Archive for George Jones

George Jones, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags on April 26, 2013 by 30daysout
george-jones1

George Jones 1931-2013

It’s been a bad week for music. George Jones, the greatest of the old-school country singers, has died at the age of 81.

He was originally from Saratoga in deep East Texas and even after he became famous he was a familiar sight in places like Beaumont. When we worked for a newspaper in Southeast Texas it was almost a routine assignment for someone to go out and cover a George Jones performance – he pretty much played the same standard set during that period (late 1970s-early 1980s) but it was always big news when ol’ Possum came to town.

We also talked a lot to his wife Nancy, who was a key figure in getting George off the sauce in the 1980s. They opened a Branson-style music venue, Jones Country Park, in 1983, where you could camp (mostly in RVs) and walk over to see people perform at an amphitheater. George played some shows there, and they were great.

George was still living near Beaumont when the infamous “riding lawn mower” incident took place sometime in the 1960s. He was married to his second wife and she … let’s have  George himself tell it, from his book I Lived To Tell It All:

“Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn’t walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left.

“But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat; a key glistening in the ignition.

“I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.”

Sometime this weekend, treat yourself and play a George Jones record. He was one of a kind.

George Jones obituary and photos at the Beaumont Enterprise

BONUS: Listen and download songs about George Jones (thanks to WFMU-FM)

YouTube: “White Lightning” from 1959

YouTube: “He Stopped Loving Her Today” from 1980

YouTube: “Honky Tonk Song” from 1996

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: George Jones & Tammy Wynette

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , on January 23, 2011 by 30daysout

We had a lot of fun a few weeks ago with the duet album featuring Gregg Allman and his wife at the time, Cher.  So much fun, in fact, that I’ve dug up a few more duet LPs from my sister’s record collection, and we’ll be spinning those in the next few weeks.  Today we have a duet album from two artists who also happened to be husband and wife: George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

So we have Golden Ring, from 1976, which is one of about 10 albums recorded by the two country icons but it’s usually considered to be their best.  Jones, the honey-voiced singer with a long line of country hits, and Wynette, herself no slouch in the hits department, married in 1969. Jones was no stranger to duets – he had previously cut duet albums with Melba Montgomery and the male singer Gene Pitney (“Town Without Pity”). When Jones-Wynette went into the recording studio together, they were really extending a time-honored tradition in pop music. The early 1960s saw duets from the likes of Paul and Paula, Dale and Grace and Marvin Gaye-Mary Wells.  George n’ Tammy weren’t even the first husband-wife duet team: Steve & Eydie worked in the 1950s, and in the ’60s of course you had Johnny & June, Ike & Tina and Sonny & Cher. But here’s the twist: when they cut Golden Ring, George and Tammy were divorced!

Golden Ring was the seventh duet album cut by Jones-Wynette, and it took as its title tune a story conceived by Nashville songwriter Bobby Braddock.  He saw a TV show about a handgun that changed hands, and the drama showed the consequences of each person’s experiences with the gun. Braddock transferred the idea to a wedding ring and a series of incidents through the life of a young couple. Being a country song, you know how it goes: the couple are all lovey-dovey in the first verse, they get married in the second verse and the third verse takes us down the road as they break up when she tosses the ring on the floor and walks out.

Naturally “Golden Ring” was a No. 1 country single. So was “Near You,” the followup single that charted in 1977.  Maybe the fact that their divorce was still fresh and they had a young daughter gave extra emotion to the vocal performances. You can hear for yourself, these two singers were at the top of their game, and they had some great material to work with. Perhaps the best song here is “I’ve Seen Better Days,” which tells the story of a D-I-V-O-R-C-E and features a nakedly emotional performance by Wynette.

The album is full of cleverly chosen covers: “Cryin’ Time” was a Ray Charles song, “I’ll Be There” was a hit for Ray Price, as was “If You Don’t Somebody Else Will.” “Tattletale Eyes” is a perfect jukebox song, and “Keep The Change” ends the album with two lovers talking and goin’ over the good times.  Billy Sherrill produced this album, as he did all of Wynette’s recordings, and it has a satisfying blend of classic country touches (the weepy steel guitar) and orchestral flourishes that would later become the countrypolitan sound. Jones’ older records were rougher and rawer (perhaps more influenced by the rowdier Bakersfield sound), and when he left Musicor and went to Epic to work with Sherrill his sound became smoother and pop-oriented.

Wynette went on to marry a couple more times after her divorce from Jones; her final marriage, to producer George Richey in 1978, lasted until her death in 1998. Jones would go into his notorious drug-and-alcohol period, earning the nickname “No Show Jones” for missing his booked shows.  He married Nancy Sepulvado in 1983 and she not only became his manager, she also helped him dry out. Now a 79-year-old godfather of country music, George Jones continues to perform and show the young guys how it’s really done.

MP3: “Golden Ring”

MP3: “Tattletale Eyes”

MP3: “I’ve Seen Better Days”

MP3: “Cryin’ Time”

Fourth of July Party!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2009 by 30daysout

While we take a few days off to celebrate our country’s birthday, you are welcome to enjoy the enclosed music at your summer party.  See ya!

