I LIVED TO TELL IT ALL by George with Tom Carter Jones


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The life and times of a hard-livin' good ol' boy. George Jones is one of the most distinctive singers in all of country music, with a wonderfully expressive voice that ranges from a plaintive tenor to a rumbling baritone. Born in rural East Texas to a hard-working, although alcoholic, father and a God-fearing mother, Jones showed early skill as a singer, performing for pennies on the streets of Beaumont. He began recording in 1954, although his first big hits came in the early '60s with songs drenched in honky-tonk heartache. He married Tammy (""Stand By Your Man"") Wynette in 1969, and they recorded a series of hugely successful duets, beginning with 1973's ""We're Gonna Hold On."" They continued to record together even after their divorce. In the '80s, Jones had a tendency to coast along on his reputation, both in the choice of his material and in often spiritless (or missed) performances, due to an increasing dependence on alcohol and cocaine. Of late, he has made yet another comeback. This lackluster tell-all suffers from several major problems. It is more a series of vignettes than a coherent life story, so those not already familiar with Jones and his work may be a bit confused. Jones himself admits that the book barely deals with his musical life, skimming over how material was written and recorded. And despite owning up to his own weaknesses for binge drinking, loose women, and cocaine (since overcome, thanks to the devotion of his latest wife, Nancy), Jones offers inconsistent explanations for abusive behavior. He claims he suffered from blackouts after apparently battering then-wife Tammy and trashing their home, but then accuses her of battering him and purposely destroying their property to convince him to stop drinking. Introspection is not the guiding force in this rags-to-excesses story.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0440223733
Page count: 356pp
Publisher: Villard