George Jones 

Live Recordings from the Louisiana Hayride

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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