The Gospel Collection

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The Gospel Collection
Studio album by George Jones
Released April 4, 2003
Genre Country, gospel
Length 76:28
Label Bandit Records
Producer Billy Sherrill
George Jones chronology
The Rock: Stone Cold Country 2001
(2001)
The Gospel Collection
(2003)
50 Years of Hits
(2004)

The Gospel Collection is an album by American country music singer George Jones, released on April 4, 2003 on the Bandit Records label.

Background[edit]

Jones's fondness for gospel music is well documented. The singer revealed to Jessica Walden of The 11th Hour magazine that his first musical memory was singing in church with his mother Clara and, in the 1989 documentary Same Ole Me, he recalls that he learned how to play the guitar at the church where his mother, a devout woman, played piano. The church was run by Brother Burl Stephens (with whom Jones would credit as co-writer of several songs on his 1959 gospel album Country Church Time) and Sister Annie, who George remembered "taught me my first chords on the guitar, like C, G, and D and things like that, and I started hangin' out over there more often. She'd get her guitar and we'd pick and sing together...We used to do all the really old gospel songs." Jones love of gospel music actually predated his exposure to country music, which he would not hear until his family acquired their first radio. Jones had also recorded a gospel album with his then-wife Tammy Wynette in 1972 called We Love To Sing About Jesus on Epic Records, which had been produced by Billy Sherrill. For nearly two decades, Jones and Sherrill would form one of the most successful artist/producer relationships in country music history, which included the recording of "He Stopped Loving Her Today", until Jones left Sony Music for MCA Nashville in 1991. Sherrill had actually been retired for years near the end of their run, producing only Jones. He came out of retirement to produce The Gospel Collection. Jones decision to record the album is said to have been informed by his near-fatal crash in 1999, when he ran his SUV off the road while driving drunk. The crash was a significant turning point, as he explained to Billboard in 2006: "...when I had that wreck I made up my mind, it put the fear of God in me. No more smoking, no more drinking."

Reception[edit]

Jones's 58th album peaked at number 19 on the Billboard country albums chart and number 3 on the Billboard Christian albums chart. It received positive reviews but it was also the first album that - after fifty years of singing, forty years of drinking, and literally thousands of shows - reveals cracks in the singer's legendary, mercurial voice. Thom Jurek of AllMusic notes: "There is no doubt he is still a great singer, but his ability to throw his voice around and hit the higher notes in his baritone register is all but gone. With his more limited stylistic vernacular, however, Jones digs deep and gets the tunes across, making them swing and sway with emotion and honky tonk swagger." John Morthland of Amazon.com compliments Sherrill's production, writing that "Circuit-preacher’s son Billy Sherrill, who guided Jones’s 1970s commercial ascension, came out of retirement to produce these 24 songs (on two discs) and, especially for a guy accused back then of gussying up country too much, he forges an austere sound."

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link

Track listing[edit]

Disc one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Amazing Grace"   John Newton 3:23
2. "It Is No Secret"   Stuart Hamblen 3:12
3. "Just a Little Talk with Jesus"   Cleavant Derricks 2:11
4. "Never Grow Old"   James C. Moore 3:19
5. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"   Traditional 2:50
6. "Why Me Lord?"   Billy April 2:58
7. "I'll Fly Away"   Albert E. Brumley 3:00
8. "Precious Memories"   Traditional 4:16
9. "Just a Closer Walk with Thee"   Traditional 3:01
10. "In the Garden"   C. Austin Miles, Johann Pachelbel 3:28
11. "Lonesome Valley"   Traditional 3:39
12. "When Mama Sang (The Angels Stopped to Listen)"   Danny Walls, Bob Warren 3:32
Disc two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Peace in the Valley"   Thomas A. Dorsey 3:26
2. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"   Charles Crozat Converse, Joseph M. Scriven 4:13
3. "Softly and Tenderly"   Will Lamartine Thompson 3:08
4. "The Lily of the Valley"   William Charles Fry, William Shakespeare Hays 2:35
5. "The Old Rugged Cross"   George Bennard 3:13
6. "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms"   Elisha Hoffman, Anthony Johnson Showalter 3:04
7. "Family Bible"   Walt Breeland, Paul Buskirk, Claude Gray 3:33
8. "Mansion Over the Hilltop"   Ira Stanphill 3:34
9. "If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again"   James Rowe, James W. Vaughan 3:19
10. "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be"   A. P. Bland, A. S. Bridgewater 3:21
11. "Jesus Hold My Hand"   Brumley 3:31
12. "I Know a Man Who Can"   Jack Campbell, Jimmie Davis 4:02

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Top Christian Albums 3
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 19
U.S. Billboard 200 131

External links[edit]