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 Country legend George Jones dies 
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Post Country legend George Jones dies
With a quicksilver warble that captured the devastation of bad love George Jones defined country music like no other singer in the 20th century. Jones' voice was instantly identifiable, a fluid and expressive thing that famously prompted Frank Sinatra to call him "the second best singer in America." Jones lived as hard as the songs he sang, a dedicated drinker and tempestuous partner who was married four times, finally finding redemption and lasting love in his final decades. The Saratoga native - who cut his teeth in Beaumont and cut his earliest singles in Houston - died Friday. He was 81. He had been hospitalized since April 18 recently with an illness.

For decades, Jones' history was country music's history. He was a honky-tonk pioneer with hits such as "Why Baby Why" and "White Lightning," but his wild and pugnacious streak didn't render him too rigid to change with the times. When country moved from hard-driving music driven by steel guitar and fiddle based music to lush, string-laden countrypolitan, Jones evolved with it, scoring hits after his early contemporaries had faded from relevance. In 1980, 25 years after his first charting hit, he released perhaps his most enduring song: "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

Only when the last remnants of old-style country were squeezed out of Nashville, did Jones find himself a man without a genre. Even then, he bristled at the notion that he was rocking chair bound, and continued to make strong hard country recordings.

Jones achieved almost instant myth, evident in his nicknames: "No Show" Jones, for the missed performances when he was on a drunk, and "the Possum," from a disc jockey who was referring to Jones' close-set eyes and upturned nose.

He was part of a legendary spousal with Tammy Wynette; they were storied duet partners, able to convey the sweetness and bitterness of love through the intermingling of their voices. He also seemed to have more lives than a cat, surviving alcoholism, drug addiction, divorce, relapses, car crashes, squandered fortunes and all the requisite bumps of a fabled ride through fame.

But Jones' legacy, colorful as the tangents were, was about his singing. His golden, honeyed voice was a perfect match for his singing style: bending and slurring notes, often to melancholy effect. He never had a pop hit, but he placed more than 100 singles on the country charts, many of which are radio and jukebox staples to this day.

George Glen Jones was born in Saratoga on Sept. 12, 1931. (That is Saratoga, TX a tiny town just northwest of Beaumont, TX).

"There ain't much I can say about Saratoga," he said in 2001. "It's where I was born and I had all my kinfolks in that neck of the woods. It was about 40, 50 miles into what we called 'the big city' back then: Beaumont."

He grew up in Beaumont, where his parents embodied the cycles of sin and redemption that would inform all of his public life. From his mother, he developed a love of old gospel music. From his alcoholic father, he obtained his first guitar, which he'd use to busk for change in Beaumont. He learned his first two chords from a Sunday school teacher, "and the rest by ear," and he was off.


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A sad, sad day for country music fans. George Jones is a beloved native son in my part of the US.

RIP, Possum! :candle

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:34 am
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