He Stopped Loving Her Today
April 26, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Legendary country singer George "The Possum" Jones died today at the age of 81.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest country music singers of all time, Jones burst on the scene in 1959 with his hit "White Lightning," the first of 14 number one hits. You might recognize others like "She Thinks I Still Care," "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

The Possum's struggles with drugs and alcoholism were a thing of legend, even in an industry that isn't know for it's teetotalling ways. Jones' current wife, Nancy Sepulvado, is credited by Jones for helping him find sobriety. Jones once explained one of his more infamous incidents from his pre-sobriety days.
Once, when I had been drunk for several days, [then-wife] Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about 8 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 10-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.”


Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2012.
posted by entropicamericana (120 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've been rocking George all morning, especially this tune: Developing My Pictures. He was a great, great singer.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:58 AM on April 26, 2013


Recently on Mefi's own Bullseye NPR show, Jesse did a close reading of George's The Grand Tour.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:00 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]




Damn. '13 certainly has been a Good Year for the Roses.

What a good year for the roses
Many blooms still linger there
The lawn could stand another mowin
Funny I don't even care
As you turn to walk away
As the door behind you closes
The only thing I have to say
Its been a good year for the roses

posted by chavenet at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of my heroes.


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posted by spitbull at 8:03 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by drezdn at 8:03 AM on April 26, 2013


"The Race is On" (1965)
posted by entropicamericana at 8:04 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I feel tears welling up like my heart's sprung a big break
posted by spitbull at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2013


I have long been a fan of The Race is On. When I was a kid I thought it was the cleverest thing I ever heard. Still a damn fine song.

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posted by readery at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:06 AM on April 26, 2013


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He was scheduled to perform in my town in a couple of months, and just yesterday I was thinking maybe I'd better take advantage of the opportunity to see him, since he's getting on in years and I might not get another chance.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 8:06 AM on April 26, 2013


Here's a couple good essays about him: The 9 Lives of Ol' Possum and Nick Tosches famous The Grand Tour, and from Uncut, The Grand Tour Revisited.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:07 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Cash4Lead at 8:08 AM on April 26, 2013


. from this guy who was a country radio DJ for four years in the 90s.
posted by mrbill at 8:08 AM on April 26, 2013


I am a fan and this is a bummer, for sure. This episode of Re:Sound Third Coast Audio Festival about country-western music opens with an excellent piece on He Stopped Loving Her Today pulled from Studio 360, and includes a contemporary interview with Mr. Jones.
posted by item at 8:09 AM on April 26, 2013




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posted by Thorzdad at 8:10 AM on April 26, 2013


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A friend of mine once told me that you could pick up a copy of his autobiography, flip to any page at random and read something crazy. He was right.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:11 AM on April 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you never sat in a dump bar, crying into your shitty draft beer over a woman who wasn't worth the salt in your tears with the last quarter to your name making sure George Jones is on the jukebox, well, I just don't know who the fuck you are.
posted by timsteil at 8:14 AM on April 26, 2013 [30 favorites]


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posted by SuzySmith at 8:15 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by tilde at 8:18 AM on April 26, 2013


This is modern life
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:18 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who will fill his shoes?
posted by josher71 at 8:19 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


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My grandfather introduced me to George Jones and was a big fan, and he was a man who wasn't a fan of much other than his family and fishing and Illinois sports teams, so it's the kind of thing that sticks with you. He died 20+ years ago, too young, even if teenage me didn't realize that at the time. I'm surprised* how confused this death made me. Sad because George Jones is such a reminder of my mom's dad, but happy because wouldn't my grandpa find it funny that an older version of me, a kid whose stubbornness matched his and who had opinions on everything -- mostly different than his, had long ago finally realized that there was actually good country music.

* Actually, it shouldn't be too surprising that I felt this way 10 years ago when Johnny Cash died too.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:20 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Tennesseean has a nice retrospective on him (that for some reason includes a few pictures of his new house, but none of the famous lawnmower).

I was lucky enough to see him live once in 2003 or 2002 (yes, he showed up on time) and to hear that voice coming from the slightly frail man standing in front me was akin to watching a wave crash. He had pipes and could use them to great effect, sadly the tales of his life seemed to drown out his music at times.

