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God's Gift of Music: Ray Price - "The Cherokee Cowboy" & The Nashville Sound

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Ray Price - For The Good Times (Live)


"Music video by Ray Price performing For The Good Times (Live)." from video introduction

Born January 12, 1926 - Died December 16, 2013 - Birthplace Perryville, Texas

"When Noble Ray Price was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, many noted that the honor was long overdue. Such feelings weren’t based so much on the longevity of his career or on the number of major hits he has recorded, for in those regards Price was no different from many other deserving artists awaiting induction.

More importantly, Price ranks among country’s great innovators. He changed the sound of country music from the late 1950s forward by developing a rhythmic brand of honky-tonk that has been hugely influential ever since. As steel guitarist Don Helms, a veteran of Hank Williams’s Drifting Cowboys once put it, “Ray Price created an era.”

Born near Perryville in East Texas, Price moved with his mother to Dallas after she and his father split up. Four years old at the time, he would spend most of his childhood moving between his mother’s house in Dallas and his father’s farm. He joined the U. S. Marines during World War II; afterward he enrolled at North Texas Agricultural College, intent on becoming a veterinarian. But while in school, he started singing at Roy’s House Cafe. He eventually made his way to Jim Beck’s recording studio in Dallas, where Beck connected him with Bullet Records. Price recorded one single for Bullet in either late 1949 or early 1950.

The Bullet record wasn’t successful, but Price began singing on various Dallas-area programs, including the Big D Jamboree. He caught the attention of Troy Martin of the Peer-Southern music publishing firm, and on Martin’s strong recommendation Price was signed to Columbia Records in March 1951. His first Columbia release was “If You’re Ever Lonely Darling,” written by Lefty Frizzell." from the biography: Ray Price

From the website:

The Ray Price Beat

How many of you remember Ray Price?

I am a boomer, born in 1956 so I grew with singers like Ray Price. He was one of my late mothers favorites. His singing was polished and distinctive, so much so it became know as "The Ray Price Beat". If you have never listened to his singing I hope you enjoy theses videos and articles. - Andy

Remembering Ray Price, Voice Of The Nashville Sound

Before there was Willie Nelson or Merle Haggard, there was Ray Price. The Country Music Hall of Famer who bridged Texas honky-tonk and country crooning has died after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 87.

Before Ray Price, honky-tonk tunes weren't big sellers. But then "Crazy Arms" shot to No. 1 in 1956. Its shuffling beat became the hallmark of the golden age of Texas honky-tonk.

Price eventually tired of playing dance hall gigs for rough crowds. He told WHYY's Fresh Air in 1999 that producers in Nashville had to come up with a way to broaden country's audience.

"They had to do something to kind of fix it where the people that listened to the Tony Bennetts and the Frank Sinatras and those people would like the song or the music," Price said. "And country music songs are great. I think they're beautiful songs. And to put the strings with them, that's my idea of how to make one really great song."

Price became part of a second shift in country music. The single honky-tonk fiddle swelled into an entire string section. The polished production — which had its detractors — would become known as the "Nashville Sound.".. from the article: Remembering Ray Price, Voice Of The Nashville Sound

Crazy Arms - Heartaches By The Number Ray Price 1998 LIVE

Video from jeriw

Crazy Arms & Heartaches By The Number medley by Ray Price, 1998

The Cherokee Cowboy

"Picture right: Ray Price took over the Drifting Cowboys of Hank Williams after his death, before forming the Cherokee Cowboys.

Photo hank williams and ray price
Hank Williams and Ray Price

Before there were reality show contests and overnight sensations in country music, artists were expected to pay dues in music before they could hit the big time. They had to prove their muster as performers, musicians, or songwriters before making it to the spotlight, and one of those proving grounds was behind an established musician, holding down a spot in their band. When it came to the band of the recently deceased Ray Price called the Cherokee Cowboys, that proving ground has a pretty remarkable list of alumni that made their way up the country music ranks with the help of Ray.." from the article: The Ray Price Cherokee Cowboys Proving Ground

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