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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, and Johnny Bush, began with Ray Price and the
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
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
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
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
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.
From Ray Price's Official Website.