Thursday, October 13, 2005

Vinyl Vault: Ray Price's "All Time Greatest Hits"/ Willie's Pizza Joint/ Music Magic

I was unpacking all the albums I had packed in garbage bags for the hurricane and stumbled across this gem. Ray Price is a classic country crooner. His voice is pure velvet. This album is full of genuine country classics like "Sunday Morning Coming Down", "Crazy Arms"(wow!), and "By The Time I Get To Phoenix".
This is country music that, despite its slick presentation, still retains its credibility. There's a orchestra backing almost every song on the album with subtle hints of pedal steel and nylon strung guitars dusted throughout. Did I mention this guy could sing? Oh boy, can he. Never strained or overblown. Just relaxing melodies that make you feel like you(and Ray) have eaten a handful of valiums.
I had the pleasure of seeing him live at one of Willie's 4th of July picnics in Luckenbach back in the mid 90's. My bandmate, Ben, was/is a huge fan and was as excited as anyone I've seen to be in the audience. I recall him laying down a set of greatest hits that seemed to please all the die hard fans who had baked in the 100 degree weather all day. He was on the bill along with Waylon Jennings who kind of overshadowed the whole day. Of course, Waylon was one of the main reasons we all piled in Chris King's minivan and drove several hours to bake in the treeless field all afternoon. Can you blame us?
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Funny story...

We left the picnic well after midnight and set out for Houston. We soon discovered that the right rear tire of the minivan had become a little "screwy"(maybe because we had 9 people in the van!). It was pitch black out on the long country road and we pulled over at the first(and only) gas station we found. We quickly realized that it was not only a gas station but a pizza parlor as well. Maybe it was the minor heat stroke we were all suffering from, but that was the finest pizza I'd ever eaten in my life. And our fondness for the pizza was soon justified when, not 5 minutes later, Willie Nelson's tour buses pulled up to this pizza parlor in the middle of nowhere and just as quickly pulled away with a dozen pizza's in hand. We had found Willie's secret pizza joint!

Let me preface this story by saying, I have my TV hooked up to play through my stereo system. I always turn off the TV when I leave, but almost never turn down the audio running through my speakers. I also download music pretty much 24/7, 365 days a year.

This morning I started downloading Bob Dylan's album "Oh, Mercy". With my slow connection, it usually takes between 12-24 hours to get a complete album. As I was leaving this afternoon for my final dog walk of the day, I noticed an advertisement for the movie "High Fidelity" on Comedy Central starting on the hour. I took off on my bike just before it started.
Returning about 1 1/2 hours later, I could hear John Cusack's voice softly coming through the speakers, so I knew the movie was still in progress. The first thing I did was to sit down at the computer and see the progress of my download. My favorite song on the album "Most Of The Time" had just finished its download, so I started it up in WinAmp. I listened to about a minute of the song and then closed the program. Except even after I closed it, I could still hear the song playing. I was confused for a second, when I realized that exactly where I had stopped the song on my computer it had been picked up in the VERY SAME spot on the "High Fidelity" soundtrack playing through my stereo speakers.
(insert Twighlight Zone Theme music here)

iPod Song of the Day: "Portland, Oregon" performed live by Loretta Lynn and the DoWhatters on the Late Show w/ David Letterman 5.3.04


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