Personnel: Ray Price (guitar); Tommy Williams Jr. (guitar, fiddle); Harold Bradley (guitar, electric bass, bass guitar); Clay Allen, Lefty Perkins, Art Bishop, Darrell McCall, Wilson "Lefty" Perkins, Van Howard, Art Bishop, Ray Edenton, Roger Miller , Velma Smith, Willie Nelson, Tommy Williams , Buddy Griffin (guitar); Jack Evins, Eddie Martin , Jack Evins, Eddie Martin (steel guitar); Jim Belkin, Georgia Slim Rutland, Robert "Georgia Slim" Rutland, Jimmy Belkin (fiddle); E.A. "Highpockets" Busse (accordion); Bob Moore & His Orchestra, Bob Moore (acoustic bass); Chris Ethridge, Floyd T. Lightnin' Chance, Red Kidwell, Don Poole, Howard Watts, Bee Spears, Buddy Killen, Bob Keller (bass guitar); Bob Preston, Will Ackerman, Willie Ackerman (drums); Van Howard (background vocals); Samuel K. "Sammy" Pruett (guitar, electric guitar); Pete Wade (guitar, fiddle); Donny "Johnny Paycheck" Lytle, Spider Wilson, Grady Martin, Hank Cochran, Jerry Kennedy, Jody Payne, Leon Rhodes, Rusty Gabbard, Ray Sanders (guitar); Chet Atkins (electric guitar); Don Helms, George McCoy, Jimmy Day, Paul Blunt, Pete Drake, Walter Haynes, Buddy Emmons (steel guitar); Marvin Montgomery (mandolin); Carroll Hubard, Dale Potter, Jerry Rivers, Johnny Gimble, Shorty Lavender, Tommy Jackson, Cecil Brower, Buddy Spicher (fiddle); Fred Burkhalter, Floyd Cramer, Leon Russell, Marvin Hughes, Bill Pursell, Hargus "Pig" Robbins (piano); Blondie Calderon (keyboards, vibraphone); Farrell Morris (vibraphone, percussion); Joe Zinkan (acoustic bass); Douglas Kirkham, Steve Bess, Jan Kurtis, Paul English, Farris Coursey, Buddy Harman (drums); Crystal Gayle (background vocals); Hi 'Highpockets' Busse.
Additional personnel: Willie Nelson (vocals).
Liner Note Author: Rich Kienzle.
Recording information: Dallas, TX (01/??/1950-11/01/1970); Nashville, TN (01/??/1950-11/01/1970).
This double-CD best-of displays the Texas singer Ray Price at his early best. By the mid-1960s, Price had radically altered his approach, adopting a countrypolitan ballad style of singing, and leaving behind his honky-tonk roots, including his nasal, Hank Williams-influenced vocal style. However, THE ESSENTIAL RAY PRICE presents the country legend in his exciting honky-tonk years, making the music that would later be embraced so widely by country music's 1980s New Traditionalists. Backed by Hank Williams's Drifting Cowboys, Price excels on classics such as "The Road of No Return," "Heartaches By the Number," and "Talk to Your Heart." Though Williams's influence is evident throughout, cuts such as "The Same Old Me" show the beginnings of Price's unique, innovative style.