Country Music Has Lost A Fine Voice


I went to see him just today,

Oh, but I didn’t see no tears,

All dressed up to go away,

First time I’d seen him smile in years.

He stopped loving her today,

They placed a wreath upon his door,

And soon they’ll carry him away,

He stopped loving her today.

Most music fans undoubtedly recognize that the above lyrics are from country artist George Jones’ chart-topping hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” composed by Country Hall of Fame songwriters Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman. The heart-wrenching tune earned Song of the Year honors an unprecedented two years in a row in 1980 and 1981 and is considered by many to be the greatest country song ever written. I would tend to agree.

Sadly, we’ll never again hear Jones sing his signature song live. After a year of ill health, George Glenn Jones passed away last Friday in a Nashville hospital. He was 81.

When it comes to country music, George Jones was “The Voice” — by most accounts, he 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 time developed an affecting, nuanced ballad style. In the course of his career, he never left the top of the country charts.

Rich and deep, Jones’ voice was strong enough to crack like a whip, but supple enough to bring tears. It was so powerful it made Jones the first thoroughly modern country superstar.

In all, Jones placed a whopping 167 songs on the Billboard country chart, which spanned six decades and included 13 number one hits and 77 Top-10 hits. I’m sure many readers will remember his most commercially successful hits — “Tender Years” and “She Thinks I Still Care.” Jones also teamed with Melba Montgomery, Gene Pitney and Tammy Wynette to sing many beautiful ballads.

Recently, fellow country artist and friend, Alan Jackson, said, “George just knew how to pull every drop of emotion out of a song, whether it was an emotional love song or just a silly, fun song. He knew how to make that work. It’s rare. He was a big fan of Hank Williams Sr., like me. He tried to sing like Hank in the early days. I’ve heard early cuts. But the difference was Hank was a singer and a great writer, but he didn’t have that natural voice like George. Not many people do. That just set him apart from everybody.”

It may be a long, long time before country music unearths another talent like George Jones.

This week’s music trivia question

Which one of the following is NOT a true statement about George Jones? A) From 1969-75 he was married to country singer Dolly Parton; B) His nickname was “Possum”; C) He was also often also referred to as “No Show Jones”; or D) His first number one hit, in 1955, was “White Lightning.”

If you are the fifth caller and have the right answer, you’ll win two tickets (a $70 value) to this coming Monday night’s TCCA concert, The Side Street Strutters, courtesy of the Tonto Community Concert Association. Read on for details.

Last week’s question

This past week’s music trivia question asked if you could name the group that scored a Top-5 hit with their mid-1960s single “G.T.O.” The choices were A) The Beach Boys; B) The Stray Cats; C) Jan & Dean; or D) Ronny & the Daytonas.

The correct answer was Ronny & the Daytonas. Each of the other artist options also released “car song” singles that became hits — Jan & Dean with “Drag City” (1963); the Stray Cats with “Look At That Cadillac” (1984); and the Beach Boys with many 1960s classic car favorites, including “409,” “Little Deuce Coupe” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

Congratulations to this past week’s multiple-time trivia winner, Bill Anderson, who won a CD of 20 great “Car Songs.”

A couple of final notes

The Tonto Community Concert Association will present its eighth and final concert of the 2012-2013 series this coming Monday evening at 7 p.m. The eight-member Side Street Strutters, originally formed in 1983 while the talented musicians were attending Arizona State University, will bring their up-tempo, eclectic style of New Orleans Dixieland, Blues and Swing to the Payson High School Auditorium.

This past year’s season series has been, in my humble opinion, simply phenomenal. And if it’s true that the best is often saved for last, then TCCA patrons are in for quite a treat this Monday. Single concert tickets will be available at the door.

If you’re not a Tonto Community Concert Association season ticket holder, I would encourage you to consider becoming one for the 2013-14 season. Next year’s line-up of national talent has been set and it looks like another outstanding series. Season passes will soon be available. Watch for details in the Roundup.

Also, new pictures that I’ve added to my Web site are from last Saturday’s Beeline Cruise-In Car Show at Green Valley Park. Great weather, great crowd, great event.

Have a wonderful Rim Country week.

DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482


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