By Duchess of Hackney

Hackney livin' n lovin'. Sarky frosty knickers always gobby, and perpetually pissed off for good reasons. Wind up merchant extraordinaire, but a nice old fashioned unusually unusual gal... Writing lots of wrongs.

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The passing of another music legend – George Jones 1931 – 2013

The passing of another music legend  –  George Jones 1931 – 2013

My local Morrison’s is becoming the place I first hear of  the  passing  of  popular  music  artists.  I learned of  Amy  Whitehouse passing, as I walked from the  parking lot to the store and yesterday I learned of  George  Jones death while  checking twitter as I stood  in the check  out line.  It was a tweet  from Sheryl Crow:

 

George Jones died Friday at a Nashville hospital after he was  admitted for a  fever and  irregular blood pressure.  He had embarked on a farewell tour and had suffered ill health leading him to cancel some dates.

Country music isn’t considered cool here in Britain, but I have posted here about my love of the genre, which by the way is not a new conversion. In the indomitable words of Barbara Mandrell, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”. Ironically just a few days ago I listened to it that very song on Spotify and it was the live version where George Jones comes in at the end.

As a child Glen Campbell, Conway Twitty, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Pride, Charlie  Rich, Johnny Cash, Don Williams, Jim Reeves, were all familiar sounds in our home. I began to listen less at some  point, although I wasn’t above singing out loud if Glen Campbell’s Galveston or Rhinestone Cowboy came on  some easy listening station. Then came the 80’s when there was a re surge of country music, not so much in Britain but  in the US.  By the 90’s  it was full on with a new breed of country stars like Garth Brooks, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, Reba McEntire,Trisha Yearwood to name a few.  While living  in the US I got to see a lot of   my favorite artists at country festivals, state fairs and concerts, but never saw George Jones live.

George Jones was one of country musics greatest artists and an original bad boy, long before the likes of  Keith Richard or Charlie Sheen. For years he drank too much, did way too much coke and was  out of control. So notorious  for missing shows he became known as “No Show George”.  There was the very public arrest (videos below) filmed by a local Nashville news station,where an inebriated and belligerent George Jones resisted arrest.

After George was involved in a  horrific car accident in 1989, as a public service announcement, over the Fourth of July weekend, the mangled remains of the sport utility vehicle he was driving were dangled from a crane off Interstate 40 in Tennessee, along with a sign that read, “Drive Safely.”

Never one to shy away  from his problems he sang, spoke and wrote a book about his battles.  Alcohol was part of  his repertoire and he owned those songs. Bartender Blues written for him by James Taylor and If Drinking Doesn’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will) spoke loud of his habits and effects on his life. But it wasn’t all about getting drunk, he recorded what I have long considered the greatest love song – He Stopped Loving Her Today.

Country has come a long way but I like my country music traditional or as close too.  I love the wail of a steel guitar, the cry of a fiddle and that every song has a story, but I also love some new country. The 1990’s exploded with great acts, some we don’t hear much of and since then, Nashville caught on and slicked up country beyond recognition. So much so that a lot of today’s “country” doesn’t barely pass as, it’s not even close.

Referring to great country icons such as Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Coway Twitty, Willie Nelson, George sang: “Who’s  Gonna Fill Their Shoes”.  He need not worry and I’m heartened, realizing not all is lost, there are country acts out there,  some from the new crop, whose music gives us redemption from some of the atrocities of the illusion presently known as country  music.

RIP George “Possum” Jones.

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