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George Jones

Live With The Possum – 1999 (Asylum)

Reviewed by Dan Williams

He may be The World's Greatest Country Singer, but not many really think of George Jones as being a compelling live performer. He missed more dates than Sly Stone in his heyday and would seem hard-pressed to replicate his voice's soaring power onstage.

This set - from Knoxville in the (early?) '90's - goes a measure toward dispelling that. It's nothing startling - but comes off as homey and agreeable before a loud house of the faithful. He not suprisingly sticks to the crowd-pleasers: the majestic sweep of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and a pumped-up "The Race Is On" stand out especially. He trades vocal mannerisms with guest Alan Jackson an "No Show Jones," and pours on the pathos with a nice reading of James Taylor's "Bartender's Blues." Two major caveats: Songs as enduring as "The Grand Tour," "The Window Up Above" and "Walk Through This World With Me" deserve better than the tossed-off medley treatment included here. This was Knoxville, not Branson. And this is shoddily packaged - lacking liner notes, dates, or any of the obvious care such labels as Legacy, Koch and Buddha have lavished on similar re-issues. Uneven, but worth a spin for Jones completists.