“Blondie” Calderon, Ray Price’s Bandleader, Dies in Lubbock

Moises “Blondie” Calderon, Ray Price’s pianist and bandleader for 34 years, died Monday night (Oct. 23) at Covenant Hospital in Lubbock, Texas, following open-heart surgery. He was 60. The veteran musician had suffered a heart attack Saturday while traveling to a show in Turkey, Texas.

Calderon was born June 26, 1940, in Del Rio, Texas, where he continued to live. A spokesman for the G. W. Cox Funeral Home in Del Rio says Calderon’s family is expected to make arrangements for final services Wednesday.

Neither the funeral home nor James R. Doran, Ray Price’s manager, could provide a complete list of Calderon’s survivors. However, Doran says that besides his wife, Dolly, Calderon had at least three daughters, a son and grandchildren.

In addition to touring with Price, Calderon also recorded with him. He played vibraphone on Price’s newest album, the pop-flavored Prisoner of Love, which was released earlier this year.

Doran says that Price will not cancel any shows. “He plans on making all dates as booked,” Doran notes. “Blondie had asked him — if anything happened to him — to be sure and carry on the music. And that’s what he intends to do. In fact, I think that will be his best therapy.”

Calderon’s long tenure with Price gave him particular stature in a legendary band that numbers among its “alumni” Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and Johnny Paycheck.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.