In this week's show, we're parting with tradition and featuring a compilation album from Columbia Records, "Ray Price's Greatest Hits" (1961). Encompassing the bigger hits of Price's 50s and very early 60s output, this truly is a no-duds release - documenting a style of country music that Ray Price pioneered and one which proved a massive shot in the arm for the industry at the time. Apparently formulated mid-song while The Cherokee Cowboys were playing a dance, when Ray Price added a walking bassline to a 4/4 beat, hard country music - suffering in the face of a rock 'n' roll onslaught - was handed a lifeline. That Ray Price shuffle, as it later became known, permeates every aspect of this period of his career. With Jimmy Day on steel and Tommy Jackson on fiddle making up the backbone of most of his music at this point, the honky tonk years of The Cherokee Cowboy represented by this album are the playbook by which all would-be country singers should start, in this reviewer's opinion. Price's voice is one of the finest that ever was, let alone in country, and we could easily have featured every track in this week's show. Having said that, particular standouts include "Who'll Be The First" (1960), with triple fiddles on the session (!); Roger Miller's "Invitation To The Blues" (1958) with Miller playing guitar on his own composition; and dancehall favourite "One More Time" (1960) from the pen of Mel Tillis. I tried not gush about this album. But I failed.
Ray Price - Greatest Hits