With all due respect, I present the man proving he could look his demons in the eye, even if he couldn't control them: No Show Jones.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:20 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Respect.

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posted by vibrotronica at 8:21 AM on April 26, 2013


My mom saw Jones in the (late?) '80s, when he was trying to re-establish his career by playing small venues. It was a hell of a show, she said, and she still has photos of Jones with his arms around her and her friend.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:22 AM on April 26, 2013


I sang (or, more accurately, tried to sing) "He Stopped Loving Her Today" at karaoke once, and by the end of it my wife and a friend of hers were practically in tears (and not because I'm a terrible singer).
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:23 AM on April 26, 2013


He was one of those singers who could capture heartache like few others have ever managed. He spoke perfectly the language of sadness and hurt that country music culture used when men needed to talk about their feelings, and he did it beautifully.

Good night, George. I'll see you at the next show.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:24 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite.
posted by a shrill fucking shitstripe at 8:25 AM on April 26, 2013


I was always partial to "The King Is Gone."

He could be a goofball too you know.

Also "High Tech Redneck" and "The Writing on the Wall."

Or the James Taylor -written "Bartender's Blues."
posted by spitbull at 8:25 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by Atreides at 8:25 AM on April 26, 2013


And don't you point you finger at nobody
It's plain to see you ain't no saint yourself.

This is sad news. RIP, George.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:26 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by Damienmce at 8:26 AM on April 26, 2013


Another legend. We will be drinking White Lightning (or as near as we can get) in his honor tonight.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:30 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by hangingbyathread at 8:31 AM on April 26, 2013


In an interview shortly after his horrific car accident a few years back Jones said (and I paraphrase) "As long as there is a holiday inn lounge somewhere and I have a guitar, I can make a living," said I believe to disparage an industry that had stopped caring about the only country singer to score a top 10 hit in each of 5 decades.

I wrote an article on Jones' singing technique a few years back. I've been trying to learn it for 30 years. It wasn't just "the voice." It was superb control of musical line, pacing, speech/song movements, vibrato (or lack thereof), cry breaks, register, affect, physical presence, and drama in a song.

Dude was a musician's musician, and not everyone knows that.
posted by spitbull at 8:32 AM on April 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


Frank Sinatra once said "George Jones has the second best voice in America."

He could do it all crazy rockabilly, drinking songs and the most heart wrenching ballads.

RIP, Possum.
posted by jonmc at 8:36 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not to mention the greatest m/f duet singer ever in history. In any genre. His work with Tammy Wynette is of course famous for Golden Ring, we're Not the Jet Set, Two Story House, etc. , but he recorded amazing duets with lots of great women singers. The compilation album "Ladies' Choice" is a great record to get an overview.

I knew this was coming for a while. He's been a mess.

Please spare Merle and Willie for a while longer, cosmos. Then we are really at the end of an era.
posted by spitbull at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


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posted by texorama at 8:46 AM on April 26, 2013




God, what a voice!

I guess he's kicking out the footlights again.
posted by Red Loop at 8:47 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by ahimsakid at 8:48 AM on April 26, 2013


The Corvette Song


The great Leona Williams (most underrated female singer of the modern era, a former Mrs. Haggard too) wrote a fabulous tribute to Jones in 2008 called "Ole George."

The YouTube video has some great photos of young George Jones.
posted by spitbull at 8:53 AM on April 26, 2013


That lawnmower story may never die. Sinatra and Elvis and Michael Jackson never did anything that could compare to that which they admitted to.

It is one of those things I can imagine doing but I cannot imagine ever telling anybody about it after.
posted by bukvich at 8:55 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by ndfine at 8:58 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by El Brendano at 8:59 AM on April 26, 2013


Tennessee Whiskey

(Love song not drinking song)
posted by spitbull at 9:00 AM on April 26, 2013


"I Gotta Get Drunk."

