I was nearly a no-show last night for No-Show Jones.
Nobody's fault but mine. I'd never been to Isletta Pueblo Casino before and I didn't realize it was off the Broadway exit off I-25. I figured it was further south ... so I ended up in Los Lunas. Then I turned around, turned off at the Isletta Pueblo exit and ended up on South Coors, exploring the rural splendor of the Albuquerque's South Valley. By the time we got the casino, Jones had been onstage for about 30 minutes.
Yes, I'm an idiot.
George Jones in his prime probably had the best voice in country music -- male or female, living or dead.
But last night there were signs that the magnificent soul-piercing instrument is going. He seemed hoarse and he wasn't making all the high notes and sometimes he seemed flat.
Still, a fading Possum is more soulful than 98 percent of the competition. He did wonderful versions of "A Picture of Me Without You" "Golden Ring" and, of course, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."
His version of "Who's Going to Fill Their Shoes" would have been more moving had the audience not applauded wildly almost every time another picture of a dead country star flashed on the screen behind the band.
I enjoyed "The Blues Man," a song written by Hank Williams, Jr. that's on his latest album. (He duets with Dolly Parton on the record. Last night Dolly's part was filled by his tour singer Sherri Copeland, who stood in for Tammy on "Golden Ring.")
I was even more impressed with "50,000 Names," a song about the Vietnam memorial wall. I like this nearly as much as Iris DeMent's "There's a Wall in Washington." I was hoping that Jones would follow "50,000 Names" with "Wild Irish Rose," which is about the death of a homeless Vietnam vet.
He sang a bunch of his hits. "The Window Up Above" started out nicely, but after the verse, it became apparent that this was just part of a medley with "The Grand Tour" and (I think ... don't hold me to this) "Walk Through This World With Me." He also did a too-short version of "White Lightning."
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to talk with George about our business deal he was proposing a couple of months ago.
Since I went to the concert, I had Laurell sit in for The Santa Fe Opry last night. She was nice enough to e-mail me her play list:
Buck Owens- Buckaroo
Iris Dement- Wasteland of the Free
I'll Take My Sorrow Straight
Emmylou Harris- Heaven Only Knows
Jeannie Sealy- Don't Touch Me
Sir Douglas Quintet- Texas Me
Merle Haggard-It's Not Love But It's Not Bad
John Prine- I Guess They Ought To Name a Drink After You
Loretta Lynn- Honky Tonk Girl
Townes Van Zandt- Waitin' Around To Die
John Hartford- Turn Your Radio On
Hank Williams- Lovesick Blues
Rose Maddox and Vern Williams- Let Those Brown Eyes Smile at Me
Grateful Dead- Operator
Allman Brothers- Ain't Wastin' Time No More
Bob Dylan- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
Carl Smith-Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way
John Anderson- Seminole Wind
Kate and Anna McGarrigle- Goin' Back To Harlan
Heart Like a Wheel
America- A Horse With No Name
Bread- Make It With You
Eagles- Most Of Us Are Sad
Linda Ronstadt- Birds
Neil Young- Love Is a Rose
Emperor Of Wyoming
Michael Hurley-Lean On Me
Johnny Cash- The Beast In Me
George Jones- He Stopped Loving Her Today
Roy Orbison- Love Hurts
Randy Scruggs- Both Sides Now
Comin' Down- Meat Puppets
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