George Jones – The Gospel Collection

Country's most revered voice goes back to church at 72 with legendary producer Billy Sherrill

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No artfully stark Johnny Cash-style reinvention here. Jones still lives in an America untouched by rock’n’roll, a working-class white truck-stop world which is now itself a kind of underground from MTV’s ‘alternative’ mainstream. He and Sherrill (begged out of retirement, and relatively restrained in the string-laden ‘countrypolitan’ arrangements he’s famed for) are both from Southern preaching families and showbiz veterans, qualities which combine in sentimental spirituality, delivered with the kind of conviction you hear in early ’70s Elvis. The pain in the songs is sublimated in Jones’ still-pure voice. Get over the culture shock, and you may feel comforted.

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