(With Willie)
posted by spitbull at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2013


i love, love, love george jones. his voice is as familiar to me as my father's - settling into my brain before i even knew i had thoughts. i do feel conflicted about it sometimes - i'm glad it seems like he got ahold of sobriety - but there are lingering stories, stories of how he treated tammy wynette (and maybe some of his other wives?), and i find my own admiration of him problematic. it maybe helps me understand chris brown's fans a little more.

all the same...

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posted by nadawi at 9:03 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have long been a fan of The Race is On. When I was a kid I thought it was the cleverest thing I ever heard. Still a damn fine song.

When I was kid, I had a friend that I would sing that song with. We'd compete to sing who could sing it as faster. It's not my favorite song of his anymore, but it's still great.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:04 AM on April 26, 2013


As for "family and fishing and Illinois sports teams", that's pretty much how I grew up, so I have to say its pretty hard to argue with, MCMikeNamara
posted by C.A.S. at 9:04 AM on April 26, 2013


if you don't already have it, fans might enjoy kickin' out the footlights...again - george jones and merle haggard sing each others songs. for instance, merle singing she thinks i still care and george singing all my friends are strangers.
posted by nadawi at 9:12 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by bizzyb at 9:12 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by Gelatin at 9:14 AM on April 26, 2013


Not what I wanted to wake up to today. I'll miss ya, George.
posted by fishmasta at 9:17 AM on April 26, 2013


Thanks, George. Musicor-era George Jones is pretty much the apex of country music for me.

Burn Another Honky Tonk Down

Who will fill his shoes?

Maybe this is out of place for an obit thread (?) but Daniel Romano has cited George Jones as a big influence on his latest work. It's good stuff.
posted by Lorin at 9:21 AM on April 26, 2013


Every year The Right Left Hand receives Wine Colored Roses from this No Show Jones on our anniversary. We'll be at the jukebox if you need us.

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posted by jim in austin at 9:21 AM on April 26, 2013


His lawnmower story always reminds me of this video. The man could laugh at himself.
posted by worldswalker at 9:21 AM on April 26, 2013


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Another rowdy friend settles down.
posted by BeeDo at 9:24 AM on April 26, 2013


A few more classics:
What's Bad for You is Good for Me
Swinging Doors
Feeling Single, Seeing Double
Ain't Nothin' Shakin'

Disclaimer: I uploaded the first two.
posted by Lorin at 9:33 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like now it's just Jack Daniels and me.

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posted by phong3d at 9:46 AM on April 26, 2013


Simply the greatest voice to ever sing country music and a hell of a songwriter to boot. His songs and that magnificent baritone were such a huge part of falling in love with country music for me.

He will be missed.
posted by saul wright at 9:48 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by lord_wolf at 9:54 AM on April 26, 2013





posted by Wordwoman at 10:02 AM on April 26, 2013


They placed a wreath upon his door.
posted by orange swan at 10:11 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The best Christmas song is by George Jones.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:11 AM on April 26, 2013


He wasn't as good as Johnny Cash. I thought he was much, much older. I figured he was 81 back in 91. He had a rough life.
May his spirit rest easy.
posted by It is better for you not to know. at 10:13 AM on April 26, 2013


Even if there weren't so may other reasons to hate Jason Aldean's Dirt Road Anthem, the crass drive-by reference to Jones' alcoholism would be enough. Vince Gill had a better, somewhat more circumspect reference in his song One More Last Chance, which Jones liked well enough to agree to a cameo appearance in the video.

Jones had been exiled from the country mainstream long before I began listening to the genre back in the mid-1990's. The only contemporary song of his I remember hearing (and enjoying) was Wild Irish Rose.

A few months ago, however, I happened to seed a new Pandora playlist with Bobby Bare's 500 Miles Away From Home, and George Jones was one of a small number of artists whose songs appeared frequently before I began to diversify it.

Given enough repetition I'll grow tired of listening to almost any song. Eventually, I was even forced to flag Dolly Parton's Dr. Robert F. Thomas as having been overplayed. But George Jones' contributions to the playlist, including the album cut Barbara Joy, never required skipping no matter how often they were played.
posted by The Confessor at 10:16 AM on April 26, 2013


He wasn't as good as Johnny Cash.

