Wednesday, April 18, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ray Price

Artist:Ray Price
Song:For The Good Times
Album:16 Biggest Hits

Ray Price started out in the 50s as a standard honky tonk singer. In the 60s he moved to what was known as Countrypolitan. Today we would call it country pop. He had his biggest success and his only pop crossover hit with this 1970 cover of Kris Kristofferson's For The Good Times. He was born Jan. 12, 1926 in Perryville, TX and grew up in Dallas. After serving in the Marines during WWII, Price studied veterinary medicine at North Texas Agricultural College and performed in clubs at night. This led to a job on the Dallas radio show The Big D Jamboree. He moved to Nashville in 1951 and signed with Columbia where he would remain for over two decades. He also became friends with Hank Williams and filled in for him when Williams missed shows. After Williams died, Price took over his band The Drifting Cowboys. He had a couple of country hits but found that he sounded too much like Williams. So he formed his own band The Cherokee Cowboys. Among those who went through the band were Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck and Willie Nelson. Price had his first number one country music hit with Crazy Arms in 1956. This established him as a star. He had several more number one hits and had a total of 23 top ten hits from 1956-66. When Price started fading, he decided to move in a more pop direction that at the time was called Countrypolitan. Strings were added to the arrangements and Price sang more like a crooner than that 50s honky tonk singer. At first country fans didn't like it. But they came around and For The Good Times topped the Country Singles chart in 1970. It also reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won a Grammy and two ACM Awards. Price had three more number one country hits but faded by the mid-70s and left Columbia in 1974. This budget comp is a good intro to his Columbia years. Price signed with the Christian label Myrrh but left despite having two top ten country hits. He went to ABC/Dot but the MCA's 1978 purchase of ABC forced a move to Monument and then the fledgling label Dimension. He had some success with the 1981 album San Antonio Rose recorded with Willie Nelson. He also recorded briefly for Warner Bros. and Clint Eastwood's label Viva. In the 90s, Price turned to performing at his theater in Branson, MO. Ray Price's most recent CD was Last Of The Breed for Lost Highway Records in 2007. He was named to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1996 and I assume he still performs. I don't see any evidence of retirement. Here's Ray Price performing For The Good Times on Hee Haw 1972.

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