Ray Price Prisoner of Love (Justice)
Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, Fri., June 30, 2000
Prisoner of Love (Justice)Naysayers and country music purists have long pointed to Ray Price, along with Eddy Arnold and Chet Atkins, as being partly responsible for the "countrypolitan" trend that started in the early Sixties and led to the current miserably watered-down state of Nashville music. There may be something to that, but it's a huge mistake to discount Price and his talent. He's in a league all his own, the country version of Tony Bennett or Francis Albert Sinatra. Producer Randall Jamail teams Price up with a string orchestra for this release, tastefully balladeering through the likes of "Ramblin' Rose," "Fly Me to the Moon," and "What a Wonderful World." The end result bears as much resemblance to traditional honky-tonk as a shaken-not-stirred martini does to a room-temperature can of Pearl. The backing is so restrained, it could almost pass for easy listening were it not for Price's captivating presence, his somewhat morose delivery a perfect match for the material herein. His introspection on the Beatles' "In My Life" and "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again" is incredibly moving and heartfelt. This is a package as romantic and cultivated as the cover photo of Price in evening wear, with a grand piano in the background. Think of this collection of standards as Price's answer to Willie Nelson's Stardust.