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George Jones - Hits I Missed... And One I Didn't
By: Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist

Have you ever had one of those days when absolutely nothing is going right, you're late for an appointment, stuck in traffic,  and hating life but just at the moment you are considering abandoning your car and fleeing to a deserted island, your favorite song comes wafting through your car speakers. Instantly, a smile begins to replace those frustration furrows in your forehead and you can feel your blood pressure going down; Hits I Missed ...and One I Didn't will definitely have that effect. This album is country music personified.

Many of the songs pitched to Jones over the course of his fifty year career, which he turned down, later became huge hits for someone else. It happened so often that he began to joke about the "hits he missed." The original concept for this album was "songs George wished he had recorded," but the project evolved into somewhat of a tribute project from Jones to various artists and songwriters that he admires; Willie, Merle and Randy Travis among them. Looking over the song list, it is easy to see why he selected the ones he did.

Jones is credited with recording nearly 1,000 songs and charting more singles than any other artist. On Hits I Missed ... and One I Didn't, the one he didn't is a new version of the song that was voted the number one country song of all time; "He Stopped Loving Her Today." The new version is reflective of a much more mellow singer than we knew in the past. The readily identifiable twang that has always set him apart from others is still there but time has softened and refined it. Jones says about this cut, "I sing it better today than I did originally" and he is absolutely right about that.

There are several stand out tracks on this album but "The Blues Man" is definitely one of my favorites. Some folks think that Jones was the inspiration for this song but Jones, himself, thinks that Hank Williams Jr. wrote it about his father. However, anyone who is even remotely familiar with the tumultuous relationship Jones had, in his former incarnation; with the legendary Tammy Wynette will be able to see the similarity between "The Blues Man" and the infamous "No Show Jones." This song is such a lyrically powerful song and Dolly Parton's dramatic cameo is the perfect accent to Jones' haunting delivery. This song is categorically splendid; Jones and Parton both sing with such intense emotion and when their voices fuse on the chorus, it is utterly mesmerizing.

I enjoyed reading Jones' comments in the liner notes. It is interesting to hear him reminisce about some of the greatest songs, and songwriters, of all time. Fifty years from the start of his career this is a gentler, kinder, more loving Jones and his voice reflects the transformation. One of the promo sheets defines him as, "a romantic, relaxed, soulful Jones who is, at long last, totally comfortable in his own musical skin." I think this album reflects that and a whole lot more. Actually, you can sum this album up in just one word ... superb.


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