Some tremendous old geezers are on tour in the North at present. Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price. Merle and Willie separately toured with Bob Dylan in the last few years [on the last go-round Bob called on lesser but quite distinguished Texas mortals Jimmie Vaughan and Jr. Brown to open] and it is nice they got idea to tour together and to the inimitable Price, who forged I’d say the Countrypalitan sound, is Texan, like the other boys seeped in Bob Wills, and who now bears a strange resemblance to Walter Cronkite [in a Countrypalitan suit with those odd arrow vector accoutrements.] Asleep at the Wheel did backup! Bob Wills is still the King, the thread, fountain and the source here.
To read Ben Ratliff’s NYT music review [A Half-Century of Honky-tonk with a Trove of Hits] of show at Radio City Musci Hall is tob awed by the show one missed and by the great portrayal by Ratcliff. From NYC the show [called Last of the Breed” – let’s hope not] went to the Riverside Theature in Milwaukee.
Radliff calls Merle “itchy and inscrutable.” How apt! Word is that he did Rambilin Fever and Sing me Back Home. He described the best part of the show as a “delicate tenebrous, alchemical .. section .. that was something else, something unknowable. The critic admits it is ultimately unknowable. Wow. And what does ‘tenebrous’ mean? Dark! Gloomy! Obscure! That’s entertainment.