George Jones

Shine On

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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."

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