I have been under the weather for a few days and under Doctors care and about
4:45 Central time his wife Janie called Bill Mack and he made an OFFICIAL
statement the Ray Price had indeed passed away.
Ray price has gone to Hillbilly Heaven with more honor and dignity
than A THOUSAND of today’s “country stars”.
He LOVED his fans and his genre that he contributed so much to.
The “Cherokee Cowboy” did so much and took so little from Country Music.
I’ll share with you what I know of him.
He was born January 12th 1926 in Perryville Texas, and served for a few years
with the U.S. Marines.
He began singing for radio stations in Texas and roomed with Hiram ‘Hank”
Williams for a few years and when Hank passed away Ray price managed
the Drifitng Cowboys..his remaining band.
Acording to my studies he was the first artist to have commercial success with
the song Release Me, although it was made more famous by Englebert Humperdink.
In 1953, Price formed his band, the Cherokee Cowboys. Among its members during the late 1950s and early 1960s were; Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Darrell McCall, Van Howard, Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Bush, Buddy Emmons, Pete Wade, Jan Kurtis, Shorty Lavender and Buddy Spicher. Miller wrote one of Ray Price’s classics in 1958, “Invitation to the Blues”, and sang harmony on the recording. Additionally, Nelson composed the Ray Price song “Night Life”. And many of his former Cherokee Cowboys went on to become famous Texas Troubadors for Ernest Tubb.
Price became one of the leaders of tonk music, with hit songs such as “Talk To Your Heart” (1952) and “Release Me”. He later developed the famous “Ray Price Shuffle,” a 4/4 arrangement of honky tonk music with a walking bassline, which can be heard on “Crazy Arms” (1956) and many of his other recordings from the late 1950s.
In the 1960’s he dabbled in the “Nashville Sound” while many of his peers
started the ‘Outlaw Movement”. Ray Price began singing more slow
ballads that was named “Crooning” along with Eddy Arnold and Slim Whitman.
In 1970 he charted his first number one “For The Good Times” which was
penned by Kris Kristofferson.
He charted three more number ones and many top tens. Even though his style
changed through that 30 year span.
In the 80’s 90’s and even into 2000 he was one of the oldest active
performers in country music playing an amazing amount of
shows throughout the world and as of 2005 he was STILL selling out
In 2007 Lost Highway Records released “Last Of The Breed” and he ventured
out on the road with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Asleep At The Wheel.
And it was met with extreme critic acclaim and some historians regarded
it as “The Finest Moment in Country Music History” in the last 20 years.
In late November of 2012 he announced he had Pancreatic Cancer and
declined the option to have it removed. it went into remission early
this past year and it returned in May.
We lost Ray Price today at around 1:00
a final message to his fans. “I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years and I hope I haven’t let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I’m going to be just fine. Don’t worry about me. I’ll see you again one day.”