San Antonio Rose [Expanded Edition]

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Barnes & Noble - David McGee
In 1961, Ray Price recorded an album titled San Antonio Rose -- a tribute to Bob Wills, the artist who had inspired his music -- with Willie Nelson, then a member of Price's Cherokee Cowboys, on guitar. In 1980, Nelson paid tribute to the man who had been one of his staunchest early supporters by teaming with Price for another San Antonio Rose album, this one returning Price to the small-combo honky-tonk format that had made him a country music legend. In addition to his own sturdy road band, Willie assembled a stellar cast of musicians for the project, including guitarist Grady Martin, fiddler Johnny Gimble, pedal steel virtuoso Buddy Emmons, pianist Leon Russell, and ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
In 1961, Ray Price recorded an album titled San Antonio Rose -- a tribute to Bob Wills, the artist who had inspired his music -- with Willie Nelson, then a member of Price's Cherokee Cowboys, on guitar. In 1980, Nelson paid tribute to the man who had been one of his staunchest early supporters by teaming with Price for another San Antonio Rose album, this one returning Price to the small-combo honky-tonk format that had made him a country music legend. In addition to his own sturdy road band, Willie assembled a stellar cast of musicians for the project, including guitarist Grady Martin, fiddler Johnny Gimble, pedal steel virtuoso Buddy Emmons, pianist Leon Russell, and pianist-vibraharpist Moises Calderon, Price's bandleader and musical director. Wills isn't the complete focus of this effort, but his spirit pervades Price's style of honky-tonk. Indeed, Price and Nelson do the King of Western Swing proud on the ebullient title track, a dreamy duet version of "Faded Love," a gently shuffling treatment of "Deep Water," and Willie's amiable interpretation of a bouncy, heartfelt "My Life's Been a Pleasure" one of two bonus tracks on this reissue. Elsewhere, the duo get into an infectious shuffling mode in reprising Price's 1956 classic, "Crazy Arms," and deep into a loping blues interpretation of Floyd Tilman's honky-tonk appeal for marital d├ętente, "This Cold War with You." Two Nelson classics rendered timeless by Price in the '60s, "Funny how Time Slips Away" and "Night Life," get subtle updates that retain the originals' heart-tugging winsomeness while incorporating tasty jazz and blues touches, respectively. When it comes to honky-tonk, San Antonio Rose is what it's all about: It's a classic.
All Music Guide
Usually projects like this one are a shambles. In 1980 Willie Nelson was a superstar and Ray Price was packing concert halls but not selling records. In 1961 Nelson was Price's bass player and in the band that recorded Price's smash San Antonio Rose album. This date is a kind of reprise of Price as king of the honky tonk singers -- something he willfully abandoned in the mid-'60s. Recorded in the same studio they'd used 19 years earlier, Nelson and his Family band augmented their sound with Johnny Gimble playing that lonesome fiddle that had become a Price trademark in the same way it was Bob Wills'. In addition, Buddy Emmons, who was also a former Price employee, played steel, and Blondie Calderon, who was Price's bandleader, plays piano and vibraharp here. The program is pure Price, though many of these tunes were present in Nelson's live shows of the era and some remain so. Beginning with the title track and slipping into Price's gorgeous "I'll Be There If You Ever Want Me," and of course into "I Fall to Pieces," Hank Cochran, and Harlan Howard, with Price's smooth baritone and Nelson's thin reedy tenor, it's a match made in heaven. Price proves here that he could still be a honky tonk singer when he wanted to be. Other country classics on the set include Floyd Tillman's "This Cold War With You" and Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away" which Price had cut a number of times pre- and post-pop. "Crazy Arms," which is Price's trademark song, is begun by Nelson, but Price's presence on the first chorus takes the spotlight, and in the verse, it's no secret why it's his vocal signature on the tune. As if that weren't enough, they follow it with "Release Me," another Price classic from yesteryear and still a gauge for how well any country singer performs. There's also Fred Rose's "Deep Water," Bob Wills' "Faded Love," and a few unreleased bonus tracks from the session, including Rex Griffin's "Just Call Me Lonesome" and Jesse Ashlock's "My Life's Been a Pleasure." The sound, as it is on the rest of the releases in this series -- To Lefty From Willie, Willie and Family Live, and Honeysuckle Rose
Blender - John DeFore
[Nelson and Price] are in top voice on country's finest standards.

