From that point on, the pair never fell out of touch.
Whenever the pair got together, they'd sing the old songs, Western swing standards and honky tonk classics from the '50s and '60s -- the songs that form the core of For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, a salute Willie delivered three years after Price's 2013 death.
Supported by producer Fred Foster and arranger Bergen White -- a duo who also were friends with Price and completed his final album, Beauty Is -- Nelson doesn't make any attempt to freshen up these songs, which is the album's charm.
All of these sounds are considered traditional from the vantage of 2016 and, in effect, For the Good Times extends the tradition, not through reinvention but rather adherence.
Nelson has been singing these songs all of his life, recording them several times a decade, but instead of seeming recycled, For the Good Times underscores how the song may remain the same but the singer does not.
Nelson is showing his age -- his voice is leathery and tattered, much thinner than it was just ten years ago -- and yet that's part of the point of the album.
It makes for an affectionate and bittersweet album, one that is a fitting tribute to a lifelong friend.