Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ray Price

Did I get this from Pyramid? Probably, though I don’t remember exactly. I haven’t written about Pyramid yet, I keep threatening to, but I guess I have to be in the right mood, and maybe have a better recollection than “maybe I bought it there and maybe I didn’t.”

This is called Ray Price's Greatest Hits, released in 1961, followed by For The Good Times, which I don’t remember where I got, but Ray Price's Greatest Hits Volume 2 would be nice here, but I don’t have it.

Ray Price:

Crazy Arms – Anthropomorphic limbs, why not. This sounded old fashioned even back at the end of 1956, when this was a hit. Ah, his romantic dysfunction has thrown our hero into a paroxysm of despair. Well his true love is marrying another. What do you expect. Chuck Berry covered this, interestingly. It was number 1 on the country chart.
You Done Me Wrong – I like this, it isn’t “it didn’t work out,” it isn’t “you weren’t fulfilling my needs,” it isn’t even “I’m sad without you,” it’s “you done me wrong.” Way to call a spade a spade, even if it’s a totally distorted spade.
City Lights – Go drown your sorrows, an old story. How different is the “gay and bright” world from what’s inside my heart. A hit in the fall of 1962. And another number 1 on the country chart.
Invitation To The Blues – From the fall of 1958.
I’ve Got A New Heartache – This was a country hit during 1956. We think we are over it, but we are not over it.
Who’ll Be The First – Yet another song of heartbreak. Either this guy had a miserable life, or he picked songwriters who had miserable lives…
Heartaches By The Number – Even more heartache. This was a hit for Guy Mitchell in 1959.
The Same Old Me – A song about the inability to move on, after a relationship malfunction. Number 1 on the country chart in 1959.
Release Me – This song was actually the B side of I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me) and it reached number 6 on the country chart in 1954. The song was written, apparently, by Eddie Miller, Robert Yount, and Dub Williams in 1943, it was recorded by Miller in 1953, but after Price did it it took on a life of its own, with versions by Kitty Wells, Esther Phillips, Charlie McCoy, The Bonzo Dog Band, Elvis Presley, and Engelbert Humperdinck. It’s a song about a dead relationship, but one in which the partners won’t quit. One wonders what’s keeping the narrator from just bolting. Price (and Wells and most others) sang “to live together is a sin,” and Engelbert changed it to “to waste our lives would be a sin.” I guess by 1967 it was okay to live together.
One More Time – I guess this is from 1960. This one’s a bit different. This isn’t a song about heartbreak, it’s a song about addiction. Think of Devil Woman by Marty Robbins, where he confessed his affair, was trying to rebuild his marriage, but couldn’t keep away from the girl. Here there’s no cheating, just a dysfunctional relationship.
My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You – First he had crazy arms, arms with a mind of their own so to speak. Here it’s his shoes. Well it’s his arms and eyes too. And his lips. From the fall of 1957.
I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me) – It’s not the Bobby Darin song, nor the Jackson Five song. A song of love and dedication. A country hit in 1954.
For The Good Times – A song about the end of a relationship. This is by Kris Kristofferson and it’s a bit contrived. Relationships don’t end in one shot like this. The feelings, though, are real. This was a hit towards the end of 1970, and if this is any indication, the edge had gone from his music, though this is nice enough.

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