In the early fifties Ray Price was one of a handful of country bred pioneers who determinedly dragged hardcore honky-tonk, with its working class tales of bar-room violence, broken hearts, and hard times, into the cultural mainstream. Along with George Jones and Hank Williams he used sophisticated arrangements and crack instrumentalists to reawaken the mainstream to the pathos and artistry inherent in hillbilly music. But if early, rough hewn ‘50s hits like “Heartache by the Numbers” and “My Feet Keep Walking Back to You” helped to make Ray Price a star few fans of his early work could have anticipated the dramatic, and trend setting changes that Price would undergo in the following decade, when polished, string laden hits like “Nightlife” and “I’m Still Not Over You” would define the uptown sophistication of the burgeoning countrypolitan genre. It’s extraordinarily difficult to encapsulate a career as stylistically diverse and influential as Price’s in a single compilation, but the forty track Essential Ray Price serves as a fine introduction to one of the greatest vocal stylists of the twentieth century. Anyone with even a passing interest in country music ought to be familiar with Price and his work.
If You're Ever Lonely Darling
Weary Blues (From Waiting)
Talk to Your Heart
I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)
You Done Me Wrong
I've Got a New Heartache
My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You (Single Version)