Saturday, April 27, 2013

George Jones takes his final bow


George Jones, the country singer Gram Parsons called the king of broken hearts, has died, aged 81. He lived far longer than anyone could have expected, given his chaotic, self-destructive lifestyle. Anyone who thinks rock stars invented the drugs, sex and booze culture could commence their re-education by reading the New York Times obituary here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/arts/music/george-jones-country-singer-dies-at-81.html?pagewanted=all 
No-Show Jones, as he became known due to his notorious unreliability, recorded a lot of dire material, but no one ever sang a painful country ballad better. The most famous example was his 1980 comeback hit He Stopped Loving Her Today, a wondrously overwrought tearjerker from which he wrung every ounce of sentiment.

My other personal favourite comes from his 1994 album The Bradley Barn Sessions, on which Jones performed with a stellar lineup of country and rock luminaries, among them Keith Richards and Mark Knopfler. On the track Where Grass Won’t Grow, he was joined by Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Trisha Yearwood. If you’re not into country music (and we have to accept that many people just don’t get it), you could easily dismiss this song as pure hokum. I would never waste my time playing it for some of my friends, who, for all their virtues, are musical bigots.  But I think it’s just magnificent.
If God's a country music lover, as I'm sure He is, he'll be waiting to welcome Jones at the Pearly Gates. The question is, will he turn up?

3 comments:

JC said...

I suppose a cursory look at our music library would be sufficient for the average baby boomer and generations thereafter to assume we had an unhealthy interest in C&W.

I played the Missus some George Jones last night and indeed one of your picks above and whilst there really is no bad C&W the expression on her face reminded me of her hand wringing just washed nappies 40 odd years ago.. sort of pleasure/yuck.

So he's not our favourite.. some of his early stuff is tinny and some other is overwrought and not a patch on Hank Williams Sn.

On a different tack.. when we travelled back in the 80s with our kids they had to put up with the new fangled tapes of C&W and music of the 60s.. they hated it but I note these days they sing these songs with gusto and know every word; a few years ago we exchanged cars with a daughter and noted with amusement her radio was tuned into music from 40 years ago.

There's hope..

JC

Jigsaw said...

Musicial bigots for reason! When admitted to hospital drummer Buddy Rich was asked if he was alergic to anything "country music" he replied. My sort of guy!

TomBrash said...

du Fresne instead of wasting Dom Post space by attacking Russel Norman, how about doing some serious reporting about a very scary issue he raised during the week that was swept under the carpet by the media.
He pointed out that National is going to borrow another 60 billion over the next 5 years - that's on top of the 80 billion that National has already borrowed. So in 5 years time every New Zealander will fundamentally owe $28,000 each to pay off this National deficit.
How the media can call this great economic management is beyond me.
By the way - who are you trying to kid putting a profile picture up of you at 20 years old. How about getting it real and showing the current 70 year old du Fresne instead.