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  • Essential: Spirit of Country
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Essential: Spirit of Country Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, August 18, 1998
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$110.22 $8.04

Dawes Dawes

Editorial Reviews

The quarter drops, and out comes the voice of Despair, anxious at first, then desperate, with the singer sliding up a wail meant to caress and exorcise his demons at the same time. He holds the cry as he might the last bottle on earth and then plunges to the low notes in a moan that leaves no doubt--when you talk about pain and suffering, George Jones has been there. The proof is in this 44-song, two-disc box set, a tear built into every groove, starting with the stripped-down production of Pappy Daily's early Starday hits ("Why Baby Why"), segueing to the Mercury years ("The Window up Above"), dipping into the United Artists and Musicor material ("Love Bug"), and then moving on to the Billy Sherrill era at Epic, where Jones secured his legend with his emotionally charged renderings of melodramatic material ("The Grand Tour"). The set is rounded out with a smattering of Jones's countrypolitan duets with Tammy Wynette ("Golden Ring"), as well as "He Stopped Loving Her Today," the preeminent modern country song and performance. --Alanna Nash

Disc: 1
1. Why Baby Why
2. Just One More
3. Color Of The Blues
4. White Lightning
5. Who Shot Sam
6. The Window Up Above
7. Tender Years
8. She Thinks I Still Care
9. We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds
10. The Race Is On
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Door
2. These Days (I Barely Get By)
3. Golden Ring
4. Her Name Is
5. Near You
6. Bartender's Blues
7. Maybelline
8. Two Story House
9. He Stopped Loving Her Today
10. I'm Not Ready Yet
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 18, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000009RBG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,106 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James Carragher on October 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
At least half the songs on this collection are among the finest country songs ever recorded, some because they are flat out great songs (She Thinks I Still Care, Wine Colored Roses), some slight but made much more by the seen-it-all, drunk-it-all, sung-it-all Jones voice. List 'em -- Why Baby Why, Just One More, She Thinks I Still Care, We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds, The Race is On, A Good Year for the Roses, The Grand Tour, Golden Ring, and the incredible streak of cuts 8-14 on disc two -- Two Story House (story in both senses of the word of course), He Stopped Loving Her Today, I'm Not Ready Yet, If Drinkin Don't Kill Me, Still Doin' Time, Same Ole Me, and Yesterday's Wine. You are talking over 30 years of material here, add another 15 to bring us up to 2003 (see his last two CDs and you will have no doubt that George's quality has stayed superb) and that's nearly half a century of song stories that ring as true, sad, and life strong as the first time heard.
This CD belongs in the collection of every person with the slightest interest in country music. Ol' George has peers, Johnny, Merle, Willie, but no one is his better.
Couple last random thoughts -- 1) God, I miss Tammy Wynette. 2)Let's be honest, it wouldn't be George if there weren't a couple of over the top, corny dregs -- The Ceremony and Her Name Is are my nominees. 3) I wish he'd written more in the 70's and 80's. Looking at the early songs, I have to think that his great material from those decades could have been even finer mixed with some of his own compositions.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The newfangled country radio stations may have stopped playing George Jones years ago, but he was, is, and always will be the voice of true country music. As a general rule, I don't like country music, but George Jones is something special. Two CDs is barely a start in terms of collecting all of his many, many hits over the years, but these 44 tracks still do quite a good job of showcasing his talent and tracing the evolution of his music over the course of the first thirty-three years of his unprecedented career. In addition, the accompanying booklet stands as a particularly good tribute to the man who, as you can see by all the quotes from big-name stars of today, has influenced country music perhaps more than any other entertainer.

One great thing about this collection is the fact that the release date and peak place on the chart are listed for each of these songs, ranging from 1955's Why Baby Why to 1998's The King is Gone (So Are You). A number of these songs should be familiar to a great number of people and hardly even need any sort of description. I have never really listened to country music, yet I knew many of these songs long ago, even before I began purchasing George Jones releases.

When it comes to George Jones, you have to start with one song: He Stopped Loving Her Today. This song never fails to give me goose bumps, and it has never aged one bit. I was fortunate enough to see George Jones in concert once, and the audience all but screamed for him to sing this song - it still has the power to melt your heart. Another touching song found here is Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes, which is basically a tribute to the true pioneers and legends of country music. You'll find plenty of fast-paced fun songs here, as well: e.g.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jerry McDaniel on March 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
this box set was released in 1994 during the middle of his 40th Anniversary as a recording artist. this box set is great and for a major record label like Epic/Sony to showcase George's other hits on other labels too, well, that in itself is amazing. i love the selections that are showcased BUT (here comes the "but" interjection once again)...i didn't like the liner notes in the mini-booklet dealing with George's signing with Epic in 1971. the guy who wrote the liner notes, Rich Kienzle, if you didn't know, is or was a critic for a magazine called "Country Music". Rich and several other critics for that magazine don't keep their hatred hidden for George's Epic material. Rich and Bob Allen are the two biggest complainers of the Epic days. well, anyway, Rich goes into detail about the "soap opera" that Billy Sherrill created with George and Tammy's songs. he then goes in for more detail after the break-up and the "no show" days. on top of this, in a box set supposedly to celebrate George Jones' incredible body of work, Rich feels it necessary to quote Billy Sherrill's odd statement which went something like: {i think that George oversang 'Bartenders Blues'; it was like George Jones trying to sound like George Jones...}. was there any need for such a comment like that to be included in this box set? i love Bartender's Blues and in reality it's James Taylor's soaring harmony that would make you think it's "oversung". the music itself is excellent and all original material.Read more ›
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