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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Collection of 50's Honky Tonk
Don't buy this collection if you're looking for "For the Good Times" and the other "Nashville Sound" productions Ray Price put out in the late sixties and early seventies. However, if you like hard-core honky tonk out of the 1950's, this is a must. The collection takes you from Ray's earliest work (in which he sounds remarkably like Hank Williams)...
Published on April 15, 1999 by Jerald E. Mills

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE ESSENTIAL RAY PRICE
I was looking for a cd with all of his great songs spanning the decades of his career. This compilation begins with his early days when he sounds exactly like Hank Williams. I was looking for his trademark sound, the 4,4 shuffle beat. There are more early hits ( when he sounds like Hank ) then when he came into his own. This is still a good cd for any fan but, now I...
Published on April 10, 2007


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Collection of 50's Honky Tonk, April 15, 1999
Don't buy this collection if you're looking for "For the Good Times" and the other "Nashville Sound" productions Ray Price put out in the late sixties and early seventies. However, if you like hard-core honky tonk out of the 1950's, this is a must. The collection takes you from Ray's earliest work (in which he sounds remarkably like Hank Williams) to the string of hits he had after quickly developing his own unique brand. His voice was clear, the arrangments and harmonies oustanding, and the songwriting top-knotch, coming from the likes of Mel Tillis, Roger Miller, Harlan Howard, Lefty Frizzel, Bob Wills, and Bill Anderson. Fear not, these are not re-records but the originals of "Heartaches by the Number", "Please Release Me", "Crazy Arms", "City Lights", and many others. Outstanding!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will consume you!, March 1, 2002
By A Customer
The first half of this album reminds me of more classic honky-tonk, Hank Williams-ish voice and musical vibe. It's good, notably "I'll Be There" and "Release Me". To my taste, though, from "Wasted Words" on to the end of the record there isn't a bad note on this album; this is chronologically later material, with a more evolved sound, stellar pedal steel guitar playing (some, if not all of which is probably the great Buddy Emmons), Ray's voice is fantastic, the cuts are beautifully put together, not overdone, and it'll have you screaming, singing, and crying. This is music for whoopin' it up, or for bourbon and heartbreak. One of my desert-island discs, truly. Night Life, also Ray Price, is another absolutely fantastic record.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars serious honky tonk, March 15, 2002
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if you want a disk that defines honky tonk after hank williams, this is a great place to start. every tune is outstanding. i guess ray price in these years is about as good as it gets. the steel doesn't just whine, it bleeds. and the fiddles cut in just the way they ought to. then there's ray's really superior voice, and then there are those HARMONIES. the best.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's the 6th Star?, January 3, 2007
By 
D. Pitts (Blanco, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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Yeah, I'd give this one 6 stars if I could. Ray Price invented the honky tonk sound, and this album clearly documents the development in wonderful progression. Tracks 1-5 are development, 6 through 20 are the best old, hard edge, wintage Texas honky tonk ever recorded. This takes me back to small Texas bars, my fake ID, and Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys singing for hours after the bar normally closed, everyone drunk and loving it. The album wisely ends before Ray went weird, singing such pop junk as "Danny Boy" and "For The good Times", and traveling with a frikkin orchestra. This is Ray in that short window of greatness, the true heart of the Texas honky tonk.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Country From Top to Bottom, December 1, 2004
As a youngster growing up in Tennessee with all sorts of music around me, country, soul, blues, etc., I was not particularly a fan of country music. It always seemed that Ray Price songs all started with the same guy(s) on fiddle from the top and went into the song from there. I guess a formula works as one worked for the 1930s Inkspots in a different genre of music. Once into the song though, as done by Mr. Price, it grabbed you and for me made me feel involved in what he was singing about. He made me understand. Songs like "City Lights", "Heartaches By The Number" and "Crazy Arms" (all recorded by other artists as well) are classic country and can easily translate from honky tonk to the man's later efforts in a lounge singer style which predicted and preceded Charlie Rich's success-at-last in the "countrypolitan" style. I heartily recommend this package of solid country music. I still wonder why it took the Country Music Hall of Fame until 1996 to induct this man with the rich voice that pleased decades of fans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW--great honky tonk!, October 2, 2006
This is easily one of the greatest honky tonk CDs available. Why we can't we hear this fanatastic music today? If you want twangy, moaning honky tonk, this is it. This IS country music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A legend, January 10, 2006
By 
Jess "Jess" (Coal Country, PA) - See all my reviews
How can you ever attempt a collection of only 20 songs from such a legend as Ray Price???? Well, this CD does just that, and although there will always be other songs that maybe should've been included, it is impossible to argue with the selection of hits included here. This is classic Ray Price; the days of Ray and the Cherokee Cowboys....not the later, tired-old Nashville Sound Ray of the early-'70's. Absolute, true, honky tonk music with songs written by none other than Don Gibson and Mel Tillis, sang by one of the most recognizable voices of Country Music. While I obviously feel that the Bear Family collection is the Gold Standard for early Ray Price, this collection by Columbia will provide a good start. Original Recordings here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ray Price is all Country!, August 16, 2013
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Really enjoying the pure country sounds of this singing classic, Ray Price. So happy with it and hearing this clear country music
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last of a Breed, Indeed!, May 2, 2012
By 
Infrequent Reviewer "Infrequent Reviewer" (Santa Maria, California United States) - See all my reviews
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If you like classic country music, the way it was intended to be played and heard, well, here's Ray Price at his best. Plenty of twin fiddles and steel guitar from the Cherokee Cowboys, Ray Price's long time back up band which once included the likes of Willie Nelson and Roger Miller among others. This is twangy country with most of the songs recorded in the 1950's. "The Road of No Return" "Talk to Your Heart" and "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You" are songs that probably haven't been played on a country music radio station, perhaps even the Classic Country satellite stations, for years. For a true country classic fan, they're just great. More familiar tunes like "I'll Be There" "I've Got a New Heartache" and "Heart Over Mind" (a song I associate more with Mel Tillis, who also took a turn with the Cherokee Cowboys) are included with Ray Price standards like "Crazy Arms" (which introduced the 'Ray Price Beat' which transformed honky tonk country music at the time), "Release Me" (which Ray Price usually reminds audiences that he recorded way before Humperdink did) and the song that I tend to associate Ray Price the most with, the classic Harlan Howard tune, "Heartaches by the Number" -- when you listen to the twin fiddles and then the steel guitar come in on "Release Me" and "Heartaches by the Number", to me, country music just doesn't get better than that and probably never will. Another song on this CD is one of Roger Miller's first successes as a songwriter, "Invitation to the Blues" -- which he wrote while a member of Price's Cherokee Cowboys.

