I’ve read countless times that he’s one of the defining acts of country music and for a long time wanted to explore his work, but there’s one problem: I don’t know where to start. He’s one of those artists with a long spanning career, gazillion label changes, countless albums and compilations, so I need a little guidance.
A little background: as a teenager, I thought of country as dull, backwards trucker music. Boy, was I wrong, as I noticed after working my way back to it, like many others, via the Stones, Dylan, the Byrds and the like. I’m still leaning more to country rock and harder edged, folksy or soulful country than anything syrupy or pop-schlock Nashville sound. I prefer Bakersfield to Nashville (not that there’s anything wrong with Nashville per se, Dylan recorded some of his best work there, but I hope you get my gist). So I like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and of course Hank Williams and stuff like that. As I gather, George Jones had a broad range of styles, but I’m mostly interested in the honky tonk stuff.
I have accounts for Spotify, Deezer and Simfy and therefore have access to much of his work, but you have to wade through tons of cheap compilations to get to the good stuff. My main interests is in classic albums, but with an artist like him, it’s always worth checking out quality compilations, too. Links to crucial songs are of course also welcome.
That may be very well true. I’ll add them to my playlist.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a good country ballad, even love some real tearjerkers. But sometimes there are songs (in any genre, btw.) which just pass the line between heartfelt and kitsch, and these I want to avoid. Of course you don’t know that particular line of mine (I couldn’t define it myself), so I’ll try out any suggestions given here in this thread. I’m always open to good music.
I grew up in the foothills where the only radio station we could get was WWVA–Big Country!
Until I was a teenager and found Larry Loujacks on WLS from Chicago late at night, I thought country was all there was.
I would recommend watching/listening to the YouTube videos from the Porter Waggoner show, with George Jones on it. Also, look up songs where he pairs with Sammi Smith, Tammy Wynette (his wife at one time), and any other prominent female singer of the time. To me, that’s when George sang his best.
Just listening to that song and noticed that I know it from the Michael Nesmith version. Love it.
ETA: and that’s another example for the fine line between sappy and embarassing. Listened before to He stopped loving her today, and this went over the line. When it comes to the spoken part, I just can’t take it anymore…
There’s a duet album with Tammy Wynette called, duh, Duets. It’s in my playlist now. I don’t know the music yet, but oh, the hairstyle on the cover, especially the sideburns! What people did to themselves in the seventies.
ETA: listening to Two Story House right now. Yeah, that’s to my liking.
I listened to that album once yesterday and a second time right now, and then I was in country heaven, so much I liked it. I especially liked After Closing Time (now that’s a topic a country song should be about) and Did You Ever (very clever).
If anybody has yet suggestions for certain albums or compilations, please post it. I think this an easier way to explore an artist than by single songs, IMHO.