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Early Hits
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  • Liner Note Author: Colin Escott.
  • Time Life usually gets it right when they assemble a compilation. They license the best tracks, clean them up beautifully, and place them in a package with great liner notes. As far as it goes, this volume of George Jones' early Starday cuts is fantastic. There isn't a weak track in the bunch, from "Why Baby Why" to the unusual mariachi-flavored "Rain Rain." Jones hadn't gotten to his really smooth and wide baritone yet, but it hardly matters. His performances are singular for the direct emotion they express, and his own songs (many of them are here) were solid in the Hank Williams mold, but in their simplicity they reveal the complex. It would have been great if some of the Starday rockabilly hits were here, but that's a small complaint. What is here is terrific, and a fine introduction to Jones when he was simply an ambitious and talented singer hungrily on his way to becoming a country music legend. ~ Thom Jurek
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