Hello fellow steel guitarists,
It looks like we finally lost the king of steel guitar employers. Ray Price is gone everywhere except in our record collections and our memories. I don’t know of another country music singer that has employed more great steel guitarists over the years than Ray has.
In Nashville, it’s hard to find anybody that hasn’t worked for him. I’m sure this the same about Dallas also. Hard to believe I’ll never work again in that big luscious band with those beautiful Cam Mullens arrangements. I’m sure many of you that have worked for him also feel the same way.
It was his sound that I fell in love with while working for him that made me produce an instrumental album called Priceless using the same musicians and studios Ray used.
I remember when Hank Williams died. Ray Price took over and hired his band. With Jerry Rivers on fiddle, Don Helms on steel, he recorded songs like You Done Me Wrong along with several other hits. I guess it’s too much to dream that someone will come along, take over the band he has now and continue that for the next 50 years.
So much for another of country music’s greatest sounds. Goodbye Ray, there are a lot of things about you we’re going to miss. Thank you very much for your contribution to great country music.
I got an email from someone that was turned off by Curly Chalker’s personality. There are very few steel players that have identical personalities to Curly. They just don’t play well enough to pull it off.
To answer an email from Bill Cook in San Antonio, yes Curly did play with Hank Thompson several different times but never did play trumpet. Hank’s trumpet player was a gentleman named Dubert, whose last name I can’t remember but I’m sure many of you will.
It was fascinating the way some western swing bands could switch instruments and totally change the overall sound of the band. They could go from western swing with a 3 or 4 piece string section to a 4 or 5 piece brass section.
Hank Thompson was a lot like Ray Price in that he used many steel guitar players in the second half of his career. The first half of course, he used two steel players, Bob White and Peewee Whitewing, two of the nicest guys that ever picked up a bar.
I haven’t said anything about the passing of George Jones. It seems like everything that could be said was said, in Nashville anyway. I don’t know what his band is going to do for work but I believe they’ve all gone their separate ways.
We don’t have many great classic country music artists left, however we keep hearing steel guitar where we can find it. There’s still nothing prettier than E9th being played behind a gorgeous voice like Vince Gill’s.
It’s interesting to know that so many of you care about great steel guitar no matter where you find it. It’s going to be many years before George Jones and Ray Price are forgotten.
Just a reminder that gift cards are great stocking stuffers for the steel player in your family and of course, our Christmas sale is in full swing so with that let me say Merry Christmas to you from all of us at Steel Guitar Nashville. May the Santa in your life fulfill all your wishes and dreams.
Steel Guitar Nashville
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Hendersonville, TN. 37075
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