Archive for the ‘Ray Price’ Category

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

Monday, May 20th, 2019

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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)
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.

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

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

 

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 sum 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 “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.

Willie Nelson and Ray Price, “San Antonio Rose”

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

I miss getting to see these two amazing artists sing this song together, when the crowd goes wild when Willie comes on stage during Ray’s set at Picnic, just as it starting to cool down at end of afternoon, and everyone gets revived after being in the Texas sun all day. Magical and refreshing.

Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Ray Price, “Old Friends”

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Willie Nelson and Ray Price, “Rose of San Antone”

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Willie Nelson’s tribute to Ray Price: “For the Good Times”

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

willieforthegoodtimes

1. “Heartaches by the Number (featuring the Time Jumpers)”
2. “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me) (featuring the Time Jumpers)”
3. “Faded Love”
4. “It Always Will Be”
5. “City Lights (featuring the Time Jumpers)”
6. “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me(featuring the Time Jumpers)”
7. “Make the World Go Away”
8. “I’m Still Not Over You”
9. “Night Life”
10. “Crazy Arms (featuring the Time Jumpers)”
11. “Invitation to the Blues (featuring the Time Jumpers)”
12. “For The Good Times”

Willie Nelson was a former member of Price’s Cherokee Cowboy and close life-long friend. Willie recorded the twelve-track album at Ocean Way Studios, where Price also recorded. Engineered by Fred Foster and Bergen White, the album features Vince Gill on six tracks.

Working closely with two longtime friends — producer Fred Foster and conductor-arranger Bergen White — Nelson recorded the album at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios.

Price, who died in 2013 at age 87, and Nelson recorded two albums of duets — San Antonio Rose (1980) and Run That by Me One More Time (2003). They also recorded Last of the Breed with Merle Haggard in 2007.

Although his 1963 recording of Nelson’s “Night Life” only reached No. 28 on Billboard’s country singles chart, it became one of Price’s signature songs.

Willie Nelson and Ray Price, “Run That By Me One More Time”

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Willie Nelson & Friends, “Heartaches by the Number”

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

What I’m listening to… Willie Nelson and Ray Price

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Willie Nelson and Ray Price

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

released:  6/24/03

Song List:

  1. San Antonio Rose
  2. I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)
  3. I Fall To Pieces
  4. Crazy Arms
  5. Release Me
  6. Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)
  7. This Cold War With You
  8. Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away
  9. Night Life
  10. Deep Water
  11. Faded Love
  12. Just Call Me Lonesome

Remembering the great Ray Price on his birthday

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

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Willie Nelson and Ray Price

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

PBS to broadcast “Last of the Breed” concert tour, with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Freddy Powers

Friday, November 25th, 2016

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WILLIE NELSON, MERLE HAGGARD, AND RAY PRICE RETURN IN ENCORE BROADCAST OF “LAST OF THE BREED” ON PBS STATIONS – Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price — the elder statesmen of classic country music who have inspired artists and thrilled fans for decades — return to PBS stations (check local listings) in an encore presentation of Last of the Breed, a once-in-a-lifetime concert event taped in March 2007 during the final performance of their sold-out “Last of the Breed” tour that played to rave reviews everywhere. Nelson, Haggard and Price (backed by Grammy® Award winning “Kings of Texas Swing” Asleep at the Wheel, led by Ray Benson, and Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys) deliver rousing performances of their greatest hits in the richest voices this side of the Rio Grande.

The new airings of Last of the Breed are a particularly special tribute to Merle Haggard, who passed away in April of this year, and Ray Price, who passed away in December 2013. Said Willie Nelson: “With my dear friends Merle and Ray gone, it’s even more special that Last of the Breed is airing again. I’m so pleased that PBS is bringing this program back, and I hope everyone gets to see what a great time we all had together on-stage.”

Among the songs performed in Last of the Breed are “Okie From Muskogee,” “Pancho and Lefty,” “For the Good Times,” “Night Life,” “Crazy,” “Mama Tried,” “Always on My Mind,” “On the Road Again” and many others. The timeless music — warm yet gritty, powerful and honest — is bound to have viewers singing along from beginning to end.

Check local PBS station listings for broadcast dates and times.

Last of the Breed is an Ambassador Entertainment Inc. production, produced by Albert Spevak, directed by Lawrence Jordan, and executive produced by Mark Rothbaum and Albert Spevak. www.ambassador.tv

The PBS broadcast of Last of the Breed includes the following songs:

“San Antonio Rose”  Ray Price
“Make the World Go Away”  Ray Price
“For the Good Times” Ray Price
“Route 66”  Asleep at the Wheel
“Take Me Back to Tulsa”  Merle Haggard
“That’s the Way Love Goes”  Merle Haggard
“Silver Wings”  Merle Haggard
“Sing Me Back Home”  Merle Haggard
“Okie From Muskogee” Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson
“Pancho and Lefty”  Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
“Ramblin’ Fever”  Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
“Night Life”  Ray Price
“Crazy”  Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price
“On the Road Again Willie Nelson
“Always on My Mind”  Willie Nelson
“Mama Tried”  Merle Haggard
“Whiskey River” Willie Nelson

  1. On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)

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.

Willie Nelson’s new album in tribute to Ray Price, “For the Good Times”

Friday, October 14th, 2016

willierayray

www.ricentral.com
by:  Dan Ferguson

Into his 80s, Willie Nelson continues to crank out the albums in rather prolific fashion. His latest is a tribute his friend and long-ago bandleader, Ray Price. It was Price who in 1960 would give the young songwriter Nelson a job playing bass in his Cherokee Cowboys band replacing Donny Young, later known as Johnny Paycheck, of all people. Whereas the stint was short-lived, their friendship would endure and it would be Nelson who would pen one of Price’s biggest hits, “Night Life.” .

willieforthegoodtimes

On his new tribute album to the late country music hall of famer Ray Price, Willie Nelson proves in part that you can go home again. Home, in this case, is one of the early stops in Nelson’s lengthy career as a member of Price’s Cherokee Cowboys band playing bass. That was 1960 and whereas the stay was brief, the two remained close friends right up until Price’s passing in 2013. With For the Good Times, Nelson pays homage to his one-time boss covering a dozen Price classics including two written by Nelson himself (“Night Life” and “I’m Still Not Over You”). Few country music artists can say they were the “architect” of a sound. Price is one of the very few thanks to the creation of that “Ray Price beat,” a 4/4 shuffle that filled many a dance floor and has endured to this day. That sound is in fine hands in both the voice of Nelson and his stellar backing from a collection of Nashville studio aces, not to mention all-star band The Time Jumpers. All together, they deliver the goods on C&W nuggets like “Heartaches by the Numbers” and “Crazy Arms.” On the flips side, there was Price the balladeer and Nelson covers that side of the equation in equally fine fashion on such classics as “Make the World Go Away” and Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times.” In all, For the Good Times is a worthy tribute to a most worthwhile artist. Visit www.legacyrecordings.com.

New Willie Nelson Album available, “For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price”

Friday, September 30th, 2016