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Along Came Jones (And Robbins, Too): Morello Revives Classic Country from George and Marty

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George Jones - Too Wild Too LongCherry Red’s busy Morello Records imprint has continued its classic country revival with three recent releases – all available now – from some very legendary names: George Jones, Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck and Marty Robbins.

George Jones was the first artist to be reissued on the Morello label, and just a few months ago, the two-fer of Jones Country (1983) and You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart (1984) arrived.

Morello’s exploration of Jones’ latter-day work has now brought the reissue on one CD of two Epic Records albums: he autobiographically-titled Too Wild Too Long (1987) and You Oughta Be Here with Me (1990).  Too Wild built on the success of 1986’s gold album Wine Colored Roses, which was previously paired on CD by Cherry Red’s T-Bird imprint with 1985’s Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.   Too Wild Too Long continued Jones’ long-standing partnership with renowned producer Billy Sherrill, and it yielded three hit Country singles: “I’m a Survivor” (No. 26), “The Bird” (No. 52) and “The Old Man No One Loves” (No. 63).  The album itself placed at a respectable No. 14 on the Billboard Country chart. Jones didn’t pen any material for the album, but he did film a music video for Wyman Asbill’s “The Old Man No One Loves.”

You Oughta Be Here with Me three years later followed the same template.  (One Woman Man, another prime candidate for reissue, came in between.)  The songs were written by a number of familiar names, including Roger Miller (the title song) and Derek and the Dominos’ Bobby Whitlock with Jack “Peaceful Easy Feeling” Tempchin (“Someone That You Used to Know”).  The LP was Jones’ final collaboration with Sherrill, and though it didn’t score any hit singles for Jones, two of its songs actually charted for other artists when “Somebody Paints the Wall” went Top 10 Country for Tracy Lawrence in 1992 and Blake Shelton took “Ol’ Red” to the Top 20 in 2001.

Alan Wilson has remastered both albums, and Michael Heatley has supplied a brief essay.  After the jump, we’ll check out two of Jones’ duets albums, plus a two-for-one CD from Marty Robbins! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 13, 2013 at 10:04

They’ve Still Got a Place in Our Hearts: George Jones, Marty Robbins Reissues Arrive From Morello

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George Jones - Jones Country Two-FerWhen George Jones died on April 26, 2013 at the age of 81, American song lost one of its all-time greats.  Yet Jones’ music lives on thanks to a steady stream of reissues drawn from his deep catalogue, including a recent two-for-one package from Cherry Red’s Morello imprint.  Jones inaugurated the Morello label last year with four albums on two CDs, and he’s returned to the roster with Jones Country and You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart, from 1983 and 1984, respectively.  Morello’s second-ever CD came from another late country-and-western great, Marty Robbins.  Four more Robbins LPs have arrived from the label as paired on two CDs: El Paso City (1976) and Adios Amigo (1977); and The Legend (1981) and Come Back to Me (1982).  These albums are all making welcome appearances on CD.

Jones Country/You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart rewinds The Possum’s story from Morello’s last two-fer, which joined Bartender’s Blues, from 1978 with 1983’s Shine On.  Jones Country arrived mere months after Shine On, in October 1983, while You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart followed in May 1984.  Both of these Epic albums, like Shine On and so many before it, were produced by Billy Sherrill and recorded in Nashville.  Jones Country took its name from an outdoor music park owned by Jones in his home state of Texas; Jones and wife Nancy operated the park for a six-year period, through 1988.  Despite the tie-in, Epic released no singles from Jones Country, though it managed a respectable No. 27 Country placement nonetheless.  Jones remained fond of the material on the LP; “Radio Lover” and “Burning Bridges” would reappear on his 1989 album One Woman Man, and “You Must Have Walked Across My Mind Again” was re-recorded for 1992’s Walls Can Fall.  The album featured plenty of quality material.  “Hello, Trouble” had been a hit for Buck Owens, and John Anderson charted with his own “The Girl at the End of the Bar.”  Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter’s “Dream On” had been successfully recorded by both The Righteous Brothers and The Oak Ridge Boys prior to Jones’ rendition.

