Appalachia Music

Chitter and Ray Price

The Pressley Girls Crazy Arms

The girls have been singing the song Crazy Arms since about 2012.  It was great with just the girls, but once Paul added a third harmony part somewhere along the way it has become one of the most requested songs we perform.

The song was written by Ralph Mooney and Charles Seals. Ray Price had a super hit with the song in 1956.

Years ago, before I was even married, I bought Paul a VHS tape of old Louisiana Hayride performances for Christmas. We watched that thing until we about wore it out. So many good performers were included on the tape. Lonzo and Oscar were two of Pap’s favorites. He’d laugh at their jokes and then point out how super talented they were as musicians and vocalists.

It would be hard for me to pick a favorite from the tape, but I especially liked Ray Price doing Crazy Arms. I swooned every time I watched Van Howard step into the frame and add his layer of harmony to the song.

Chitter is a funny girl, if you’ve ever seen us perform or met her in person you’re well aware of that already. The girl was funny from the day she was born. When she was about 3 years old she started telling anyone who’d listen that she had a pet frog that lived in her throat and then she’d try to prove it was true by making a frog sound.

We never know what Chitter will say at a show, I swear sometimes I think she surprises herself by the things she tells the audience. At our show Friday night they asked us to make a few announcements during our set. Chitter turned those announcements into a comedy act. One group of folks actually asked her to make the announcements again.

A year or so ago we were playing at a festival and before we played Crazy Arms she told the crowd how much she loved Ray Price and his music. As she held two fingers crossed in the air she went on to tell them if she’d lived back when he was making all those hit records she had no doubt her and Ray would have been close-as in best buddies. Chitter can be pretty charming so I don’t doubt Ray Price would have liked her if they’d ever met.

Here’s a video of Crazy Arms from our concert at the John C. Campbell Folk School a few weeks ago.

I hope you enjoyed the song. I may share other songs from the concert in future posts, but if you’d like to see the whole concert now go here. The Deer Hunter filmed it for us. I wish he’d gotten Chitter’s talking between the songs too, because her comedic flare was really going strong that night.

Tipper

 

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    July 11, 2019 at 7:08 am

    Great. I knew Ralph Mooney when he was with Waylon. Great steel player and a good sense of humor. I wonder if Charley Seals was father or relative to all the other Seals family members that are singers/songwriters? Brady Seals was with Little Texas, Troy Seals was a great ’70’s songwriter, and Dan Seals, singer/songwriter. I think Dan passed away. Aso the Seals with Seals and Croft. Can’t think of his first name! Senior moment! But they were all related.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    June 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    I loved the Pressley/Wilson rendition of Crazy Arms at the Campbell Folk School.
    I’ve enjoyed Crazy Arms by Ray Price, Jerry Lee Lewis and Patsy Cline since I was a kid. It still irks me that Patsy Cline, along with Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas, died needlessly in a plane crash 53 years ago. As a serious and experienced airplane pilot myself, I say the crash was needless because the pilot, Randy Hughes–who was Patsy’s manager–was a novice who had no instrument rating to fly in the low weather that he carelessly ventured into.
    Anyway, Chitter’s singing was fabulous. Her clarion voice has, in my humble opinion, matured to a professional quality. I readily echo the other enthusiastic comments.

  • Reply
    Jean
    June 12, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Tipper,I been very Blessed this Sunday watching you’lls concert,thank you so much.God Bless,Jean

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Tipper,
    Loved it…..even though I somehow got me a green screen going again…Guess it will fix itself in a day or two….
    I still have a couple of Ray Price hi-fi LP vinyl’s stored with the old Elvis, Merle and my all time
    favorite…Chet Atkins…Never will be another “gitfiddle sound” like he played!
    That is also a beautiful picture!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Tom
    June 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    What a great performance, blown away as usual! This Iis good stuff for sure.

  • Reply
    Jack
    June 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Didn’t know Chitter was the”front man”. Connection with the audience is important t keep their attention and then focus on the music.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I grew up listening to Ray Price on the radio. He was my idol. I learned to sing several of his songs (Make the World Go Away, For the Good Times, of course Crazy Arms and more) and tried to imitate his voice. That admiration dimmed somewhat when we got a TV and I realized he was in competition with Porter Wagoner and Hank Snow to see who was the prettiest. I still think Ray Price was the best country music voice ever.
    I like the contrast between Chitter and Ray Price. She being pretty as a peach and he uglier than a mud fence.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    June 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

    With her beauty and talent, I don’t doubt for one minute Ray would have been honored to be her best buddy.

  • Reply
    Ken
    June 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Tipper,
    I’ve played that entire video thru several times. Paul couldn’t get much attention because of them pretty things beside him, although his solo was great too. Crazy Arms is a Favorite along with many others that I can’t request on our Radio Station because it’s All Gospel all the time since about Easter.
    Love those Pressley Girls! …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 12, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Children are amazing. Seems we never get through discovering who they are. I’ve posted this before I know but I can’t get over how they are different from parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and yet somehow the same.
    Hope each and every one of you have a blessed Sunday.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 12, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I enjoyed hearing and seeing “Crazy Arms,” and wish I had been at John Campbell Folk School to see and hear in person! I felt sadness, too, because I miss dear Jerry Wilson (Pap) performing with the Wilson-Pressley group! But he trained all of you so, so well! We can all be grateful for the legacy he left you and us! Give us some of Chitter’s humor sometime!

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    June 12, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Tipper,
    God bless you and your family for continuing to sing, chitter,chatter and your brother were in perfect harmony.
    One day I’m going to try to meet all of you!
    You’ve made me happy more than you will ever know.
    Beautiful family and beautiful music.
    Blessings,
    Carol Rosenbalm

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 12, 2016 at 7:11 am

    They did a great job at the concert at the folk school. Every time I hear them perform I can see/hear that their talent is expanding or maturing. I’m not sure what word I’m searching for but they are getting better!

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