Sings Country and Western Hits
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|Sings Country and Western Hits|
|Studio album by George Jones|
|George Jones chronology|
Sings Country and Western Hits would be Jones's last album with Mercury. As Colin Escott observes in the liner notes to the Jones retrospective Cup of Loneliness: The Classic Mercury Years, "Mercury lost George just as he was on the verge of ruling the charts. Art Talmadge had left Mercury Records and gone to United Artists and when George's Mercury contract expired at the end of 1961, Pappy (Daily, Jones's producer and mentor) took him to U.A. The first single, the classic "She Thinks I Still Care," was one of seven records George would chart in 1962.
Sings Country and Western Hits features hits made famous by other artists but also include songs closely identified with Jones, especially "The WIndow Up Above". As the singer explained to Nick Tosches in 1994, "I wrote it in about twenty minutes. I just came in off the road, about eight in the morning. While breakfast was being fixed, I just sat down in the den and picked up the guitar, and it was as simple as that. Sometimes it’s hard to even figure where the ideas come from." In his book George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend, Bob Allen notes that when Jones recorded the song in 1960, "he sang it in a taut, almost offhand manner that called to mind the style of one of his heroes, Lefty Frizzell. He sang it in a manner which merely insinuated the presence of the wild, barely suppressed emotions seething just under the surface..." The song remained on the country charts for more than eight months, and George even had Nudie Cohn make him a stage suit based on it, a chartreuse affair replete with faces peering forlornly from sequin-stitched window frames. The song would later be covered by Loretta Lynn, Leon Russell, and Mickey Gilley, whose 1975 rendition would hit number one on the country charts.
Jones also wrote "Life To Go", which had gone to number two on the charts for Stonewall Jackson in 1959. The song was written after Jones played the Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Crockett, Texas with Jackson and Ernest Tubb. There was a prison there and, while walking around the grounds with Jackson, they began chatting with an inmate. At one point they asked him how much time he had left to serve, to which the prisoner replied, "I been here for eighteen years and still got life to go." "His remark chilled me to the bone," Jones wrote in his autobiography I Lived To Tell It All. "I had hated the prison, but I knew I'd be leaving. That man hated it more and knew he'd never leave. I wanted to get that prison out of my mind. But I couldn't."
Johnny Cash recorded the Jones-penned "Just One More" for his 1960 album Now, There Was A Song! and Jones returns the favor on this album by covering Cash's "I Walk The Line".
Eugene Chadbourne of AllMusic writes of Sings Country and Western Hits: "This is a recording of songs played pure and simple, from the heart and for a little bit of money, and recorded properly but without a lot of production hoopla" and suggest listening to it is the equivalent of going to hear a really great country cover band in which Jones is the lead singer.
- "Heartaches by the Number" (Harlan Howard) - 2:31
- "I Love You Because" (Leon Payne) - 2:48
- "If You Got the Money (I Got the Time)" (Lefty Frizzell, Jim Beck) - 2:04
- "Talk to Me Lonesome Heart" (James O'Gwynn)
- "Poor Man's Riches" (Benny Barnes, Dee Marais) - 1:48
- "I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)" (Ray Price, Rusty Gabbard) - 2:07
- "Oh Lonesome Me" (Don Gibson) - 2:26
- "I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash) - 2:00
- "Life to Go" (George Jones) - 2:18
- "Window Up Above" (Jones) - 2:31
- "Just One More" (Jones) - 2:27
- "It's Been So Long Darling" (Ernest Tubb)
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