Mr. Charley Pride Still Delivers The Goods…After Five Decades.
What can I say about Charley Pride that hasn’t already been said before by countless musical artists over an astonishing 53-year recording career? One thing is certain though: Pride still enjoys performing on stage for his legions of fans worldwide…. at 85 years young, mind you!
Still touring behind his 2017 album Music In My Heart, Pride and his tight-as-nails band have their work cut out for them as far as creating a set list at this point. To their credit, they manage to pull it off with a majority of the audience in attendance.
Kicking off their 90-minute, 25-song set with an instrumental Big Mamou, Pride takes the stage for the night’s second song The Snakes Crawl At Night (from Pride’s debut album Country, 1966) to roaring applause from the Chandler, AZ. crowd on June 14th at Wild Horse Pass Casino.
And the classics kept rolling: songs like The Happiness of Having You, A Whole Lotta Things To Sing About, and Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone? are just as viable today as they were upon their initial release.
Next, Pride took a minute to welcome and thank the audience for “spending your Friday evening with us.” As the show progressed, you get the sense that Pride comes off as authentic and appreciative for what he’s achieved.
Combine that with a great (and dry) sense of humor, it’s no wonder why he’s been able to sustain the career he has for so long.
Musically, Pride also proved that he doesn’t have to write every song himself in order to make them his own. Throughout the night, several covers found their way into the set such as Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee and Dolly Parton’s God’s Coloring Book.
Two of the covers played were in medley form, unfortunately. Still, he did justice to the late Merle Haggard (I’m A Lonesome Fugitive) and Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison Blues). I’m sure both were grinning from ear-to-ear.
Interestingly, only one song was played from his latest release, Music To My Heart, that being New Patches. Still, it’s good to see that he feels strongly on recording new music when the opportunity arises. Word has it that he’s working on another album this year, which hopefully we’ll hear sometime in 2020.
If there was a “moving” moment in the show, it would have to be when Pride introduced Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town (from Pride of America, 1974) as “a song about slaves.” It shows that, while we’ve come a long way in history, there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done yet.
The night concluded with Pride’s biggest pop hit Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’, followed by Hank Williams’ Kaw-Liga, and Cotton Fields. I was surprised that I’m Just Me wasn’t played. However, he still found a happy medium of various material that pleased longtime fans.
The significance of Charley Pride’s music can never be overstated. Do yourself a favor and go see him while you still can. I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed.
Four out of five stars.
Charley Pride Set List:
The Snakes Crawl At Night
The Happiness of Having You
A Whole Lotta Things To Sing About
Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone?
Just Between You and Me
Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger?
All I Have To Offer You (Is Me)
Me and Bobby McGee
Wonder Could I Live There Anymore
Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town
Wings of a Dove
Burgers and Fries
You’re My Jamaica
Medley: Your Cheatin’ Heart, Love Sick Blues, Roll on Mississippi
Mountain of Love
Medley: Together Again, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive, Folsom Prison Blues, He Stopped Loving Her, Good Hearted Woman
God’s Coloring Book
Gospel Medley: I’ll Fly Away, Church In The Wildwood, I Saw The Light, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, I’ll Fly Away (reprise)
America The Great
Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’
Val Tapia is a self-appointed critic and fan of music commentary and criticism. He’s a contributing music writer for online media site US Press Association.