Says you.
posted by josher71 at 10:16 AM on April 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


I loved his songs and his singing (which is inextricable from them) my whole life.

Of course, myself and some other women have discussed in the past how The Grand Tour sounds like the narrator either murdered his wife or made her so frightened (presumably beat her) she ran away without her clothes or jewelry. Because that's not something a divorcing or separating spouse is liable to do.

But that's what's so great about so many of these songs, you can construct a rich backstory (or several) because they are so full of evocative detail.

Is there any artist (Aimee Mann, maybe) who writes/sings songs like that anymore, with lyrics that aren't so drowned in production they're unintelligible?
posted by emjaybee at 10:16 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by languagehat at 10:19 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by donpardo at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2013


I love The Race is On as much as anyone but it bums me out that the name George Jones doesn't evoke more than that (or anything period!) for the average music fan of my age. Even people who love stuff like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and should love George act like the telecaster somehow ruined country music. It may be easier to see his influence in all that is bad about commercial country today, but his name ought to come up more often when people plot the course from Hank to Johnny, Merle and Waylon to the alt-country of today.
posted by Lorin at 10:36 AM on April 26, 2013


He wasn't as good as Johnny Cash.

Nobody is as good as Johnny Cash, but the Possum was pretty damn good.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:39 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by Renoroc at 10:41 AM on April 26, 2013


I don't think anyone has mentioned them yet, so:

I Always Get Lucky With You and If Drinking Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:42 AM on April 26, 2013


So blue I could cry. Farewell, George. You're still on my mind.
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posted by fikri at 10:48 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:50 AM on April 26, 2013


I love country. I grew up with country. My momma sang it to me from before birth, and it will appear at my funeral. I am amused by the stories of Jones, and his voice is a gift, and the work with Tammy is the best thing that came out of Nashville, and his wry irony is deeply under rated.

But I had one thought--my sexual life is so outside of the realm of heartbreak--post-feminism, post-queerness, living in the age of acceptable divorce, and in a culture that acknowledges the problems of monogamy, listening to Jones about heartbreak is a lot like reading Madame Bovary--an emancipatory and formal work of profound genius, that has become a drama of manners.

He is also (with the exceptions of Dolly and Loretta), the only transiton figure left, between Rockabilly and Nu Country, and between old nashville and new. He may have been discarded, by nashville at the end, b/c nu Nashville is terrible at remembering it's history--but his abilty to work in 1950 and in 2010 is pretty specatuclar, even if his late work did not provide anything as important as Travellin' On, the American Recordings, or Van Lear Rose.

(Also, his autobio may be as crazy as Miles Davis)
posted by PinkMoose at 10:50 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The lawn mower story is the one that gets mentioned all the time, but there was also the serious car crash he was in about 15 years ago, that inspired a great song by another band.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2013




What a titan of country music. What a voice. What a songbook. What a loss.

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posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:09 AM on April 26, 2013


But I had one thought--my sexual life is so outside of the realm of heartbreak--post-feminism, post-queerness, living in the age of acceptable divorce, and in a culture that acknowledges the problems of monogamy, listening to Jones about heartbreak is a lot like reading Madame Bovary--an emancipatory and formal work of profound genius, that has become a drama of manners.

That's completely the opposite of my reaction. I'm a profoundly happy person in my romantic life; I've had one relationship that's lasted for ten years and barely seen consecutive days of unhappiness, but every single George Jones song about heartbreak feels still feels intensely personal to me. I always hear "The Grand Tour" as my life if I fucked up my marriage, even though I don't expect that to happen.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:09 AM on April 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


He was even good at making fun of himself, as in No Show Jones

I've got to admit, I grew up on Tammy Wynette & George Jones, Johnny Cash & June Carter, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Bill Anderson. I think the last country singers I followed much were Garth Brooks, and George Strait. I just don't listen much anymore, it doesn't even seem to be remotely the same genre.
posted by pbrim at 11:15 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was going to catch him at the South Carolina State Fair a few years ago but, true to form, he cancelled. The world is a less interesting place today.
posted by ND¢ at 11:22 AM on April 26, 2013


Oh man, I've mentioned this on Metafilter before, but George Jones and B.B. King did a great version of Clarence Carter's "Patches."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:22 AM on April 26, 2013


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posted by Rykey at 11:38 AM on April 26, 2013


That lawnmower story may never die.

