Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Ray Price [extended]

  • San Antonio Rose [Columbia, 1980] B+
  • Super Hits [Columbia, 1997] *
  • Last of the Breed Vol. 1 & 2 [Lost Highway, 2007] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Willie Nelson & Ray Price: San Antonio Rose [Columbia, 1980]
Nelson's groove has resembled a rut since he hit paydirt with Stardust, so give a cheer--maybe he's out of it. Country standards gone vaguely Western swing (in Nashville, without horns), this is nothing startling, but the false steps and lackadaisical jams of the live doubles and the Leon Russell job are gone. Price, who tends to posture in countrypolitan settings, thrives on the relaxed atmosphere. People who don't know the originals are going to fall in love. B+

Super Hits [Columbia, 1997]
Honky tonk Iglesias ("Crazy Arms," "City Lights"). *

Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard/Ray Price: Last of the Breed Vol. 1 & 2 [Lost Highway, 2007]
There's only so much three prolific old coots can do with a double-CD of country standards, and they do most of it. Intimate with the literature, they pick winners you've never heard, and they're putting out, always a consideration with the prolific. Yet though the broad-beamed Price obviously needs two of the deftest singers left on the planet, it's his ruined echo chamber of a voice that injects a defining solemnity into the two religious songs, and everything else derives from that. Not much kidding around here--they're feeling their varying ages. But they ain't dead yet. A-