Sunday, May 9, 2010

George Jones

George Jones I came late to George Jones. I came late to country music generally, but I already had Kitty, Patsy, both Hanks, Merle, Buck, and Eddy before I happened upon a cassette copy of The Best Of George Jones at Future Shop. It may have been the only recording I ever bought at Future Shop. Then I found The Essential George Jones: The Spirit Of Country, and some local library back home, and I merged the 2 here.

George Jones

Why Baby Why – Classic stuff. Well she’s done him wrong, we can hear that. But this isn’t just accusations; it’s the momentous question of the title. It’s rhetorical and not rhetorical, all at the same time. His debut single, this was a top 10 country hit in 1955.
Just One More – Get into that waltz mood, and have one more drink just to forget her. From 1956.
Color Of The Blues – Seeing sadness in everything. It’s that cry in his voice that makes it all so powerful. From 1958.
White Lightning – Written by The Big Bopper. This song about moonshine was Jones’ first pop hit, and his highest charting, reaching number 73 in the spring of 1959.
Who Shot Sam – A western drama, with a great rhythm. From the summer of 1959.
• The Window Up Above – A song about lost opportunities, and they are always much better and more solid in our imagination.
Tender Years – A woman’s choice of a partner (who isn’t George) ascribed to her youth. Anything but face the reality…From the winter of 1961.
Achy Breaky Heart – Years before Billy Ray Cyrus. “You think that hurtin’ me” says our hero, “will make me love you more.” Sometimes relationships just don’t make sense….
She Thinks I Still Care – Huge, this song. Can’t count the recordings. Off hand, though, I remember Cher, and someone just clued me in to Harry Connick, Jr. Ok. A song about the art of denial, how our true feelings get around regardless of what we think or say or do. George, of course, knows it all too well. In real life it’s not so up front. Hurray for country music.
A Girl I Used To Know – It’s true, someone who is up front and centre in your life can become nothing but background noise. Sad.
We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds – A duet with Melba Moore. About making the wrong choices. The road is so straight here: we split, hooked up with others, and both regretted our respective choices. Well okaaaayyy.
You Comb Her Hair – A silly song about parenthood.
• My Favourite Lies – Another song about denial. Not much room for the unconscious in country songs…
She’s Mine – One of those trick songs like 18 Yellow Roses. The girl he’s singing about, the one he pines for whose heart belongs to another, is his little girl, and she’s pining for her mother who “left this world.” I don’t have patience for this.
I’ll Share My World With You – Just a plain and simple statement of what good love is all about. If only…
The Race Is On – The whole metaphor thing about love losing and heartache winning, it’s cute. Really though, it’s silly. Jones, though, sings it with such conviction that he redeems the whole mess. This was a small hit for Jones in the winter of 1965, and a much bigger one for Jack Jones (no relation) in the spring of the same year.
Love Bug – Another silly song. This one is happy, and it’s not what Jones does best. Jack Jones took this one too, put it on the chart late in 1965, but he was better at this sort of thing.
I’m A People – Jones in a playful mood. Ok for a while, but please, bring on the heartache…
• Walk Through This World With Me – I’ll share my world with you, he said in earlier song. Here it’s not his world, it’s just the world, and it’s just a different way of looking at the same phenomenon.
If My Heart Had Windows – An interesting idea. We’d see a lot of blood…
A Good Year For The Roses – Dave Marsh writes about how chauvinistic a goodbye song this is, and surely he is correct, and how “the oaf stands there talking about his garden.” Sure he does, but that’s the point, isn’t it. Life is falling apart, but meanwhile life around us goes on, the grass grows and needs mowing, the roses are in bloom, maybe even the Canadiens won last night’s game. And of course the way he sings it, well, what more can I say.
We Can Make It – Just another song about facing down the odds…
The Ceremony – A wedding song, with Tammy Wynette. Very syrupy, but I love Tammy.
Loving You Could Never Be Better – …than it is today. But wait, what about tomorrow, George?
A Picture Of Me (Without You)
We’re Gonna Hold On – With Tammy Wynette.
Once You’ve Had The Best
The Door
Grand Tour – George takes on the subject of war, and puts his own distinct personal slant on it.
These Days (I Barely Get By)
Golden Ring
Her Name Is – A silly song about adultery.
Near You – A hit for Roger Williams, but this is the first time I heard the words.
Bartender Blues – James Taylor’s version of workingman blues.
Maybelline – Chuck Berry rock and roll, country style.
Two Story House – Another record with Tammy Wynette. The story of how the different parts of our dreams don’t seem to work in synch.
He Stopped Loving Her Today – Songs about death don’t usually work, but this on does. Great stuff, classic country. George Jones
I’m Not Ready Yet – A relationship that’s constantly on the brink. It’s a song about a very phenomenon, and when he’s ready, he’ll know it.
If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will) – Nothing says “country” like drinking to forget a heartache. And nothing says “country” like it doesn’t work.
Still Doin’ Time
Same Ole Me
Yesterday’s Wine – George does Willy Nelson.
I Always Get Lucky With You – A great song about a long-lasting love. Cf Merle Haggard’s Let’s Chase Each Other Round The Room Tonight. • We Didn’t See A Thing
Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes – A tribute song.
I’m A One Woman Man – George does Johnny Horton.

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