George Jones: Greatest Hits (Live Recordings from the Church Street Station)
As the youth of America have turned their backs on the idea of buying any physical media related to music, the majority of music DVDs that are flooding shelf space and bandwidth look to be specifically aimed at either the nostalgia market or the slavering fans of a band or artists who will snatch up anything with their object of worship’s name affixed to it.
This DVD release aims to capture both segments of the DVD buying population by putting a picture of a very young George Jones and the words “Greatest Hits” printed on the cover, neither of which are representations of what can actually be found on this disc.
The content is a repackaging of a ’80s-era TV program, filmed at Orlando, Florida’s Church Street Station, which showcases country artists both old and new. This particular episode focuses on Jones, but also features two segments starring a pair of country music also-rans Johnny Rodriguez and Mark Gray. As for hits, it does feature his 1980 smash, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, but very little else to represent the other 25+ years of his storied career.
Regardless, the performance is a fine one, showing off the fine timbre of Jones’ singing voice and the instrumental flair of his backing band (none of whom are named on the packaging or the DVD credits). The disc also provides an interesting look at how the old guard of country music handled live performances before the rock star showmanship of the late’ 80s/early ’90s took over.
The five members of Jones’ backing band are all dressed in matching denim outfits and don’t miss one lick or note or beat throughout. As well, Jones does appear to be strumming the acoustic guitar he has strapped on him by a handler during his big entrance into the venue, but it is not miked or plugged in. It is strictly totemic, a reflection of the many pictures of Jones in performance, but having no impact on the music whatsoever.
This disc is one that I have a hard time reviewing because it is one that if you hear about it, you will decide in a millisecond whether it is going to be worth your time and money. I feel as if I’m simply here to report the facts about it and throw a little of my critical thinking behind it. It is a cultural artifact and nothing more, something that fans will treasure and the rest of the world will ignore.