Album no. 34/1001
Night Life starts off sounding like country music and lounge music got together for a bit of a hot time. Then it all falls apart.
Ray Price was your typical country singer, until he realised country just wasn’t popular anymore – so decided to try his hand at a bit more of a “popular” sound.
According to 1001 Albums, Willie Nelson wrote the title track – he used to play in the band for a bit until they had an argument – and SUPPOSEDLY this argument was about Willie shooting one of Ray Price’s roosters. Classic country beefs, am I right?
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: No, but I know it’s a country album. So, based on my previous exposure to country music… I’m not looking forward to this.
NK: I haven’t even heard of Ray Price. I have no idea what to expect going into this.
CL: Since when has it been ok to include an introduction to an album WITHIN THE SONG. The song starts playing, then 10 seconds in it fades out, and old mate Ray starts rambling on about how he likes singing these songs at Night Time. Good one. Having said that, ‘Night Life’, the proper song, is actually awesome – that slide guitar is whack. But sadly, it’s ALL DOWNHILL FROM THERE. EVERY SONG SOUNDS EXACTLY THE SAME. TRULY. I thought I had accidentally pressed the repeat button. I’m disappointed, because the first song really gave me some hope that this ‘country’ album was going to be good. But alas, it wasn’t.
NK: That intro really threw me! I thought I had some dodgy version that somebody had taped off the radio with a DJ talking over the top. But no, that’s just Ray saying hello. He has a cool voice, and the first track reminds me of Richard Hawley, who I love (he’s on this list at number 963, can’t wait). I like the idea of a country concept album about heartbreak, and some of the lyrics are fun, but I hate the guitar licks in between lyrics. That happened quite a bit; I’d enjoy something and then something would immediately happen to ruin it. On ‘Lonely Street’ I really like his vocal, the lyrics are suitable bleak, but then at 1.50 there’s a terrible country slide guitar solo and a fiddle comes in to keep the guitar company, and I just hated it. Sorry Ray. My favourite song was ‘Night life’ as well.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: Night time, obviously. But only the first song. Disregard the rest.
NK: This is a break-up album. I’m not sure I’d choose it as my go-to, but that’s when it will really get into it’s stride.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: Maybe to demonstrate just how closely songs can resemble each other without anyone noticing?
NK: I know you said earlier that every song sounds exactly the same, but I don’t want people to think you’re exaggerating. ‘A Girl in the Night’, ‘Pride’, and ‘If She Could See Me Now’, have EXACTLY the same three note intro. Play them one after the other, it’s ridiculous. This album might be here because it’s a collection of songs around a single theme (heartbreak)? He has a good voice, but other than that I’m not sure what the go is with old Ray.
Will you be listening again?
CL: Nah, I don’t think so. I might keep ‘Night Life’ to listen to – mostly just for that slide guitar.
NK: I might go back and suss him out when we get to Richard Hawley. His voice is really good, it’s a pity he was from Texas and had no choice but to sing country songs.