[Nelson and Price] are in top voice on country's finest standards.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/24/2003
  • Label: SONY
  • UPC: 696998926424
  • Catalog Number: 89264

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willie Nelson Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Ray Price Primary Artist, Vocals
Buddy Emmons Steel Guitar
Crystal Gayle Background Vocals
Johnny Gimble Fiddle
Leon Russell Piano
Grady Martin Guitar
Mickey Raphael Harmonica
Moses Calderon Keyboards, Vibes
Paul English Drums
Chris Ethridge Bass
Jody Payne Guitar
Bee Spears Bass
Technical Credits
Willie Nelson Producer
Joseph M. Palmaccio Engineer
Billy Jack Wills Composer
Bradley Hartman Engineer
Rich Kienzle Liner Notes
Al Quaglieri Reissue Producer
Norman Seeff Original Photography
Virginia Team Art Direction
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Tour de force return to honky tonk

    When F. Scott Fitzgerald said "there are no second acts in American lives," he clearly didn’t anticipate how country music stars could slip away from their roots, chase their commercial fortunes to the pop charts, and return with a vengeance to that which made them famous in the first place. Others may have retransitioned more recently (e.g., Dolly Parton’s recent mountain-inspired work), but few have so convincingly demonstrated their early powers to still be intact as did Ray Price with this 1980 release. ¶ Having inherited Hank Williams backing band upon Williams’ death in 1953, Price bucked Nashville’s drift towards pop with hard-edged, drum-fueled, honky-tonk tunes like "Crazy Arms" and minted his iconic 4/4 shuffle beat. Ironically, as his interests expanded to pop balladry, he was both vilified and commercially rewarded for hits like 1970’s "For the Good Times." ¶ Though he had the occasional chart breakthrough, such as 1977’s "Mansion on the Hill," Price’s fortunes were trending down through the end of the decade. It was at this point that he reunited with his former bass player, Willie Nelson, and other key members of his earlier backing bands for these sessions, hitting with "Faded Love," and minting a stirring, re-energizing album. ¶ Nelson brings his usual eclecticism to bear, from his idiosyncratic phrasing and gut-string guitar picking, to sophisticated, jazzy arrangements of songs like "Night Life" (which Price originally released as a single in 1963). The smoothness of Price’s voice, tempered by his years as a crooner, fits surprisingly well with the reedier tone of Nelson. ¶ Album highlights include the title track’s superb dancehall shuffle (revisiting a Bob Wills song that Price and Nelson had first recorded together in 1961 -- in the same studio!), the weeping steel ballad "Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)," and a a signature take (and a top-5 hit single) of "Faded Love," with haunting fiddle from ex-Texas playboy, Johnny Gimble. Also on board are one-time Price steel player Buddy Emmons, and ace studio players like Grady Martin and Leon Russell. ¶ It’s hard to imagine this record could have come out any better. The creative union of Nelson and Price plays to all of their strengths, re-energizes songs that both of them had played and recorded over nearly two decades, and provides each an opportunity to bask in the light of their combined success. Columbia Legacy’s reissue adds two previously unreleased tracks, the first reprising Price’s 1965 recording of "Just Call me Lonesome," the second providing a solo take of Nelson singing the western swing "My Life’s Been a Pleasure." Both are good spins, and Rich Kienzle’s new liner notes are informative, but it’s the original eleven tracks that make this a five-star album. ¶ Tech note: the Extended CD Features caused a Windows 2000 laptop to lock-up until the CD was manually ejected, and provided no usable extra features on a Macintosh G3 with MacOS 8.6.

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