Y'know, I never made the connection until now... but it makes me wonder where David Lynch got the idea for The Straight Story...
posted by Rykey at 12:06 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rykey

You didn't know The Straight Story was (loosely) based on real events?

You're in for a treat.
posted by The Confessor at 12:13 PM on April 26, 2013


Nice, thanks. And considering Hollywood's definition of "based on a true story," we can still both be right.
posted by Rykey at 12:22 PM on April 26, 2013


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posted by jquinby at 12:33 PM on April 26, 2013


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(RIP to one of the last remaining artists both me and my grandparents could agree were great.)
posted by saulgoodman at 12:45 PM on April 26, 2013


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posted by Aizkolari at 1:07 PM on April 26, 2013


Also given his nickname are we sure he's gone?
posted by Aizkolari at 1:07 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's singin' duets with Tammy again.

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posted by kjh at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2013


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posted by X | ANA | X at 1:54 PM on April 26, 2013


If I could replace my (admittedly fucking STUPID) username with a new one, it would be The George Jones Rhythm Ranch.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:57 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


ouch
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posted by jcrcarter at 2:05 PM on April 26, 2013


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posted by zinon at 3:32 PM on April 26, 2013


RIP George. Now, I know you missed a few gigs down here on earth over the years, maybe a little too much alky-hol in you, and whatnot, but I know you're gonna make the gig in heaven.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:52 PM on April 26, 2013


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posted by bjgeiger at 3:53 PM on April 26, 2013


He wasn't as good as Johnny Cash.

Qualitative comparisons like "as good as" have no objective meaning when discussing music and musicians. *Good* is what you like. I happen to like George and Johnny both, and I can't imagine why I'd compare them qualitatively. They were so very different.

Anyway, both great.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:56 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


This sad news makes me want to have a drink. Or three.
posted by freakazoid at 4:05 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by lapolla at 5:00 PM on April 26, 2013


Grew up listening to George Jones. Very sad indeed.

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posted by foxhat10 at 5:09 PM on April 26, 2013


Must've Been Drunk -George and Merle Haggard. One of the great barroom songs.
posted by jonmc at 5:14 PM on April 26, 2013


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posted by geekyguy at 6:12 PM on April 26, 2013


When I was back home last spring, I introduced my oldest nephew to George Jones. He texted me with the sad news. So, for both of us:

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posted by dogrose at 6:13 PM on April 26, 2013


Sigh. Bob Brozman, now George. "Still Doin Time" was one of my first iTunes buys.
RIP, George .
April sure has sucked so far.
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posted by Fibognocchi at 6:45 PM on April 26, 2013


Jones was by far a greater singer than Cash and Cash would have said so. On a technical level it's not even a match. Cash's hriff vibratoless gravel pot was incredibly exptessive of his characters and his message, but Jones, my friends, could SING as well --and as expressively -- as anyone else in the history of popular music.

He didn't invent his style. He was singing (like everyone) in the flat Hank Williams "hillbilly" voice for his first few records. Lefty Frizzell, from Corsicana (same Texas oil patch musical culture as Jones' Beaumont) created the melismatic and cry-break heavy style Jones would subsequently master.

But master it he did, and made it his own.
posted by spitbull at 7:01 PM on April 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Potomac Avenue's link to that 1999 No Depression article at Living In Stereo is great - a sharp, fitting tribute, not least because it gives credit to Jone's collaboration with his then-new wife Tammy Wynette's producer Billy Sherrill, who helped Jones to his mid-70s peak. As much as I love the early Starday stuff, the meat of Jones' career happened when he met Sherrill:

Yet it wasn’t until he began collaborating with Billy Sherrill that George Jones finally found his one true voice. “I called Billy ‘the little genius’,” George told me when we talked, “because he really was; he always came up with new ideas and different arrangements.” Sherrill encouraged Jones to sing in his lower, more expressive register, and more often than not, he found George strong songs...But it was Sherrill’s arrangements that mattered most, especially on the ballads.

