Ray Price Biography
Review The Artist (43)
"His timeless music, incredible voice, and innovative genius have yet to be equalled by any other singer in today's country-music world."
Ray Price is one of American music's truly great stars. He was inducted into Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, but has long shown his genius in other genres as well. After more than a half-century in the business, Ray can still belt out a song with the best of them, whether it's honky-tonk, country, pop, blues, jazz, or anything in between. With his May 2000 Buddha Records release--"Prisoner of Love"--Ray has delightfully proven this once again with a big-band-backed medley in many moods and styles.
Audiences full of cheering fans still flock to his concerts whenever he's in town, and that's fairly often, for this vigorous Texan maintains a hefty tour schedule. On Inauguration Eve 2001, Ray was proud to be on stage in Washington, D.C., as one of the Texas performers who entertained enormous crowds at the Texas Black Tie and Boots Ball.
This dynamic artist can be proud also of his role in the history of country music. In fact, he has helped to write that history as well as live it. He was born Noble Ray Price on January 12, 1926, near Perryville, Texas, and his musical talents became evident at an early age. While in college, Ray became a regular on KRLD radio's "Big D Jamboree" show in Dallas.
On March 15, 1951, Ray signed with prestigious Columbia Records, and in 1952, moved to Nashville where his great friend and supporter was the legendary Hank Williams. Hank got Ray on the Grand Ole Opry and the two shared bachelor quarters during the last year of Hank's brief but memorable life.
Ray's band was initially formed from the remnants of Hank Williams' band, the Drifting Cowboys. The band would later become the Cherokee Cowboys, and Ray himself would become known as the Cherokee Cowboy. Ray has always had an uncanny talent for recognizing quality in both music and musicians. The careers of many country music superstars, such as Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck, Darrell McCall, Buddy Emmons, and Johnny Bush, began with Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys.
Ray Price became noted for his magnificent show-stopping voice and honky-tonk hits throughout the 1950's. On the way to the top, he also helped revolutionize more than a few changes in country music. In 1956, when rock and roll was threatening to drown out the sounds of traditional country music, it took Ray's rendition of "Crazy Arms" to knock Elvis off the charts. That recording's 45 weeks at the top of the charts got people listening to country music again and clearly established Ray Price as a leader in the field.
But Ray has never been so traditional that he didn't innovate. During the "Crazy Arms" recording session, he added drums and a 4-4 bass and shuffle rhythm that redefined the way country music was played for years to come.
Then, just when everyone else in country was turning to that sound, Ray, in 1967, went in a new direction and added a large string section and with his concert-calibre voice soared into a beautiful, show-stopping rendition of the classic, "Danny Boy."
Audiences were stunned by its beauty. His "Danny Boy" album made him new fans in sections of the country far beyond the Mason- Dixon line. But some in Nashville and the South thought he had deserted country music and didn't take it well.
Unperturbed, Ray went on to new heights with his early 1970's hits, "For the Good Times," and "I Won't Mention it Again." He refused to accept boundaries between country and pop. Music was music.
A lot of Ray's strong feeling about artificial boundaries in music goes back to his close association with his mentor and close friend, Hank Williams. Ray resented the fact that Hank's songs were eagerly accepted by the pop world but the country singer himself was not. At least in that day and age. A few year later he would have been, according to Ray. But not then.
Erasing the lines between country and pop became a vital issue for Ray Price. With his own brand of individualism, he continues to cross musical boundaries and create songs and sounds for everyone. His latest album, "Prisoner of Love," was recorded with a 50-piece orchestra. It combines old country standards with beautiful ballads from all eras, and includes a few new songs never before recorded.
This Country Music Hall of Fame legend is the soul of country music. He continues to be creative and expand conventional boundaries with his music, while never forgetting his roots. His timeless music and incredible commitment to performing has made him a bridge between the early days of country to today's contemporary country music.
The Los Angeles Times has declared Ray Price to be 'a national treasure.' Another newspaper has compared him to Frank Sinatra. Ask any Ray Price fan, however, if that's true. Most of them will tell you that Ray Price has no equal anywhere when it comes to delivering a song and pleasing an audience.
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"Jane" is so far off base! | Reviewer: Grammie X 7 | 2/5/14
Below is the review that Jane published - just so you don't have to go looking for it like I had to do. My comments to Jane: If you "knew" Willie, Johnny & June, Tammy, George Jones, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams, Sr., then you should have known or at least heard about Ray Price. He was a great country singer when I was a little girl and the venues he sang in weren't back street beer joints. He even had his own place at one time in Branson. When my Daddy hung with Ray in the late 50s, early 60s, Willie would be around (Ray & Willie were and are best friends and Willie played in Ray's band - that's how Willie got his start), Tammy Wynette, my Daddy's favorite, George Jones, and on and on. So Ray IS well known and loved by so many stars and fans. You must have been having a pretty rough day to be so venomous in your comments. If you didn't know Ray (how unfortunate for you) then you should have kept your comments to yourself - seeing as how yours was the ONLY negative comment on this site.
