Gathered from Louisiana Hayride radio broadcasts spanning 1956 through '69, these tracks wind back the clock on Jones' previously available live material. The result documents his transition from a Hank Williams honky-tonk disciple to country music's ultimate stylist. Even more revealing is his commanding stage presence.
The earliest tracks -- such as "You Gotta Be My Baby," and "Color of the Blues" -- highlight the hillbilly songwriting he'd de-emphasize in later years. By 1960 his unique vocal style had begun to emerge, drawing out the tempo on "Accidentally on Purpose" and bending notes on "Don't Stop the Music." A jump to 1968-69 for the album's second half finds Jones fully formed, recounting his growing catalogue of hits with signature ballads like "She Thinks I Still Care" and "Walk Through This World with Me."
Jones' growth as a singer can be heard on his studio recordings, but these illuminate his performing life. The energy later spent in drunken rampages and cocaine binges is heard onstage, stoking a must-have collection for fans, and a surprisingly thorough introduction for neophytes.
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