Drawing on his background in southern gospel, as well as his tenures at Muscle Shoals’ Fame Studios and the final days of Sun, Sherrill made records driven by a soul-inspired rhythm new to country music...

The music Jones made with Sherrill is as powerful as any country music ever made–as potent as any music ever created within the broad tradition of American popular song. Jones’ and Sherrill’s body of work is the easy equal of Sinatra’s Capital years, Elvis’ non-soundtrack recordings for RCA, Aretha’s peak years at Atlantic, James Brown’s classic years at King, as strong as the finest performances of any great singer you care to name. Occasionally, the Jones-Sherrill lightning was bottled in great albums, such as 1973’s A PICTURE OF ME (WITHOUT YOU), 1975’s THE BATTLE, and 1980’s I AM WHAT I AM. More often, it was captured within the three-minute restrictions of devastating but beautiful singles, each one whispering secrets of the human heart...the team’s artistic peak came in 1974 and ‘75 when a quartet of releases–”The Grand Tour,” “The Door,” “These Days I Barely Get By” (a George and Tammy composition), and “Memories Of Us”–wove the story of one man pacing a lonely house, searching for peace.


For what it's worth, the third of that closing list of mid-70s tunes, "These Days I Barely Get By," is almost never mentioned as one of Jones' best, but give it a listen and it might become your new fave heartbreak song:

I woke up this morning
Aching with pain
Don't think I can work
But I'll try

The car's in the shop
So I thumbed all the way
Oh these days I barely get by

I walked home from work
And it rained all the way
My wife left and didn't say why
She laid all our bills
On the desk in the hall
Oh, these days I barely get by

Put my only two dollars
On my favorite horse
He lost by a nose
And I cried
My boss says come winter
We'll all be laid off
Oh these days I barely get by

These days I barely get by
I want to give up

Lay down

And die

Worst of all
Was when she told me
Goodbye
Whoa, these days I barely get by
Whoa, these days one barely gets by


Perfection. The saddest, simplest country song you could ever hope to hear.
posted by mediareport at 8:30 PM on April 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


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posted by rahnefan at 7:18 AM on April 27, 2013


There will never be another George Jones.

I always wondered why he never got the Rick Rubin treatment- he could have easily become just as popular in the mainstream as Cash was in his later years.

A tiny part of me is kind of glad those of us who cringe whenever someone says "anything but country" got to keep him to ourselves, but mostly I wish he had gotten the audience he deserved, and that more people from all walks of life had gotten to hear his amazing music.

Maybe they will now.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:54 PM on April 27, 2013


It's taking me a while to gather my thoughts about this, but here's what I think:

George Jones came from a time when, as a broad generalization, country music was for people from the country. The same way hip-hop was before it crossed into the mainstream- it was music by and for a very specific group of people who lived in a specific kind of place. Of course some people in the city listened to country, but it had its own charts and its own radio stations and its own kind of person who went to the shows.

I don't want to turn this into a thing about "everywhere in America becoming the same" because I don't think that's really a bad thing- it's certainly done wonders for civil rights, just to name one example.

But there won't be another George Jones for the same reason there won't be another John Lee Hooker- because that time and place is gone forever.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:17 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Grew up on George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty. Always thought 'Stopped Loving Her Today' was the quintessential country song. Saw Lynn just a few years ago and she was wonderful. Was hoping to see Jones live before it was too late.

He connected me to my parents and grandparents, and at every family reunion it seems like half my family reminds me of Jones. Huge loss. RIP.
posted by justgary at 1:22 PM on April 27, 2013


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posted by genehack at 1:37 PM on April 27, 2013


I came to George Jones through Elvis Costello's fandom, particularly his Almost Blue album and appearance on Jones' My Very Special Guests. From there, the two-disc Anniversary retrospective was my gateway drug. One of my favorite singers in any genre. Just as I can always listen to Gardel, I can always put on some George. I'm sorry he's gone; what a body of work he leaves us.

aav.
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posted by the sobsister at 7:21 PM on April 27, 2013


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posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:48 AM on May 1, 2013


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