Although First Time Live was Jones's first live album sanctioned by Epic, vintage June 1965 live recordings had surfaced which would eventually be released in the CD format under the title Live at Dancetown U.S.A. on the British Ace label. It is remarkable that Jones, who toured for most of his adult life very successfully, remained such an under-recorded live performer, unlike many of his contemporaries such as Johnny Cash. Consequently, Live at Dancetown U.S.A. has become a fascinating document from Jones's heydey in the Texas honky tonks; it features the country star roaring through his biggest hits (including a more than credible cover of the rock and roll song "Bony Moronie") and offering between-song patter, such as when he tells the audience that he's taking a "liquor mission" halfway through the set.
First Time Live, which sounds tame by comparison, was recorded in the fall of 1984 but wasn't released to stores until 1985. While not nearly as historically relevant as Live at Dancetown U.S.A., First Time Live offers a glimpse into what Jones's live shows were like the late-1980s, which almost always started with "No Show Jones", a song he recorded with Haggard that pokes fun at the Possum's infamous reputation for missing shows due to drunkenness (bandleader Ron Gaddis would sing Haggard's part in concert). In 2006 Jones would tell Billboard, "It's true, I did miss quite a few dates. But they wouldn't have wanted to see or hear me anyhow, the shape I was in. Now I know it did hurt my fans in a way and I've always been sad about that, it really bothered me for a long time...Even if they got their money back...they still lost the chance to see somebody they loved to hear sing, and I cheated them out of that." Another highlight is a medley of old hits, which includes Jones's 1974 masterpiece "The Grand Tour".
On tour Jones was always backed by the Jones Boys. Like Buck Owens's Buckaroos and Merle Haggard's Strangers, Jones worked with many musicians who were great talents in their own right. These included Dan Schafer, Hank Singer, Brittany Allyn, Sonny Curtis, Kent Goodson, Bobby Birkhead, and Steve Hinson. In the 1980s and 1990s, bass player Ron Gaddis served as the Jones Boys' bandleader and sang harmony with George in concert. Lorrie Morgan (who married Gaddis) also toured as a backup singer for Jones in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Johnny Paycheck was the Jones Boys' bass player in the 1960s before going on to his own stardom in the 1970s.
There were no singles released from the album, which barely cracked the top 50 on the Billboard country albums chart. The album does include a version of "She's My Rock", which had been a hit single in 1984. Jones biographer Bob Allen trashes the album, calling it one of the "real artistic nadirs" of this period and deeming it "a tired collection of concert recordings whose general shoddiness is even reflected in its historically inaccurate title."