Jason Hardison
Texas Music, Spring 2008

So we’re gonna do Willie’s 75th birthday again, are we?  [laughs].  I don’t really know how old Willie is, but 75 would put him four-years older than me, so that’s about right.

Congratulations, Willie — you’ve outlived your dick!

Seriously, though, I’d like to ask Willie to tell me what it’s like, because he’s beat the devil up over the back fence.  I’m glad he’s made it, and I hope I make it, too.  He’s my hero.  He’s always been right there beside me, joined at the hip in a way.  We’ve both been through a lot of the same things together; our mothers even hailed from the same part of Arkansas and probably came over on the same ship from Ireland.

I first met Willie in a poker game in Nashville in 1964.  That started a long history of him and I playing poker together, both in cards and our careers.  Nearly 45 years later, and we’re still playing together.  i enjoy playing Texas Hold ‘Em with Willie.  Don’t underestimate him, I’ll tell you that.

At the time, I had just released my first record and was looking to meet whoever I could to promote it.  I knew that Willie was a writer and I knew he was playing in a side band for other players.  Well, that’s what I did then, too.  Both of us loved to play lead guitar and sing, and we loved to write songs.  So we wound up on the road together entertaining the same people over the years.  But Willie and I knew each other a long time before we ever actually got onstage together.  Just about the time that he left Tennessee, started letting his hair grow long and became Willie, my career was in full gear.  So I hired Willie and his band for $800 a day to open my show going up to New England where they had never heard of Willie.  He went up tehre and just tore their ass up.  I think he picked up my whole audience and attached it to his own.  And we’ve been doing each other that way ever since.

Willie and I both made the same choice a long time ago that we weren’t going to be afraid to bound over a few barbed wire fences to do what the hell we wanted with our lives.  But I’ve learned a lot from Willie.  When I came along, Nashville represented the ugly head of the music industry and the home of screwing young musicians out of what they had written.  Willie was a step or two ahead of me in the game.  He might not know it, but I went to school on his life.  He saved me the mistake of going down there and losing my first songs and getting caught in the shuffle.

Of course we’ve had a lot of fun together, too.  There was a time when Willie and I regularly worked at the Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe and Renol  We were seen a lot together then because of ‘Pancho and Lefty,” which was the period we were going through at the time.  So we made a life-size dummy of Willie with his pigtails and a hat and some glasses.  A lot of times I’d be playing in town with my band, and we would put that dummy in our car to let people see it going up and down the street, and everybody would swear that Willie was in town, too.  Other times, we’d bring the dummy backstage and lay it on a massage table that had black sheets on it, and if you put the light just right, it looked like was levitating.  One night we had this girl who brought us sandwiches before the show, and she wanted to know if she could meet Willie.  We said, “Well, he’s meditating right now, and you dont’ want to bother him.  When he meditates, sometimes he levitates.  So she kinda grins out of the corner of her mouth, and we said, ‘No, we’re serious!  Peek around the corner if you don’t believe us, but don’t disturb him”.  So she leaned around the corner to see Willie levitating in a deep state of mediation.  [laughs] We never did get caught.

Those are just the kind of things we did when we were young.  We’re older men now, sailing along here on our reputations and fortunate that we can still go up onstage and create something close to what we’ve done all our lives.  I think it’s a miracle that WIllie at 75 is able to put on the hot energy show that he does.  I mean, it takes more energy to sing that it does to run. But I think that winds up being what’s keeping you alive.  If we quit doing what we’re doing, we’d be dead in five months.  When you quit squirming, man, it’s over.

Willie and I, we’re part of the same circus.  It’s been, and still is, quite a party.  Willie says, “We’re the last of the breeders.”  [laughs]  I do think we’re both better looking that we used to be because goddam we were ugly!  But we have spent two wonderful lives traveling around the world at other people’s expense.  We were given an opportunity to soak up everything we can, and we have.  I’ve lived ruing the greatest period of time in history.  I’ve know Elvis.  I’ve know the Rat Pack.  And I have known Willie Nelson.  What else can a person hope for?

Last of the Breed on Rolling Stone’s ‘Top 50 of 2007’ List

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Rolling Stone has, rightfully, included Last of the Breed on their Top 50 Albums of 2007 list.

www.rollingstone.com

#33  Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Last of the Breed (Lost Highway)

The antique glow of this collaboration — which opens with the three singers swapping lines at a vintage Bob Wills gait in “My Life’s Been a Pleasure” — is etched with the grizzly candor of old country-music soldiers who know the road behind them is longer than the stretch ahead. The harmonies are weathered, sometimes wandering, and there is an old-photo-album lyricism to the Floyd Tillman, Cindy Walker and Lefty Frizzell songs on these two CDs. But Nelson, Haggard and Price revisit them with confidence and an affection for the truths and memories they still hold. This is country music with none of the modern trimmings — no Kiss-style power chords or SUV-cowboy flash. But it is big and rich in every other way.

Willie Nelson, Last of the Breed, Bethel, NY (8/29/07)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Last of the Breed Sing Roly Poly

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

[youtube:http://youtube.com/watch?v=v38Drv1bK60]

This is the Last of the Breed Tour in Milwaukee, with Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel playing ‘Roly Poly.’  Thanks to Kevin who took the video of the concert and put it on youtube for us all to enjoy! 

And I must thank Brady, from www.the9513.com/ for tweaking my blog so I can post youtube recordings, with the picture, so you can just play them, unlike before where all I could do was post the link.  Brady is so knowledgeable, and so nice, and so is twin brother Brody. They have been so helpful.  I had lost all my links on the side of my site, and they found them, somehow.  I invite you to check out their music blog at www.the9513.com  and see for yourselves how smart they are, and how much they know about music.  And you’ll have to take if from me about how nice they are, I guess.