This CD isn't for everyone. If folks don't like twangy country music and the sound of twin fiddles/steel guitar, they won't care when you put on this CD. But I think good music is good music and to me, it doesn't get better with Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys singing real country music in their prime. If that's your taste in music, this CD will not disappoint. (And I just have to mention, that this CD plus the DVD "Last of the Breed" which features an 80-year old Ray Price still in good form -- illustrates why many think Ray Price (who was once Hank Williams' roommate) is significantly under-rated and should be right near the top of any listing of all time country greats).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Honky Tonk 101, February 12, 2013
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This disc is , in fact, essential listening to any fan of traditional Country music. Ray began his career as a protege and imitator of Hank Williams, Sr. the early cuts on this disc show this style well. In the mid 50's, Ray flexed his stylistic muscles and, along with his band, developed a sound that became known as "the Ray Price Shuffle". Starting with Crazy Arms, these shuffles make up the latter half of our disc. The driving, dancable 4/4 style with pedal steel and twin fiddles was highly imitated by most of country music at the time, and is still loved by tradtionalists like Justin Trevino today. For a more extensive dose of Ray, I recommend the Bear Family set "The Honky Tonk Years", although it is 10 discs and carries a hefty price tag. For the uninitiated, The Essential Ray Price is the best way to experience a great artist in his prime.
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