My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Classic Rewind: RIP Ralph Mooney

Ralph Mooney, who died on Sunday, was one of the most distinctive steel guitar players ever in country music. His work for Wynn Stewart, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard helped to form the Bakersfield Sound, and his later years backing Waylon Jennings helped to keep the Outlaws rooted in country tradition. He wrote the classic ‘Crazy Arms’, and just last year Marty Stuart showcased Mooney’s playing on an instrumental version of the song on his aclaimed Ghost Train.

For a nice tribute to him, read this. For a musical tribute, listen to this song from independent artist Shane Worley.

Here he is backing up Waylon on a cover of Haggard’s classic ‘The Bottle Let Me Down’:

3 responses to “Classic Rewind: RIP Ralph Mooney

  1. CountryMusicFan March 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Great video to display his talents. I also think it is great that you recognized him. That is one reasons I read this blog. It’s a shame steel guitars are not featured in songs as much anymore. Now it is more popular to use an electric guitar in its place. On a side note, I always thought that Willie Nelson had written “Crazy Arms”. Guess I had just assumed that since he had recorded it in his early years.

  2. Razor X March 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I hadn’t heard of his passing. I’m really sorry to hear it.

  3. Ken Johnson March 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    So sad to lose another of modern country music’s pioneer talents. The Ralph Mooney style of steel guitar playing was one of the reasons that I was first attracted to country music in my youth. What a clean, crisp, amazing sound! Those early Buck Owens & Merle Haggard records received endless spins on my Voice Of Music portable stereo phonograph. Today I have been revisiting the Ralph Mooney catalog including his wonderful 1968 Capitol instrumental duet album with James Burton “Corn Pickin’ And Slick Slidin'”

    I was never a big fan of country music’s outlaw movement – too much rock and not enough country for my tastes. When I saw Waylon in concert circa 1978 Ralph Mooney helped to save the show for me with his hot country licks. I recall that “The Bottle Let Me Down” was on the setlist that night.

    The fact that Moon has not already been inducted to the Country Music Hall Of Fame is most unfortunate. He was a true innovator whose sound is among the most unique in the history of country music.

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