1972 Case File #87.

Ray Price, The Lonesomest Lonesome

File Between: Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra

Comments: Maybe I’m just getting good at adjusting the levels when I rip these albums, or maybe I’m developing a new appreciation for the art of easy listening countrypolitan in my old age, but this is easily one of the best-sounding records I’ve come across in this series. It’s one of several records Price made in his “For the Good Times”-fueled mid-career renaissance, and producer Cam Mullins goes all out with the pillowy, smooth orchestrations, setting crystalline guitar and piano against cloudy banks of strings and, occasionally, horns, all in service of Price’s mellow, immaculately-phrased baritone. Songs of heartache, devotion, and rumination by Mac Davis, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Fuller, and other lights of the 70s Nashville songwriting world — none of which are overly familiar, so that the contemplative mood is all Price’s,  not riding anyone else’s coattails — are excellent settings for him doing what  he does best, which is to express tenderness and regret in a voice as homey and durable as polished oak. After ten such reflective, sophisticated cuts, he closes out with a polished, moderately rousing of Don Gibson’s classic “Oh, Lonesome Me,” and sends you off (if you’re anything like me) with a smile.

A Keeper? I was thrilled when I found this record for a couple of bucks in a cutout bin — Price is one of my all-time favorite country singers, all the more special for being so (relatively) uncelebrated. The fact that it’s such a good record only sweetened the deal.

Vinyl Rip: Wake Up Yesterday

One Thought on “1972 Case File #87.

  1. the rip here is fantastic, love that.

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