RAY PRICE'S "PRISONER LOVE" A REAL TRIUMPH
Review by Rose Murray
"Prisoner of Love" opens with a declaration: "I said I'm through with honky-tonks; they only bring me down." It closes with an upbeat proclamation: "It's a wonderful world." In between, Ray Price proves in a magnificently-orchestrated presentation that it is a wonderful world when Ray Price steps to the mike, and that this singer for all seasons and styles of song is easily at home at everything from honky-tonk to jazz, and from ballads to Beatle-tunes.
Forget about categorizing Ray Price as country, pop, ballad, jazz, or anything in between. This fabulous multi-talented singer continues to cut across "class lines" musically. And in doing so, he adds "class"--and originality--to any hit--old, new, updown or downtown--that he sings..
On this May 16, 2000, release--his first in much too long a time-- Ray takes a mix of old classics and great new hits and delivers them in a powerful, deeply-felt manner that brands each song as his own. No matter that Russ Columbo and Perry Como sang the title song first--Ray's jazzy handling of "Prisoner of Love" is unique. David Campbell's arrangement of this number--and of all the others--highlights his ability to reflect with wit, style, or sentiment the varied songs and moods on this album.
Ray also stamps his unique brand on some of the other old classics identified with singers of the past such as "Body and Soul," "Fly Me To The Moon" and "Ramblin' Rose." Frank Sinatra and Nat "King" Cole made hits of the last two, but Ray Price makes them new again--and delightful. And, Ray''s depth of experience and maturity of style cannot help but add new dimension to the reflective lyrics of the Beatles' song, "In My Life."
Two new songs that demonstrate Ray's great talent for picking winners are "If It's Love" and "The Only Bridge." The first of these is definitely upbeat in its gentle, encouraging advice to those who have been burned in the pursuit of love. It's a sure hit. "The Only Bridge" seems made for his powerful voice; it's no wonder that he has chosen to add this number to his concert performances in the past few years.
Also on the album are such favorites as "Soft Rain," Ray's own composition, presented here in a new, very lovely arrangement; as well as "I've Got a New Heartache"; "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again," and "What A Wonderful World."
"Better Class of Losers." the rousing opening number, adds a touch of wry humor to Ray Price's latest triumph in the world of rich orchestration and magnificent production.
The overall impression is one of highly-polished beauty and perfection. Ray Price has done it again. Producer Randall Jamail and arranger David Campbell are both to be congratulated as well. Ray Price fans will be happy to know that they can buy "Prisoner of Love" in both CD and tape cassette versions. An extra bonus is that the liner notes include the lyrics of every one of the twelve songs.
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