The life of country music pioneer Ray Price was celebrated at a special memorial in his Texas hometown on Saturday (21Dec13).

The For the Good Times hitmaker lost his battle with cancer last Monday (16Dec13), aged 87, and hundreds of friends, family and fans packed into the First Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant this weekend to pay tribute to the icon.

A country music quartet performed songs from Price's back catalogue, including Danny Boy, In the Garden and Let's Make a Memory Today, while a statement from Willie Nelson was read out to the congregation, praising the late singer for giving him his big break in the early 1960s.

The message stated: "Without a Ray Price, there wouldn't have been a Willie Nelson."

Recalling the moment Price approached him to replace bassist Donald Lytle, aka Johnny Paycheck, in his band The Cherokee Cowboys, Nelson added, "He asked me, 'Can you play bass?' I said, 'Who can't play bass?'"

A funeral for Price is set to take place in Dallas next Saturday (28Dec13).