BURN YOUR PLAYHOUSE DOWN: the unreleased duets are a collection of never before heard duets between Jones and an illustrious group of guest stars. The recordings range from the mid-70s with his ex-wife, the First Lady of Country Music, Tammy Wynette to the most recent recording from 2007 with his daughter, Georgette, the only child from the union of George and Tammy.
All of the songs are “left over” tracks from various projects involving different producers and eras of country music. Jones was aware of some of the songs but others were a total surprise. The biggest surprise was the discovery of an unreleased George and Tammy duet. Epic Records kindly searched their vaults and found “Lovin’ You, Lovin’ Me”. Although not the greatest song ever recorded, the two singers shine in their unmistakable vocal blend and is a treat for anyone who ever listened to “George and Tammy.”
The most recent recording teams Jones with his daughter Georgette on “You And Me And Time.” Georgette co-wrote the song detailing some of the alienation she felt from her father growing up. The “happy ending” provides inspiration that time can heal old wounds.
There is no doubt that GEORGE JONES helped set the standard for modern country music. It is impossible to overstate his impact as one of the architects of the country music sound.
GEORGE GLENN JONES was born in 1931 in the East Texas town of Saratoga. As a kid he sang for tips on the streets of nearby Beaumont. By age 24, he had been married twice, served in the Marines and was a veteran of the Texas honky-tonk circuit. On a recording session in 1955 for Starday Records, producer Pappy Dailey suggested he quit singing like his idols, Lefty Frizzell, Roy Acuff and Hank Williams, and try singing like George Jones. The result was “Why Baby Why,” his first Top Five Hit.
At Starday, JONES made rockabilly records as Thumper Jones. As many artists did at the time, Jones also played guitar and sang the “hits of the day” on radio shows. During one of these radio shows, George had the opportunity to play guitar for his hero, Hank Williams. George remembers that day with awe and said, “When he started to sing, I was star struck and never hit a note on the guitar.” Jones had his first country #1 at Mercury Records in 1959 with “White Lightning.” The hits kept coming and he had #1s with “Tender Years,” “She Thinks I Still Care” “The Window Up Above” “The Race Is On” and “Walk Through This World With Me.”
JONES, the top male singer in country music, married country music’s hottest new female artist Tammy Wynette in 1969. He soon joined Wynette’s label, Epic Records, where he enjoyed an extremely successful 20-year association with producer Billy Sherrill. His hits included “The Grand Tour” “A Picture Of Me Without You” and “The Door” and, while his marriage to Wynette was stormy, they were perfect duet partners and their hits included “We’re Gonna Hold On,” ”Golden Ring” and “Near You.”
Touring schedules and the pressures of success weighed on JONES. He was drinking heavily and began to self-destruct. “I never had anything as a kid and all of a sudden I had everything thrown at my feet. It can ruin you quickly.” Jones was out of control and it was complicated by bad management, tax problems, cocaine abuse, massive debt and a new moniker as “No Show Jones” that just about wiped away his career. Angry
promoters and scraps with the law prompted lawsuits and drove Jones further into despair. “There was a lot of self-pity. I trusted people that I shouldn’t have and I lost everything. I have no one to blame but myself,” Jones told People Magazine in 1992. Ironically, during the darkest days of Jones’ despair he recorded the biggest song of an already impressive 30 year career with “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Jones’ performance of that song went on to win virtually every award in music including a Grammy Award, CMA Single of the Year in 1980 and 1981 and, ten years later, Favorite Country Song of all time.
JONES met his fourth and final wife, Nancy Sepulvado, in 1981 during the height of the “He Stopped Loving Her Today” frenzy. “I’d heard the horror stories,” Nancy told People Magazine “but I’m of the opinion you don’t believe it til you see it. I ended up seeing plenty of it but we just clicked. I saw a lot of good in a man who was being totally destroyed.” It got to the point that in 1984, Jones was told he would only live another couple of days if he continued to drink. He entered a hospital and dried out. It just about killed him and he spent the next year trying to kick his bad habits, reentering the hospital seven times in his effort to get straight.
The nineties saw the hits come to an end for Jones. The changing nature of the country music business and the resistance by radio to play anything released by older artists exiled him to “Living Legend” status. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992 and has received the acclaim that “Living Legends” are given. Jones told his story in the best selling autobiography in “I Lived To Tell It All” in 1996.
JONES finally sobered up for good following a car accident in 1998 that just about killed him. He had just finished recording his highly acclaimed “Cold Hard Truth” project that earned him his second Grammy Award in 1999. In
2003, Jones received the 2002 Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony. The National Medal of Arts is the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. His 50th anniversary as a recording artist was celebrated in 2004 with the release of a three disc set featuring one hit from each year of his career and a two-hour PBS-TV special that featured a star-studded cast paying homage to Jones by singing his songs.
Jones continues to work about 100 shows a year. He is also the national spokesperson for Ronnie Gilley Properties, a real estate development company in Alabama. In addition, he has “branded” a line of breakfast meats featuring sausage, bacon, microwavable “sausage and biscuits” and breakfast croissants as well as his own “White Lightning” water.
At 76, Jones is having a “blast.” His health is good, his energy is high and, at long last, he enjoys being sober and interacting with business associates
and fans. He loves working with Ronnie Gilley and participating in business
activities that don’t require that he sing but, instead, allows him to contribute some of the other skills he has learned over the years. A major focus of those activities is the creation of “Country Crossings” in Dothan, Al.
“Country Crossings” is a country music themed destination featuring “name” theatres, hotels, restaurants and amusements.