Ray Price Had ‘Mixed Emotions’ About His First Time on the Radio
Ray Price, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, is best known for such memorable hits as “Crazy Arms,” “Heartaches By the Number” and “For the Good Times.” Prior to his death in 2013, Price’s career spanned seven decades, leaving him with plenty of stories to tell.
Price also had a great sense of humor: In 2010, when The Boot met up with the country crooner to ask him where he was when he heard his very first single on the radio, he quickly replied, laughing, “Oh, gosh — you’re talking about the last century!” Nevertheless, he did recall that moment.
I remember it, and I was pleased and happy. At that time, it was kind of unique, because it was just beginning back then.
I heard it on a radio station in Texas. Lefty Frizzell and I were working together down in Beaumont, Texas; we worked a nightclub there when we were in town.
The song was “Jealous Lies.” It didn’t do any good, but that’s what it was. When I heard the record, I had mixed emotions: I really started out to be a veterinarian. I turned out to be a musician … so I was the black sheep of the family, I guess.
I was going to college. We were staying in a government barracks out at Grand Prairie, Texas, because it was close to the college, and the government would let us stay there. All of us were vets from World War II, going on the GI Bill, and then whenever we all got together, there was a group of musicians in that group, and they’d play and fool around. One of the guys asked me if I would mind singing a couple of songs for him for a music publisher. I wanted to be a nice guy, and I went down to do it, and they heard us and said, “Come back tomorrow, if you can,” because they were taping a radio show. We went back the next day, and there was a man there from Nashville with a contract for me to sign to record … which was a real shocker. And then when I got into it — long enough to know that I was going to be all right — I guess I discovered that was really what I wanted to be other than a veterinarian.
That’s about how I got into this. It was about 1948.
This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.