Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

December 16, 2013

Ray Price, again

Filed under: Music — Janice @ 11:12 pm

Ray Price died today, officially. His son apparently jumped the gun yesterday and posted it and the news organizations of the world printed obituaries. All were retracted and then run today with the extra paragraph about the first errors in reporting his death. Mark has had some Ray Price playing around the house yesterday and today and has taught me more about the Ray Price shuffle, the sound all good drummers adore (and Mark is one of the best at playing it).

And the picture I was seeking finally appeared tonight:

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I don’t think I have any audio from that day at all. But good memories. I was wearing my hiking boots because the mud was bad. It had rained a lot that week (in July! unheard of!) and everything was muddy and hard to get to. We were set up in a tent in the backstage area, far away from the stage and the show. But from time to time when the station was going to play a couple or three songs, I would make my way through the mud and slip out into the crowd so I could get a little bit of feel of what was going on on the stage so I could talk about it on the radio. I mean, that’s why I was there, right? I did that a couple of times early in the day, but then, at one point, when I came back to the backstage gate I had been in and out of several times, they would NOT let me back in. Backstage pass or not, I was out of luck. I had to hoof it hard and heavy to another gate and get in that way. I know I barely made it back that time and was huffing and puffing on the microphone. Of course, it made for a good story that I could use on the air.

I’m glad I interviewed Ray Price that day. I don’t remember having any other phenomenal interviews. Since Willie’s show doesn’t happen until midnight at a picnic, I never had him on the air. Yes, he was around. I am sure he was playing with each act, like he does, but I didn’t have him on for some reason or another. I won’t name names, but I mostly interviewed minor players, except for Ray. Lots of acts were delayed because of the traffic trying to get to the picnic. I was fortunate that I had gone out early that morning. I think Toby Keith was one artist that had his bus stuck in the backup for hours and his set time had to change.

But, back to Ray Price. I hope more recognition comes to him now. Yes, it would have been nicer if he had had more of it during his lifetime. At least he had a full career that lasted his entire long life and so many others either didn’t have the long life (Hank) or their career dropped off dramatically before their long life ended (Faron Young). Lefty Frizzell seems to have gotten more respect after he died than before (or maybe that’s just me), but I hope there is even more love coming Ray Price’s way now.

Michael Corcoran, a terrific Austin music writer, wrote a piece about Ray Price this week called “For the Good Times…My Ass.” It is well worth reading to learn more about the man and to see a much better photo of Ray Price taken by my husband, Mark Hays.

I just got off on a tangent of watching YouTube videos of Ray Price and found his induction into the Hall of Fame. It gives you some of the reasons Ray Price was so important in country music. Interesting to see Lyle Lovett on the front row of the CMAs, too. I wish the Hall of Fame inductees still received this kind of recognition each year, but they do not, sadly. Bobby Bare barely got to stand and tip his hat last month. But that is another tangent. This other video of Ray Price is not a great one… just one from someone’s phone at Gruene Hall 7 months ago. But it shows how beautiful his voice was right up until the end. And how he was still putting on a great show.

 

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