Ray Price's final recorded testament finds him justifiably reflective within lush orchestrations of the countrypolitan sound he helped pioneer in the Sixties and Seventies. Beauty Is showcases the East Texas native, who died of pancreatic cancer in December at the age of 87, still in fine (if audibly aged) voice and keenly aware of his imminent mortality. With the aid of Nashville vet Fred Foster, Price muses on life, love, and (yes) beauty across 12 mostly wide-screen, epic ballads. "Until Then" indulges the barroom shuffle with which he revolutionized country music in the Fifties, complete with walking bass, crying steel, the only fiddles on the LP, and Vince Gill harmonies. Otherwise, Price is intimate on the mic, his warmly burnished voice still possessing all its range and wrapped around sentimental classics "Beautiful Dreamer," Vic Damone's "An Affair to Remember" (with Martina McBride), and his onetime bassist Willie Nelson's "It Always Will Be."
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