Ralph Mooney
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Ralph Mooney

Ralph Mooney
Ralph Mooney in 1969
Ralph Mooney in 1969
Background information
BornSeptember 16, 1928
OriginDuncan, Oklahoma
DiedMarch 20, 2011(2011-03-20) (aged 82)
Steel guitarist, songwriter
InstrumentsSteel guitar
Merle Haggard
Waylon Jennings
Buck Owens
James Burton
Wynn Stewart

Ralph Mooney (September 16, 1928 - March 20, 2011)[1] was an American steel guitar player.[2] He was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1983.[3] He was the original steel guitarist in the Strangers.

A native of Duncan, Oklahoma, Mooney became a key figure in the country music scene around Bakersfield, California. He played on many records associated with the Bakersfield sound, including Wynn Stewart's "Wishful Thinking", Buck Owens' "Under Your Spell Again" and Merle Haggard's "Swinging Doors". He and guitarist James Burton released an instrumental album called Corn Pickin' and Slick Slidin' in 1968.[4]

Mooney played with many other country artists and was a member of Waylon Jennings' band for two decades.[5] Jennings would often transition to Mooney's instrumentals with the lyrics, "Pick it, Moon".

Though best known for his instrumental work, Mooney co-wrote "Crazy Arms" with Chuck Seals; the song was Ray Price's first No. 1 country hit in 1956. Mooney said he wrote the song in 1949 while living in Las Vegas, getting the idea after his wife left him because of his drinking problem.[3]

Tyler Mayhan Coe dedicated a full episode of his podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones to Mooney.


  1. ^ "Ralph Mooney Biography". Music.us. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ Lewis, Randy (March 22, 2011). "Ralph Mooney dies at 82; influential steel guitarist played with Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ a b Horstman, Dorothy (1975). Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy. Nashville, Tennessee: Country Music Foundation Press. p. 165. ISBN 0-915608-19-7.
  4. ^ "Corn Pickin' and Slick Slidin'-James Burton and Ralph Mooney". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ Barker, Andrew (March 22, 2011). "Country star Ralph Mooney dies - Entertainment News, Music News, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2012.

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