"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Music Tuesday: "White Lightning" By George Jones

Country music star George Jones passed away last week.  That he lived to 81 is astonishing to me.  He lived a self destructive life of alcoholism and drug abuse.  From the Associated Press Obituary:

When it comes to country music, George Jones was The Voice.

Other great singers have come and gone, but this fact remained inviolate until Jones passed away Friday at 81 in a Nashville hospital after a year of ill health.

“Today someone else has become the greatest living singer of traditional country music, but there will never be another George Jones,” said Bobby Braddock, the Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter who provided Jones with 29 songs over the decades. “No one in country music has influenced so many other artists.”

He did it with that voice. Rich and deep, strong enough to crack like a whip, but supple enough to bring tears. It was so powerful, it made Jones the first thoroughly modern country superstar, complete with the substance abuse problems and rich-and-famous celebrity lifestyle that included mansions, multiple divorces and — to hear one fellow performer tell it — fistfuls of cocaine.

He lived a hard life, and if you look at his features over the years, they must have taken a physical toll on him.  But he was probably the preeminent singer of country music.  Here's one of his early songs I really dig.

Well in North Carolina, way back in the hills
Me and my old pappy had a hand in a still
We brewed white lightnin' 'til the sun went down
Then he'd fill him a jug and he'd pass it around
Mighty, mighty pleasin, pappy's corn squeezin'
Whshhhoooh . . . white lightnin'

Well the "G" men, "T" men, revenuers, too
Searchin' for the place where he made his brew
They were looking, tryin to book him,
But my pappy kept a-cookin'
Whshhhoooh . . . white lightnin'
You can read the rest of the lyrics here.  One of his daughters, Georgette Jones, through his marriage with Tammy Wynette, is also a country music singer.  I absolutely love this song they did together.  I don't know if there's any biographical family history in the lyrics, but it sounds like there might be.  It's called "You and Me and Time."


  1. My husband is a big George Jones fan. He did have one of the richest voices I ever heard.

  2. This music has been a staple in our house for a very long time.

    Jones will be missed by the country western music business.