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For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price

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Album Review

Willie Nelson joined Ray Price's Cherokee Cowboys in 1961, the first step in a lifelong friendship between the two men. From that point on, the pair never fell out of touch. At the height of his superstardom in 1980, Nelson cut a duet album with Price called San Antonio Rose, the first of three joint efforts they'd cut over the years. Whenever the pair got together, they'd sing the old songs, Western swing standards and honky tonk classics from the '50s and '60s — the songs that form the core of For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, a salute Willie delivered three years after Price's 2013 death. Supported by producer Fred Foster and arranger Bergen White — a duo who also were friends with Price and completed his final album, Beauty Is — Nelson doesn't make any attempt to freshen up these songs, which is the album's charm. Nelson salutes every phase of Ray's career, reviving the lush Nashville strings of Price's early-'70s hits in addition to the dry, dusty Texas two-steps and Ray Price shuffles. All of these sounds are considered traditional from the vantage of 2016 and, in effect, For the Good Times extends the tradition, not through reinvention but rather adherence. Nelson has been singing these songs all of his life, recording them several times a decade, but instead of seeming recycled, For the Good Times underscores how the song may remain the same but the singer does not. Nelson is showing his age — his voice is leathery and tattered, much thinner than it was just ten years ago — and yet that's part of the point of the album. Willie sang these songs with Ray and now that Price is gone, Nelson sings them a little differently, his love and melancholy accentuating his weathered voice. It makes for an affectionate and bittersweet album, one that is a fitting tribute to a lifelong friend.

Customer Reviews

Hey, It's Willie

Willie covering Ray Price. Well, by God there is country music still out there. The first release 'Heartaches by the Number' is excellent. Granted it will be too traditional for some, but this is what country music needs. Ray Price was a major influence on Nelson. (A very young Willie played bass in Price's band.) Willie has in turn influenced a great untold number of current artists, Jamey Johnson comes to mind. So a big tip of the hat to Nelson.

Willie is Still the Best

I love the new music as much as the old stuff. I have no idea how he does it.

For The Good Times

Love Willies music, he can play and sing any kind of music. Ray Price was the best.

Biography

Born: April 29, 1933 in Abbott, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a songwriter and a performer, Willie Nelson played a vital role in post-rock & roll country music. Although he didn't become a star until the mid-'70s, Nelson spent the '60s writing songs that became hits for stars like Ray Price ("Night Life"), Patsy Cline ("Crazy"), Faron Young ("Hello Walls"), and Billy Walker ("Funny How Time Slips Away") as well as releasing a series of records on Liberty and RCA that earned him a small but devoted cult following. During the early '70s, Willie aligned himself...
Full Bio