You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart fared better than its predecessors on the country chart, hitting No. 17.  It features a bona fide Jones classic in the title track, written and first recorded by Leon Payne.  A No. 14 country hit for Con Hunley in 1978, Jones’ version went all the way to No. 3 Country.  Kris Kristofferson’s “Come Sundown” was another highlight, and Jones also recorded his own “I’m Ragged But I’m Right,” written in 1956.  But Jones’ music was always timeless.  The original album liner notes called him “The Master of the Sad Song,” but in truth, Jones was the Master of the Song.  The title to You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart still rings true.

Jones’ two-for-one CD is available now.  After the jump, we have the scoop on Morello’s two releases from Marty Robbins! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 23, 2013 at 13:35

New Morello Label Launches with Country Classics from Jones, Robbins, Dalton

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Though George Jones has introduced many of the standards of the country-and-western repertoire, his turbulent offstage life has had more ups and downs than even the most dramatic honky-tonk tune.  A Kennedy Center Honoree with fourteen Number One country hits in the U.S., the son of Saratoga, Texas has been recording since 1957 and is still going strong despite battling the bottle and engaging in many stormy relationships with women.  Though he’s been known as “No-Show Jones” for the number of missed appearances relating to those demons, Jones has showed up for the inaugural releases of Cherry Red’s Morello Records label.  The new Morello label is launching with two-fers from Jones, Marty Robbins and Lacy J. Dalton (all available now).

Elvis Costello recalled in the liner notes to his Almost Blue reissue of a scheduled session with George Jones in 1978 for which Mr. Jones never arrived: “rumour has it that he was down in Florence, Alabama, and couldn’t come into the state, as one of his more famous ex’s [sic] was looking for alimony.  But maybe they told me this just to give me a taste of the Nashville soap opera mythology…”  Costello’s visit would have fallen right during the period represented on the Morello releases.  The Grand Tour/Alone Again pairs Jones’ 1974 and 1976 albums, while Bartender’s Blues/Shine On joins releases from 1978 and 1983, respectively.  All of these are originally appeared on the Epic imprint.

Jones’ career resurgence in the 1970s has been credited to his 1969-1975 marriage to fellow superstar Tammy Wynette, a rocky romance that, alas, kept them in the tabloids.  Jones was signed to the Epic label in 1972, and found himself on the Country Top 10 with his self-titled debut there.  1974’s The Grand Tour was his fifth for the label, and the title song went all the way to No. 1.  It was his first solo No. 1 in seven years; a 1973 duet with Wynette, “We’re Gonna Hold On,” was a success despite the fallacy of the title!  On the Billy Sherrill-produced, Bergen White-arranged LP, Jones surveyed songs by Norro Wilson, Bobby Braddock, Hank Cochran and Johnny Paycheck.  With Wynette, he co-wrote the acerbic “Our Private Life” about the celebrity star-gazing culture (“We gave it up for people just like you!”).  Jones and Wynette divorced following The Grand Tour, and Morello’s series overlooks his next two Epic albums (1975’s Memories of Us and 1976’s The Battle…notice how easy it is to read into Jones’ album titles?), resuming with 1976’s aptly-titled Alone Again.  Sherrill was still at the helm of Alone Again, and it peaked at No. 9 on the country chart on the strength of No. 3 single “Her Name Is…,” penned by Braddock.  Jones offered a couple of originals (“A Drunk Can’t Be a Man” and “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Miss Me”), too, but even the songs written by others seemed to offer meaning to his life.  Jones imbued “Right Now I’d Come Back and Melt in Her Arms” and “Stand on My Own Two Knees” with the kind of deep authenticity for which he was known.  These two albums were both previously issued on one CD by Sony U.K. in 1999, but that edition fetches high prices today, so this reissue is more than welcome.

What’s on the second George Jones release from Morello?  Hit the jump for that, and more, including full track listings and pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 7, 2012 at 09:52