The Ray Price Shuffle: Spanning Generations

Friday, 20 December 2013 08:23 AM Written by 

So many of Ray Price's obituaries have commented on the fact he created the "shuffle" beat that drove his hit singles from 1956-66, when he moved on to the smoother country pop sound.   Quite a few of those comments including my own, have noted the influence the "Ray Price Shuffle" had on generations of other artists and its durability over several generations. 

Here are a few examples in chronological order. Feel free to sample some of them.

1958: "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down" by Charlie Walker. Note: both Ray Price and Ernest Tubb helped rework this Harlan Howard masterpiece (which he originally wrote for Kitty Wells) to fit Walker, a former country DJ.

1959: "Under Your Spell Again" by Buck Owens. His first Top Ten single. No Buckaroos yet. They were four years away.

1960: "Wishful Thinking" by Wynn Stewart, a hit by another early Bakersfield star.

1961: "I Fall To Pieces" by Patsy Cline. Yep, this, too was a shuffle. The musicians are Nashville's legendary A-Team of session players. The producer: Owen Bradley.

1962: "You're Still On My Mind" by George Jones. The original version of a song Gram Parsons sang on the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.

1962: Willie Nelson: "Touch Me." Willie's first Top Ten single. He'd only only recently left the Cherokee Cowboys

1965 "A-11" by Johnny Paycheck. The former Cherokee Cowboy is seen singing it on  a 1965 TV show, just about the time the single was released. At the time he was playing bass in George Jones's band, the Jones Boys.

1968: "Undo The Right" by Johnny Bush. The former Cherokee Cowboys drummer,  who enjoyed some shuffle hits after Price dropped the style. A close pal of Willie Nelson's, Bush is still active in the Texas music scene.

1970: "Wine Me Up" by Faron Young From the Porter Wagoner Show.  Two well-known fiddlers. On the left: bluegrass and honky-tonk great Vassar Clements. In the green suit: Porter Wagoner's longtime fiddle man Mack Magaha.

1970: "Invitation To The Blues" by Roger Miller. The former Cherokee Cowboys harmony singer, by now a superstar in his own right thanks to "King Of The Road," decided to re-record some songs he wrote that were hits for others (in this case Price). The album, A Trip In The Country, is one of his best. The video shows the original album cover.

1974: "Memory Maker" by Mel Tillis Tillis made the shuffles his own in the 1970's, before he became a regular on talk shows.

1986: "Guitars, Cadillacs" by Dwight Yoakam (Pete Anderson on lead guitar)

1988: "Walkin' Talkin' Cryin' Barely Beatin' Broken Heart" by Highway 101 with Roger Miller. Miller wrote the song.

2011: "I Lie When I Drink" Dale Watson

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.