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Lecture 4

MUS 365 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Buddy Killen, Ralph Mooney, Johnny Paycheck

Course Code
MUS 365
Benjamin Ordaz

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Real Life
Part 11
Lovin’ & Cheatin’
o Classic Honky Tonk
Ray Price
Ray Price and his band, the Cherokee Cowboys, were remarkably
influential in establishing the highly-electrified sound of Honky
Tonk as the norm for the generation of Hard Country performers
that followed
Born near Perrysville, Texas in 1926, Ray Noble Price found his
way into a Dallas recording studio in 1950 after serving in the
Marines and time in college studying to be a veterinarian
He eventually began to tour with Hank Williams, joined the Grand
Ole Opry in 1952, and even had Hank’s Drifting Cowboys band
back him in performances
After several minor hits, Price recorded “Crazy Arms” in March of
1956 in Nashville
It was a Ralph Mooney and Charles Seals song that voiced Honky
Tonk preoccupations of jilted lovers seeking comfort with
someone new
Others probably would have set the song with a standard Honky
Tonk treatment
Price, though, updated and intensified the sound in a way that
seemed to reflect even more closely contemporary
From the opening fiddle salvo by Tommy Jackson, the pedal steel
work by Pete Wade, the duple meter walking electric bass line of
Buddy Killen, to the harmony singing of the chorus (first time in a
Honky Tonk recording), these all became standard Honky Tonk
and Hard Country gestures
“Crazy Arms” was a number one hit for Price in 1956 for 45 weeks
He would continue to record hits like “My Shoes Keep Walking
Back To You,” “City Lights,” and “The Same Old Me” while
establishing a distinctive four-beat shuffle voiced by the highly-
electric sound of his band
Price also had a good eye for talent and many future stars played
in his band over the years, including Willie Nelson, Roger Miller,
and Johnny Paycheck
Ray Price’s distinctive Honky Tonk shuffle beat and the geared-up
electric sound of his band were landmark influences on Honky
Tonk and Hard Country
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