My Kind of Country

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

Retro Album Reviews: New and old music from some veteran artists in 2007

last of the breedBack in the days writing for the 9513 Blog, I would post occasional reviews on Amazon. We are republishing updated versions of some of those reviews here.

LAST OF THE BREED – HAGGARD, NELSON & PRICE

This may be the Holy Grail of classic country recordings. Three legendary figures in Ray Price, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, singing twenty-two selections containing some of the greatest country songs ever written, although not necessarily the biggest hits of Willie, Ray or Merle (except a cover of Ray’s “Heartaches by the Number”). On eleven (11) of the tracks all three artists appear. Ray and Merle each have a solo (Ray’s with Vince Gill assisting), and the rest feature two of the three (with Kris Kristofferson assisting on “Why Me”). The backing band consists of top current session men and some legends who played in the bands of the legends such as Buddy Emmons and Johnny Gimble. Plus the legendary Jordanaires can be heard on several tracks.

Ray Price has had the lowest profile of the three over the last ten or so years, but even at 81 years of age, he is one of the most effective singers on the planet. It is no knock on either Willie or Merle to say that neither is in Ray Price’s league as a pure singer – no one else is either. Maybe this CD will sell well enough to introduce a new generation to the music of Ray Price. If so, it will have done everyone a big favor.

To summarize: Buy It.

Grade: A+

THE RAY STEVENS BOX SET

Good recordings of classic Ray Stevens material but quite a few remakes that lack the sparkle of the originals. In a nutshell, if it was originally issued on Curb or Clyde, it’s probably the original recording but if it was issued on Mercury, Barnaby, Monument, MCA or RCA then it’s likely a remake.

If you haven’t heard these recordings before, or its been a long time since you’ve heard them, beware – you may bust a gut laughing.

Even with the remakes, it’s well worth purchasing.

Grade: B+

16 BIGGEST HITS – JIMMY DICKENS

While it could have been better, this collection gives a balanced look at Jimmy’s career. Best known for his diminutive size and novelty tunes, Jimmy was a superior ballad singer as tunes such as “My Heart’s Bouquet”, “Just When I Needed You”, “Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go)”, “We Could” and “Violet And A Rose” amply demonstrate. Yes, the novelties are here as well as a few of the jump tunes, but it’s the ballads that will enhance your appreciation of Little Jimmy Dickens. I would like to see a more encompassing collection, including more of his hillbilly boogie and his recordings on MCA /Decca, but until that happens this is a fine collection.

Grade: A-

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4 responses to “Retro Album Reviews: New and old music from some veteran artists in 2007

  1. Luckyoldsun September 21, 2016 at 2:36 am

    I once saw Willie being interviewed by Larry King on his old CNN show–Willie discussed his early career and mentioned working for Ray Price. Larry King asked him who Ray Price was, professing not to have heard of him.Willie told said that Price was one of the greatest singer/ recording artists of all-time.
    I’ve wondered if it’s possible that King had really never heard of Price or if he was just playing dumb, for some reason or other. I’d have figured that Price was prominent enough in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s–and had crossed over enough–that a career radio guy like King would have at least had a passing familiarity with him. But I guess Price was not as prominent in the mainstream as Eddy Arnold, who I think any American from that era would have known of. Arnold appeared with some regularity on national TV shows like the Tonight Show–he might have even hosted it as a guest host–and Bob Hope specials. Price, must have had less exposure.

    • Paul W Dennis September 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Unfortunately Lucky is correct this time. Whereas I saw Eddy Arnold all over the television set during the 60’s, hosting Kraft Music Hall Specials, appearing on various network variety shows (he even made some appearances on shows like HOOTENANNY), Ray’s appearances were much more limited, usually things like syndicated country music shows. “For The Good TImes” gave Ray a brief flurry in the early 1970s but nothing like the exposure Eddy received during the 1960s. Remember, Eddy was elected to the CMHOF one year and then received Entertainer of The Year honors the next year ! Ray was never as celebrated by the media

      • luckyoldsun September 22, 2016 at 1:29 am

        I’ll admit that I had never heard of Price when I was growing up in the ’70s, but I knew Eddy from TV. I guess I associate them because they both did “Make The World Go Away.”

        • Ken September 23, 2016 at 8:45 am

          Perhaps Ray Price’s name just didn’t click with Larry King on that particular interview. Sometimes King’s show was spot on and other nights he seemed to phone it in so it’s hard to say. He does have a long history with country music and has interviewed dozens of country acts over the years so it’s hard to believe that Ray Price’s name would not at least be on his radar. I met Larry and his wife Shawn about ten years ago when she was attempting to launch a country music career. He seemed quite familiar with the genre at that time but that may have been due to his wife. King was recently was in Nashville to do interviews for his digital TV show.

          http://tntribune.com/lifestyle/entertainment/holding-court-king-larry-king/

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