Ray Price

Night Life

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    10
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AllMusic Review by

Depending upon which lens of the historical perspective you view this through, this 12-song collection is the last gasp of true honky tonk, the first stab at mainstreaming it into the Nashville sound of the 1960s, or country music's first concept album. In 1962, Ray Price was at the peak of his form as a honky tonker of major repute. His regular touring band, the Cherokee Cowboys, were the finest of their kind and Price's voice was an instrument of wonder, full of reflection with every lyrical reading. As a traveling musician, Price knew well of the "night life" depicted in Willie Nelson's title track, a life spent on the road full of hotels, bar rooms, one-night stands, heartache, and regrets. This album, full of well-written songs paying homage to that sinful life and its road to nowhere, evokes the sound, feel, and ambience of classic honky tonk music like few others do. As the decade wore on, Price would go on to major superstardom as a mellow balladeer, working with full string sections, reaching audiences that never heard this music or the other honky tonk classics that preceded it. More's the pity, for this album just may be Price's defining moment as an artist.

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