Yesterday country music legend Ray Price passed away at the age of 87. His recording career spanned some 60 years of some really great songs, most notably “For The Good Times,” which was always one of the most requested songs when yours truly was a disc jockey doing private parties
That song kinda haunted me however. Basically the song was about two people breaking up and the lyrics were quite deep. AND, at every gig of course there were always one or two people who were going through a divorce or separation. So you know what happens then.
“Sob….tear….sniff….um, sob….could ya do me a favor and play “For The Good Times” Mr. Misfit because I’m, sob, really going through some rough times here an it’ll really cheer me up.”
Damn! I used to say to myself. I just got through hyping everyone up with “Disco Inferno” and two plays of “YMCA” and everybody is hoopin’ and hollerin’ and having a good time and NOW I gotta play a downer. RATS!
Soooooo, obviously to please that one person, I play the record and the dance floor has one solitary person out there dancing, yep, the one that requested the record, and she’s sobbing uncontrollably on some guys shirt.
“Don’t look so sad
I know it’s over
But life goes on
And this old world
Will keep on turning
Let’s just be glad
We had some time to spend together
There’s no need to watch the bridges
That we’re burning
Lay your head,
Upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blowing soft, against the window
And make believe you love me,
One more time,
For the good times…..”
Ray! Ray! Why did ya go an hafta record such a heart wrenching song. WHY!!!
I mean, it’s not like ya can find a lot of uptempo Price songs after playing that one to get the ball moving once again. WHAT, “Heartaches By The Number,” “Make The World Go Away,” “There Goes My Everything,” or “Release Me.” Geez…..was this guy EVER happy for cripes sake?
I’m not saying that Ray was totally unhappy and drank a lot, but I personally think he may have been unhappy and drank a lot. I can’t vouch for the unhappy part, but I may be able to shed some light on the drinking part. Which may be why he was able to write and perform such tear jerking songs.
Back in the 60’s when I was a D.J. for a country music station in Providence, R.I. (WHIM) we hosted a country and western show with the likes of Ernie Ashworth, Red Sovine, Webb Pierce, and of course the star of the show, Ray Price.
Now that particular night I was moonlighting by driving a taxi, (because disc jockeys got paid so much in those days) and I was scheduled to introduce a few of the acts on stage. I took a break from driving, zipped over to the auditorium, went back stage and waited for my turn to introduce one of the acts.
Out strolls Price, already a few drinks under his belt, but completely under control, and we engaged in some trivial conversation. UNTIL, I mentioned the fact that I was moonlighting by driving a cab and had it parked outside.
“Um, you have a cab parked outside do ya?” said Price.
“Yep, and as soon as I’m done introducing an act or two I’m back on the road.”
“Saaaay. Would ya mind doin’ me a favor?”
“Nooo problem Ray. What is it?”
“Ya wanna zip out to your cab and find me a liquor store and pick me up a bottle of Jack Daniels.” (do not recall the brand but JD sounds like it would fit)
Soooo, off I go and snag Ray a bottle of JD, bring it back, at which point he belts quite a few swigs outta that bottle, then goes on stage and performs like he was stone cold sober. Which I personally had my doubts about. But, performed without a flaw and got a standing ovation at the end.
If that were me, I’d have fallen flat on my face after one line of, “Don’t looook sooooo sad, I knooooow it’s over…..(crash, flop)
I could never handle booze. Have no idea how he could either. But, he did and pulled it off over the many years he went on stage and performed the many hit songs he recorded in his career.
So a brief remembrance of Ray Price today.
(the following photos of that show are grainy considering cameras, at least mine, sucked)
Thanks for the memories Ray……and…..for the good times.
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