I met Ray backstage when the radio station I worked for in Seattle brought him to town. We teased him because he went from "honkytonk" to "Countrypolitan" (with an orchestra). But I really liked most everything he did.....especially "FOR THE GOOD TIMES."
Your teasing was right on the mark, He is considered to be the leader into what became the Nashville sound, which gave a dimension to the traditional honkytonk music by adding violins and other "classical" instruments into his music. Crossover music owes its roots to him and Eddy Arnold in my opinion.