Grandpa Jones

Grandpa Jones-Live

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Grandpa Jones had been signed to Fred Foster's Monument label for seven years when producer Ray Pennington recorded this concert at the Black Stallion in Cincinnati, OH, on December 29, 1969. The result is a priceless document of Jones' stage act -- ironically, Jones himself regards this as the least favorite of his Monument records because he doesn't feel he was prepared or that his voice sounds very good. None of that is very obvious, for the performance is excellent and his singing seems just fine. Surprisingly, he covers none of his Monument hits such as "T For Texas" or "Mountain Dew," choosing instead new material. The songs range from the rollicking "Dooley" and "Rocky Top" to eloquent gospel such as "The Air, the Sunshine, and the Rain" (a great showcase for Jones' wife Ramona's fiddle playing, as is "I Don't Love Nobody") to traditional folk tunes like a banjo-driven version of "John Henry" and "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" played on cowbells. The band includes Joe Edwards on guitar, and Ramona sings harmony. The tunes are spiced by Jones' vaudeville patter, including his ribald retelling of the story of the three bears as "The Three Old Maids." Nothing on this recording is less than first rate, including the sound, which captures the mix of instruments and voices with wonderful fidelity.