MP3: “The Star Spangled Banner” (studio version) by the Jimi Hendrix Experience

MP3: “4th Of July” (demo) by X

MP3: “Amusement Parks U.S.A.” by the Beach Boys

MP3: “Dynamite” by Son Volt

MP3: “4th of July” by Shooter Jennings w/George Jones

MP3: “Chimes Of Freedom” by Bob Dylan & Joan Osborne

MP3: “This Hard Land” (live) by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

MP3: “Momma Miss America” by Paul McCartney

MP3: “Hotdogs and Hamburgers” by John Cougar Mellencamp

MP3: “Free and Freaky” by the Stooges

MP3: “City of New Orleans” by Steve Goodman

MP3: “American Tune” by Paul Simon

MP3: “Living In The Promiseland” by Willie Nelson

MP3: “American Woman” (live) by the Guess Who

MP3: “Back In The U.S.A.” by Chuck Berry

MP3: “Shout Bamalama” by Eddie Hinton

And a few requests:

MP3: “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” by the Hollies

MP3: “BBQ and Foam” (live) by Joe Ely

30 Days Out (From Christmas): Country

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2008 by 30daysout

 redneck-ornaments

Day 19 – Nothing goes better with Christmas than sadness.  And nothing goes better with a sad Christmas than cheap beer and country music.  The “classic” country music artists knew this, and they cranked out some of the hoariest tearjerkers of all time.

A word here about country music – we’re going to avoid the current so-called country music artists.  For one thing, I don’t know what the hell these people are doin’!  It sure doesn’t sound like country music.  And of course we’ll steer clear of Grandma and Reindeer crossings, so pull up a box of Kleenex and shed a few tears for Christmas.

MP3: “Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus” by George Jones & Tammy Wynette

MP3: “If We Make It Through December” by Merle Haggard

MP3: “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” by Buck Owens

MP3: “Hard Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton

MP3: “Christmas Time’s A-Coming” by Jerry Reed

MP3: “Pretty Paper” by Willie Nelson

MP3: “Mommy, Look Santa Is Crying” by Stonewall Jackson

MP3: “Christmas Without Daddy” by Loretta Lynn

MP3: “Shut In At Christmas” by Charlie Louvin

MP3: “Truckin’ Trees For Christmas” by Red Simpson

MP3: “Light Of The Stable” by Emmylou Harris (with Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Neil Young)

MP3: “The Little Drummer Boy” by Johnny Cash

MP3: Johnny Cash Holiday Message

MP3: “O Come All Ye Faithful” by George Jones

MP3: “Silent Night” by Jim Reeves

MP3: “White Christmas” by Tammy Wynette

MP3: “Jingle Bells” by Chet Atkins

A Dozen Country Classics

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2008 by 30daysout

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So I’m sitting here thinking, “what kind of post would be good to follow a review of Madonna’s concert?”  Of course – country music!  One dozen of the best, coming right up. 

MP3: “It’s Been So Long Darling” by Ernest Tubb

MP3: “Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline

MP3: “Cold, Cold Heart” by Hank Williams

MP3: “Swinging Doors” by Merle Haggard

MP3: “I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart” by Patsy Montana

MP3: “Tennessee Flat Top Box” by Johnny Cash

MP3: “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn

MP3: “Long Black Veil” by Lefty Frizzell

MP3: “Act Naturally” by Buck Owens

MP3: “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones

MP3: “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette

MP3: “New San Antonio Rose” by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys

Review: “Burn Your Playhouse Down,” George Jones

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by 30daysout

Burn Your Playhouse Down is an album of duets with George Jones and a Rolodex of his musician buddies, some of whom are also country music singers.  For my money, George Jones is one of the greatest of all country singers even now, his 55th year in show business.  Burn Your Playhouse Down collects previously unreleased 12 collaborations with people like Mark Knopfler, Keith Richards, Leon Russell, Vince Gill and Shelby Lynne.  And it’s pretty good: at age 77, Jones favors the duet format because it takes some of the pressure off him carrying the song all by himself. 

The fact that they were unreleased is telling – these songs didn’t make it for reasons obvious upon listening.  Many were recorded in the late 1980s – early 90s and are either overproduced or just plain crappy.  Despite the lackluster material, Jones and his guest stars manage to wring vocal highlights out of a few tunes: both Richards and Jones could have been drunk when they cut the title song and it’s great fun and really the only one here that evokes Jones’ peak, boozing party days.  Revisiting “You’re Still On My Mind” (originally a 1960s Jones hit but most famously covered by the Byrds) with Marty Stuart is a good move; so is the uptempo “Tavern Choir” (although its tune is scarily similar to “The Gambler”) with Jim Lauderdale.  Mark Chestnutt and Shelby Lynne fare most poorly, maybe their dull duets should have remained unreleased.  The cuts of most interest are the closing track, “Lovin’ You Lovin’ Me,” a 1977 outtake with then-wife Tammy Wynette, and the 2007 “You And Me And Time,” sung with George and Tammy’s daughter Georgette Jones.  Take it or leave it – at its worst, Burn Your Playhouse Down still features the great George Jones.  In my book, that’s always a plus.

MP3: “You’re Still On My Mind” by George Jones and Marty Stuart

George Jones official website

UPDATE: On Friday, Sept. 12, George Jones will be 77 years old.  Check this out.