George Jones / Tammy Wynette

Me & the First Lady/We're Gonna Hold On/Golden Ring

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BGO's 2015 three-fer skips around George Jones & Tammy Wynette's joint discography and chooses their three biggest -- and perhaps best -- albums: 1972's Me and the First Lady, 1973's We're Gonna Hold On, and 1976's Golden Ring. Taken together, the three records tell the tale of George & Tammy's stormy relationship. It's celebratory on Me and the First Lady, tenacious and defiant on We're Gonna Hold On, and then resigned and wistful on Golden Ring, a record released in the wake of their 1975 divorce. This is one of the great melodramas in recorded music and while it's possible to hear the same narrative arc on the hit singles, the complete albums are fuller, richer affairs, gaining resonance through the details and extra songs. As the romance gets rougher, the albums get smoother and better, culminating in the mini-masterwork of Golden Ring, which is one of best country albums of the mid-'70s, but each album here is gorgeous; the marriage might not have lasted but the music does.

Track Listing - Disc 1

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Track Listing - Disc 2

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blue highlight denotes track pick