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Ray Price

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Ray Price Obituary

Singer Ray Price, who revived country music not once but twice, was perhaps more influential than anyone in the country field besides his former roommate Hank Williams. But even after beating back the Elvis explosion in the 1950s by inventing the country shuffle, then helping usher "the Nashville Sound" to prominence in the next decade, Price wasn't inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame until 1996.

"Well, it's about time," the East Texan said when he finally received the award. The underrated icon, whose Cherokee Cowboys included such up-and-comers as Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Johnny Bush and Johnny Paycheck, died Monday at his Mount Pleasant home, a day after his death was mistakenly announced by several news outlets, leading to an outpouring of condolences on social media. Price, who was 87, remained close with Nelson, who got his first songwriting gig as staff writer for Price's Pamper Music publishing company in 1961, and was a regular at Willie's Fourth of July Picnics well into his 80s.

Price was one of the first Nashville superstars to move back to Texas, relocating to a farm near Mount Pleasant in 1970. In the late '60s, Price had angered country traditionalists when he brought strings and choral backing to such lush ballads as "Make the World Go Away," "Danny Boy" and "For the Good Times."

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Published in Austin American-Statesman on Dec. 17, 2013
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