RIP George Jones, Pure Country Singer
I was saddened today to hear of the death of country music legend George Jones at the age of 81. As far as I am concerned, he was a white soul singer, delivering superbly crafted lyrics with immense feeling and sincerity. If you are not familiar with his singing, I can strongly recommend A Girl I Used To Know, She Thinks I Still Care, He Stopped Loving Her Today and, possibly my favourite of his hundreds of recordings, A Good Year For The Roses.
George always looked the part too because he knew how stars had to behave. I especially like his early ’60s style, as seen in these images from 1962 taken by amateur photographer Leon Kagarise and collected in a brilliant book called Pure Country
And to finish, a duet with Tammy Wynette, who during 1969-75 was the third of George Jones’ four wives. They toured occasionally after they divorced and I saw them at the Hammersmith Odeon about 25 years ago with an audience of the strangest British rednecks. George Jones was notorious for drink and drug abuse and missed so many concerts that he was known as No-Show Jones. Tammy opened the London concert and after a few songs, some impatient and worried Jones fan shouted out: “Where’s George?, to which Tammy drily retorted “Well, I don’t know, honey, and I don’t think he does either.” The great man appeared on stage shortly after and gave a memorable performance, ending with a few duets with the former Mrs Jones, who died in 1998.
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