Monday, March 05, 2007

George Jones Duets

The Possum

I recently purchased the Sony Legacy Edition of the long out of print George Jones duet record My Very Special Guests. This two-CD collection includes the original Columbia album, which was released in 1979, along with an additional 27 songs from various other albums and recording sessions that have come out since.

The remarkable thing about George Jones is that he is so multifaceted and able to blend in seamlessly with such a wide variety of artists and musical styles. There are the expected country star pairings with the likes of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard but we also get to hear him perform with Elvis Costello, Pops and Mavis Staples, B.B. King and Dr. Hook.

My favorite song is his duet with Emmylou Harris on the Rodney Crowell penned Here We Are. This song never fails to send shivers up and down my spine and I'm finally glad to have it on CD because I've nearly worn out the grooves on my vinyl record version.

Elvis Costello wrote the song they sang together on this album especially for Jones (Stranger In The House) and it doesn't disappoint with the somber refrain: "There's a stranger in the house no one will ever see, But everybody says he looks like me." I sometimes think the English are almost more countrified in their sentiments than Americans.

Some other highlights include the hit song Bartender Blues written by and performed with James Taylor; the tender and bittersweet A Few Ole Country Boys with Randy Travis and the hauntingly beautiful mountain ballad Wonderful World Outside with Ralph Stanley.

These are by no means the only songs worthy of note but there are 37 pairings contained in this collection and I could be here all day telling you about all of 'em. Suffice it to say that this is a highly recommended George Jones album which you can now get on BMG for real cheap. If y'all enjoy listening to the music of the best country singer of all time than this is one not to miss out on.

Frank Sinatra was once quoted as saying that he thought that "George Jones is the best singer in the world........after me." Leave it to The Chairman to be ever so humble in his words and deeds.

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