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Shine On

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Album Review

One continually waits for an edge to develop or some sense of intense commitment to break through the surface of the smooth, professional '80s productions of this country artist, who too often expresses genius in the subtle inflections of various syllables rather than the artistic majesty of a completely brilliant album or song, often on the same day he wraps himself around a signpost. Are listeners to believe the final track, "Ol' George Stopped Drinkin' Today," or the earlier homage to "Tennessee Whiskey"? The pomposity of an artist who commissions ditties about his own personally destructive habits — the former came from one O.B. McClinton — is just part of the entire legendary parcel of George Jones in his senior years, officially considered to have begun in the '80s since nobody was sure how long he might take to drink himself to death. Never the artistic equivalent of the edgy honky tonk performer of the '60s, this Jones is still a miracle worker vocally, shedding a light on the lyrics to "She Hung the Moon" that is every bit as deep as moonlight, sounding every bit like a normal human being when he admits "I'd Rather Have What We Had," and rising to the challenge of freshly performing a stale country chestnut, "Almost Persuaded."


Born: September 12, 1931 in Beaumont, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

By most accounts, George Jones was the finest vocalist in the recorded history of country music. Initially, he was a hardcore honky tonker in the tradition of Hank Williams, but over the course of his career he developed an affecting, nuanced ballad style. In the course of his career, he never left the top of the country charts, even as he suffered innumerable personal and professional difficulties. Only Eddy Arnold had more Top Ten hits, and Jones always stayed closer to the roots of hardcore country....
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