Do not know him | Reviewer: Jane | 7/11/13
How can Ray be any part of making great American Music when must people didn't even know who he was until he had his temper tantrum. He wanted people to know him to say he was someone. I grew up in that era I knew the greats Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrel, Johnny & June Cash, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Dottie West, Pasty Cline, Buck Owens & I could go on but in all these names of Legends many millions of people posted who is Ray Price. I guess 21,600 people do & that is about it. I had to look up & read about him, what he sang & I still did not recognize who he was or the songs. So to pretend he is a legend & has made a big impact as the other real legends listed above is not true. Even the Grand Ole Opry doesn't recognize him in that way. So I guess if he thought having a fit would get him the sympathy vote or what I'm not sure but no he is not a legend especially when you use another artist to get fame to your name that is as petty & low class you can get.
me and ray | Reviewer: ed mason | 1/31/14
i met ray quite a few times when he would appear in or around ohio.he was always a gentelman and like to talk about his music he will be missed by everyone but more so by me.he was my inspiration for playing drums and still is to this day.he may be gone but his music will live forever
The Best of the Best! | Reviewer: Emma Tester | 1/5/14
To 'reword' a title of one of his songs- Ray Price is the best thing to ever happen to Country Music. No other artist has ever come close, or ever will.
I have listened to his music since my early teens and I am now 57.
respose to Jane | Reviewer: Michael Phillips | 1/5/14
I simply cannot fathom the level of ignorance displayed by this Jane character...I would be ashamed of myself if I had no more class than you...It is one thing to be ignorant and it's another thing to apply your ignorance....Do us all a favor and take a hike
priceless | Reviewer: Diane Cole | 12/29/13
As I grew up my momma and my daddy brought country music in our home everyday. Mr. Price was very much a part of it. I would sing along with him and feel so much happiness inside from the sound of his voice. Even though I was young, I had an old soul and Mr Price fed it.
Mr Ray Price was an icon of country music and I have raised my children up listening to his music along with the other great country music talents .
Im so grateful that our lord gave my era the opportunity to have been a part
Of this wonderful and beautiful voice that echoed through out my life.
May god bless all of his family and ease their sorrowful hearts.
"Best Thing that ever happened to Country Music" | Reviewer: Scott from CA | 12/21/13
My thoughts and prayers to the family. I grew up listening to Ray through
my Dad who just recently passed away @ 87. To the very end despite 10 yrs of Alzheimer's, he would still light up when we would play him old Elvis or Ray
I can't imagine Mr Price could possibly know how many people's lives his
wonderful music has touched and will continue to touch.
Rest in Peace, Cherokee Cowboy.
To Janie Price | Reviewer: Brian S. Gordon | 12/17/13
Iam sorry to here Ray has passed away I lived on your ranch when I was 10 to 12 years old 1975 to 1977 it was one of the best parts of my childhood my little sister is named after you and Ray . her name is Janie Rayshell Kramer .Im not sure if you remember me my sister or my brothers butt I have always remembered you and Ray . I remember Ray was always really nice to us and we loved him so .I remember meeting you one summer and thinking you were the most beautifull woman I had ever seen, inside and out. I will always remember you were very kind to us and I will never forget you or him, and will cherish my memory of you to and my time on the ranch for all the days of my life . Sincerely Brian Gordon LEWISVILLE TEXAS
the countrys best | Reviewer: foy lowe | 12/17/13
ray was my friend for 47 years' saw him for the first 1966 when he came on stage he owned it. his album touch my heart. saw him in Durant okla. in may of 2013 and he still had the finest voice and still owned the stage.will miss seeing him down here but we will reunite in heaven.
signing in heaven | Reviewer: roy baker | 12/12/13
I just saw today 12/12/13 that Mr. PRICE is at home resting , his loss will be heaven's gain, saw him in 1970's when for the good times was another hit! he and his 10 piece band was at nick's nic-a-bob in milw. always have remembered that great experience! God truly gave us a treasure in Ray!!
i came away with a hole iot more resepect for raym | Reviewer: charles box nacogdoches tx | 12/11/13
on his 80th birthday my wife & i went 25 miles to lufkin tx to see him . he couldn't stand & sing he sat execpt for 2 or3 at the end he painfulfulley stood & said you'll deserve better. my regret is after the showi didn't go & say hello & HOW I INJOYED IT but i did get to sing happy birthday to him that was good!
Banker - Dallas, Texas | Reviewer: ED BLALACK | 12/16/13
I met Ray and Janie Price thru Ben Barnes I was President and CEO of a bank in Dallas, TX that Ben purchased and Ben wanted Ray and Janie to invest in the bank.
Later I met Ray while he was performing for a bank convention in El paso, Texas.(1981) Ray and Janie soon became very good customers of the bank. I have attended several of Ray's concerts and dinner theater performances and I will really miss him. Thanks to Janie too, I will miss both of you.
Ed Blalack Arlington,TX
Another response to Jane's review | Reviewer: Don | 12/11/13
You're exactly right Ralph. Did you notice that Jane's review is the only negative one on the site? Ray Price needs no Sympathy vote to make him a legend. Sounds to me like Jane is the one who is petty and low class. Anyone who claims to be a country fan and would dare say such a thing about Ray is not very bright!
Another responce to Jane | Reviewer: George Kelly | 12/12/13
To Jane- 7/11/13. If you are referring to Ray getting mad for what Blake Shelton said about old country artists and fans, then you have no idea how many people feel the same way. Blake couldn't tie Ray's shoe strings.
Rebutal | Reviewer: Ralph | 11/27/13
To Jane who wrote the review on 7/11/13, If you grew up in the era that you claim, and knew who all of those other artists where and didn't know who Ray Price is, you either have a bad case of memory loss or you are not very schooled in true country music. Ray Price is the best country singer that ever lived!
My best gig ever. | Reviewer: billy cross | 11/6/13
i played drums behind mr. price when i was 12 yrs. old @ Andrews airforce base in va. it was the greastest experiance of my life. i would like some info on ray if possible from someone. thanks... B>C>
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