George Jones: The Complete United Artists Solo Singles

GeorgeJones_TheCompleteUnitedArtistsSoloSingles

By the time that George Jones left Mercury and signed with United Artists in 1962 for his chart-topping “She Thinks I Still Care,” he’d been steadily minting hits since his 1955 debut, “Why Baby Why.” His two-and-a-half year run on UA produced sixteen singles, which the label managed to stretch over nearly five years of releases. All thirty-two sides – sixteen A’s and their flips – are included here in their original mono. Jones continued to be a steady hit maker (sometimes charting both sides of a single), but he also had his share of misses and obscure B-sides. This set includes favorites like “You Comb Her Hair” and “The Race is On,” but with so many singles over so many years, it’s easy to have lost track of superb A-sides like the rockabilly-tinged “Beacon in the Night,” the murder-suicide “Open Pit Mine,” the up-tempo “Your Heart Turned Left (And I Was on the Right)” and the fiddle-and-twang shuffle “What’s Money.”

During these years, Jones and his producers tried a lot of things to see what would stick, recording honky-tonk, weepers, Westerns, gospel, Christmas songs and novelties, and they gave each one their all. The set features many fine B-sides, including the too-late realizations and broken hearts of “Big Fool of the Year,” “I Saw Me” and “My Tears are Overdue,” each one filled with Jones’ inimitable vocal style. A handful of the flipsides charted, and in the case of the folk-styled “Where Does a Little Tear Come From,” outperformed its plug-side. In addition to the solo work collected here, Jones also recorded memorable duets with Melba Montgomery. A full accounting of this work can be found on Bear Family’s complete United Artists box set, but these singles get to the catalog’s heart, and the inclusion of lesser-known B-sides is a rare treat. The sixteen-page booklet includes photos, ephemera, chart and studio data, and liner note by Holly George-Warren. [©2013 Hyperbolium]

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