The Great Lost Hits [2-CD]

George Jones

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The Great Lost Hits [2-CD] Review

by Thom Jurek

This double-disc compilation of George Jones' singles has a bit of a misnomer attached as a title: none of these tracks were actually “lost.” These recordings were cut for Pappy Daily's Musicor label and were the subject of a legal dispute for a number of years that was only settled in the early years of the 21st century. Recordings for Starday (another Daily label), United Artists, Mercury, and Epic have ben released, but these remained back in the vault after the LPs and cassettes they were originally released on went out of print. The material here is simple, much more sparse and direct than the Billy Sherrill-produced sides for Epic. The songs contain immediacy, warmth and country music classicism. Well-known cuts, such as “Walk Through This World with Me,” “A Good Year for the Roses,” “Four-0-Thirty-Three,” “When the Grass Grows Over Me,” “Old Brush Arbors,” “Love Bug,” “I’m a People,” and “I’ll Share My World with You” are presented in their original versions. Some of these songs were re-recorded at Epic. Other tunes that are well-known by other artists -- “Beneath Still Waters” and “Your Angel Steps Out of Heaven,” later recorded by Emmylou Harris and the Flying Burrito Brothers, respectively, to great renown -- were inspired by the Jones’ versions included here. All of disc one and nine of the 17 cuts on disc two were Jones' singles. The rest of disc two is comprised of carefully chosen LP cuts, including a great reading of Dallas Frazier’'s “The Honky Tonk Downstairs,” which has never been released in North America before. There is a pair of duets here, the classic “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds” recorded with Melba Montgomery, and “Milwaukee, Here I Come” with Brenda Carter. The listener can also hear a vocal by an un-credited Tammy Wynette on “Never Grow Cold” (though she is given attribution as the song’s composer) from a 1971 album entitled With Love. This package has been given Time-Life's trademark excellent treatment: good pictures and album cover reproductions, terrific sound, and and a set of liner notes by Colin Escott that are typically informative and beautifully researched.

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