(written by Cam Mullins & Carolyn Jean Yates)
Ray Price (#1 country, #42 pop, 1971)
One of the more ironic events of Ray Price’s career was a live appearance with the Dallas Symphony in the early 1970s. Price turned to the musicians during the show and told them they were the best country band that had ever accompanied him. Ray’s use of strings had long been a point of controversy.
He had first used symphonic enhancement during the late ‘50s on a gospel album called “Faith.” It was more successful than anyone had predicted and Price used strings again in later years on his secular country singles. “Burning Memories,” a 1964 release written by Mel Tillis and Wayne Walker, was the first, and it spent four weeks at #2.
Even more dramatic was his recording of “Danny Boy” in 1967. Ray was not only having to fight the Nashville establishment over his new sound, but he was actually having to deal with hecklers at his concerts who were upset with Price dropping his trademark fiddle and steel-driven traditional style for a more progressive, urban approach. “Danny Boy” did manage to nudge the Top Ten at #9, but it was certainly not the big record that Ray wanted or expected due to the strong industry and fan opposition to Ray’s updated sound.