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I Am What I Am Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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I Am What I Am
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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, July 4, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

I Am What I Am announced that George Jones had officially returned to form artistically and, in the process, it became his biggest hit album ever. It's easy to see why -- the production is commercial without being slick, the songs are balanced between aching ballads and restrained honky tonk numbers, and Jones gives a nuanced, moving performance. "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "I'm Not Ready Yet," and "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)" were the hits, but the remaining seven album tracks are exceptionally strong, without a weak track in the bunch. It's mature country, both in the laid-back approach and subject matter, but that doesn't mean it's dull -- like the best country music, these are lived-in songs that are simple, direct, and emotionally powerful, even with the smooth production. I Am What I Am is the sound of George Jones at his peak and it's the highlight of his later years. Four bonus tracks -- "Am I Losing Your Memory or Mine?," "The Ghost of Another Man," "It's All in My Mind," and "I'm a Fool for Loving Her" -- give the 20th anniversary version of the album an added richness. ~~~ AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Amazon.com

In or out of context, George Jones's "comeback" album of 1980 is an unassailable classic of modern country music. Since 1975, Jones's solo career had been in a tailspin, taking him to the Top 10 only twice in four years, so that by late 1979, he had soused and doped his body from 150 to 100 pounds. He might have died, were it not for the musical and commercial resurrection of I Am What I Am. Produced by Billy Sherrill, the sound is stunningly advanced, full of complex, layered guitar tones, exquisitely placed harmonies, and an elegant melding of lyrical spaciousness and hard honky-tonk. Opening with perhaps the greatest country single ever, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," Jones lends both a regal authority and a humble sorrow to lyric after lyric, all uniformly graceful and stately. The only weak track is "His Lovin' Her Is Gettin' in My Way," an anticipation of the cloying bounce of Hot Country, though even that slight number is redeemed by Jones's underrated comic gifts. This 2000 reissue includes a wise essay by Glenn Gass, a personal reflection by the Possum himself, and four previously unreleased cuts, all of which are as memorable as the haunting, original recordings themselves. Essential doesn't begin to describe the treasures you'll find here. --Roy Kasten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 4, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 1980
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00004U2GA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,624 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This recording is perhaps the single greatest refutation to the oft repeated canard that singer-songwriters are inherently superior to those who sing the songs of others. As the liner notes say, "George Jones is the Sinatra of Country music," and this is perhaps the greatest testament to his mastery. Jones might just as well have written each of the ten originals and four bonus tracks. He possesses the lyrics with a soul baring ache that brings his storied personal scars to the microphone. And all of this despite the 1980 trappings of leisure suits, scary hair and the Nashville Sound.

While considered a come-back after a period of relative chart inactivity, this is clearly the product of Jones' incubation of both his talent and his troubles. His years on the road provided him with a mastery of his voice, and his personal and domestic problems provided the emotional fuel. From the stellar lead single "He Stopped Loving Her Today," through heart-wrenching ballads like "I've Aged Twenty Years in Five" and "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)" to upbeat tunes like "A Hard Act to Follow" and "Bone Dry," Jones doesn't falter for a second. He attaches himself to every word, and leaves the listener hanging on to every emotional turn.

Billy Sherrill tempers his normal Countrypolitan excesses, and though the production has many of the typical Nashville 80s touches, it stays mostly in support of Jones' singing. And a few touches, like the layering of background harmonies and the Spectorian swell of strings on "He Stopped Loving Her Today" are positively breathtaking.

One of the greatest records from one of the greatest voices ever to sing. Augmented by four bonus tracks, each of which measure up to the original ten. 'Nuff said.
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Format: Audio CD
This album, released in 1980, marked the return of George Jones. At least artistically. The album became one of his biggest and most successful. Jones gives a good performance throughout that is restrained, but strong. The album spawned three big hits. "He Stopped Loving Her Today", which in my opinion is a great country song and one of his best and most moving hits. "I'm Not Ready Yet" and "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)" were the other hits from teh album. The remaining tracks are exceptionally strong, without a weak track in the bunch. The songs are simple, direct, and emotionally powerful, even with the smooth production. This album is the sound of George Jones at his peak and it's the highlight of his later years. The album also features 4 bonus tracks.
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Format: Audio CD
The GREATEST country singer, made the GREATEST country album in 1980. And now re-released it is MY favorite country Album. Modern country can't touch this album. This goes back to when Country music WAS country music, the same country music George Jones sings today!! He stopped loving her today, I've aged Twenty years in five, His lovin' her is gettin' in my way, and Bone Dry are the Raw testimony of George Jones. Though he may not have written all the songs on the album, He may as well have. Because he has been through it, he lived every word in every song!! GEORGE JONES is REAL COUNTRY!!
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Format: Audio CD
What a pleasant surprise! The best country album of the 80s re-released with 4 unreleased tracks! "I Am What I am" is pure George Jones, "He stopped Loving her Today" is country music's song of the century, (Sorry Hank sr.) if you should own one George Jones Cd, this is a must! Every song is pure magic, and the remastered sound is an added bonus, and if you listen carefully, "The Possum" does sound tipsy on many tracks. No matter, tipsy back in 1980, or sober in 2000, no one can match the brilliance of country music's finest vocalist GEORGE JONES. He lives and breathes every song on this CLASSIC album. A must for anyone who loves country music!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It was Waylon Jennings who said, "If male country singers could choose how they wanted to sound, they all would sound like George Jones." I cannot argue with Waylon. George could honestly sing to his many moods and challenges. I sincerely believe that he and Tammy are singing duets again.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Possum re-emerged in 1987 with this instant masterpiece of new material done in his inimitable fashion. Along with everyone's favorite, "He Stopped Loving Her Today", there are at least 3 other masterpieces in this collection (a lot for any single collection, by the way). "I've Aged 20 Years in 5", If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me", and my personal favorite "I'm Not Ready Yet". Overall, a very strong offering from an all-time great.
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Format: Audio CD
At the time George recorded this album, he was going through a particularly bad time personally, but as sometimes happens in such case, it seemed to inspire him musically.

The set opens with He stopped loving her today, one of George's most famous songs, about a man who loved a woman until he died even though she had long since left him - but she came to the funeral. This song sets the tone of much of the album, as you can sense from the song titles - the next three songs are I've aged twenty years in five, Brother to the blues and If drinking don't kill me her memory will.

I'm not ready yet, a song written by the great storyteller Tom T Hall, is another classic in the same vein. I don't think of Tom T Hall as a likely source of songs for George - their music is normally so different - but this particular song is exactly right for George.

To lighten things a little, George includes a superb solo cover of Good hearted woman, the classic Waylon and Willie outlaw song. A hard act to follow and Bone dry continue the lighter mood. The other tracks here are all wonderful including four bonus tracks recorded around the time of the main album make this CD even better value.
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