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Last of the Breed
Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard
Last of the Breed
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2

Let's be clear: Last of the Breed is a story - actually, a novel, if not an epic - unto itself. The title sums it up pretty well: On these two discs three classic performers, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard,...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard
Title: Last of the Breed
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Lost Highway
Original Release Date: 1/1/2007
Re-Release Date: 3/20/2007
Genres: Country, Pop
Styles: Outlaw Country, Classic Country
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 602517240179


Album Description
Let's be clear: Last of the Breed is a story - actually, a novel, if not an epic - unto itself. The title sums it up pretty well: On these two discs three classic performers, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard, band together on songs they've known and loved for years. Their contributions don't need elaboration. Each is a legend. All three hark back to a time that's in some ways gone. When you consider the lives they've lived, the world that formed them as artists, and even the landscapes they knew as they began playing in beer joints and backwater clubs long ago, then the truth of those four words, Last of the Breed, comes clear. Look a little closer, and they take on another reference, to the songs as well as to the giants who celebrate them here. Whether drawn from deep in the tradition, back from the well of Gene Autry, Lefty Frizzell, and Floyd Tillman, or picked from the more recent catalogs, this music conveys a feeling that might be mistaken for nostalgia but is in fact a timeless eloquence. They don't write or sing `em like this anymore.

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CD Reviews

Best of the Breed
DanD | 03/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was put off at first when I listened to this album. It didn't sound new, it didn't sound outstanding. I would expect an album featuring Willie Nelson, Ray Price, and Merle Haggard to be something extraordinary, something spectacular.

And then I slapped myself and came to my senses. This album IS spectacular. Why? Because it's nothing new. Instead of trying to breathe new life into these classic songs, this trio (can I make a Holy Trinity comparrison without offending anyone?) lets the songs rejuvinate themselves. Thus, while showing their own immense talents, they also show the power of a good country song.

Willie is the obvious anchor here (he appears on all tracks but two), but the three legends work well together, and obviously enjoy doing something life this. Special guest Vince Gill adds his beautiful harmonies to the standard "Heartaches By the Number," while Kris Kristofferson's duet with Willie and Ray on his own "Why Me" is possibly the vocal event of the year (seeing Kristofferson reunited with producer Fred Foster after all these years is a delight in and of itself). The rest of the songs get carried on their own weight--the three guys simply sing 'em, and let the songs be themselves. Which, on a classic country album, is exactly how it should be. Foster's production is perfect as always; the songs sound real, organic, and COUNTRY. This is an album that will probably go overlooked by the pop-country fans of today...but those of us who know what country music really is will appreciate this effort by three men who are, unfortunately, the last of their breed."
This is one of the best country collections ... ever!
Terry Mathews | a small town in east Texas | 03/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With close to 100 years of performing under their collective belt buckles, country music legends Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Ray Price have certainly earned the right to enjoy a quiet life of retirement.

Turning 70 on April 6, Haggard is the youngster. Willie will celebrate his 74th on April 30. Price is the elder statesman, having hit mile marker 81 in January.

Rather than easing into their twilight years, however, the three superstars just wrapped up a whirlwind tour, covering 15 cities in 17 days, and releasing their new 2-CD set, "The Last of the Breed."

Write it down. This CD will rake in a trophy case full of honors. There's not a bad cut out of the 22 classics that made it onto the set list, although some may be disappointed by the omission of hits like "Night Life," "For the Good Times," "Pancho and Lefty," and "Okie from Muskogee."

There are some real gems on the new CD. "Heartaches by the Number," the Mickey Newbury song that became one of Price's first hits in 1959, features smooth supporting vocals by Vince Gill.

Haggard and Nelson's poignant cover of Lefty Frizzell's "Mom and Dad Waltz" is haunting and will make you stop whatever you're doing to listen and remember those who have gone on.

Price and Nelson tip their hat to Hank, Sr. covering "Lost Highway," Williams' hit written in 1948 by Leon Payne. Price and Nelson seem most comfortable together and just when you think it can't get any better, the Jordanaires, Elvis' beloved backup singers, chime in with pitch-perfect harmonies. Goose bump time, for sure.

There's a touch of jazzy blues in "I Gotta Have My Baby Back," with each musical master taking a phrase or two. The cover of Floyd Tillman's tune is one of the nicest little surprises, tucked in at the conclusion of disc one.

If there was any doubt about Price's staying power as a pure singer, his work on this cut puts it to rest. He's smooth, suave and the king of cool. Nothing against Merle and Willie, but the years of hard-living show up in each note they sing. Price must have gone to bed early during his years on the road, because his pipes are still strong and silky.

Cindy Walker's song "Going Away Party," originally recorded by Bob Wills, is enjoying a recent revival. These men owe a lot to Wills, the King of Western Swing, and the prolific Ms. Walker, who died last year in her hometown on Mexia. Willie released a CD called "You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker" last year.

This cut is a great way to honor two of country music's most influential artists. Having Johnny Gimble's fiddle and the Jordanaires' backup makes the cut sheer perfection. Walker and Wills would be proud.

"Why Me," the 1972 Kris Kristofferson song, is a tour de force. Willie and Merle delivery is captivating. Kristofferson makes a brief appearance, too. Listening to these men sing, knowing their much-publicized histories of wine, women and more than a few brushes with the law, just deepens the heart and soul of the melody. It's a haunting moment not soon forgotten.

"The Last of the Breed" will go down in the history books as one of the best collections ever to have been laid down in a recording studio. It will clean up at the Grammys and will take all comers at the Country Music Association's big annual awards bash. Write it down.

An undying classic in every sense of the word
Paul W. Dennis | Winter Springs, FL USA | 03/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This may be the Holy Grail of classic country recordings. Three legends in Ray Price, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Twenty-two selections containing some of the greatest country songs ever written, although not necessarily the biggest hits of Willie, Ray or Merle (except a cover of Ray's "Heartaches by the Numbers"). On eleven (11) of the tracks all three artists appear. Ray and Merle each have a solo (Ray's with Vince Gill assisting), and the rest feature two of the three (with Kris Kristofferson assisting on "Why Me"). The backing band consists of top current session men and some legends who played in the bands of the legends such as Buddy Emmons and Johnny Gimble. Plus the legendary Jordanaires can be heard on several tracks

Here's a partial list of the songs and who made them famous:

My Life's Been a Pleasure - Bob Wills
Mom and Dad's Waltz - Lefty Frizzell, John Anderson
Why Me - Kris Kristofferson
Lost Highway - Hank Williams
I Love You a Thousand Ways - Lefty Frizzell
I Gotta Have My Baby Back - Floyd Tillman
Sweet Memories - Don Gibson & Dottie West, Willie Nelson
Pick Me Up On Your Way Down - Charlie Walker
I Love You Because - Leon Payne, Ernest Tubb
I Love You So Much It Hurts - Floyd Tillman
That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine - Gene Autry
Still Water Runs The Deepest - Bob Wills

Ray Price has had the lowest profile of the three over the last ten or so years, but even at 81 years of age, he is one of the most effective singers on the planet. It is no knock on either Willie or Merle to say that neither is in Ray Price's league as a pure singer - no one else is either. Maybe this CD will sell well enough to introduce a new generation to the music of Ray Price. If so, it will have done everyone a big favor.

To summarize: Buy It!"