Greetings from Asheville, where we look back at one of the many golden nuggets of a legend named George Jones.
Still the Same Ole Me was the first George Jones album to grace my collection, way back in 1981 (a Christmas gift as I recall), the year of its release. Of all of George’s albums that I have listened to, and admittedly there are many I have not yet heard, this one ranks as one of his best.
Released in November, the album would peak at 3 on Billboard’s country album charts. Three singles are found on the disc, including the title track, “Still Doin’ Time”, and “Someday My Day Will Come”.
Billy Sherrill was still at the production controls for George. He was one of country music’s greatest producers, and George Jones’ output under his command, may be his greatest accomplishment. Billy was able to meld Jones’ hard country vocals with the smoother Nashville Sound instrumentation. And George adjusted well, as heard on classics like “The Door”, “The Grand Tour”, and of course, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”.
The album opens with his number one hit, “Still Doin’ Time”. Vintage George. The emotion, the agony, the angst; no one uses the voice to show extreme emotions any better, especially on powerfully written works such as this. This track ranks as one of his best.
“Still Doin’ Time” sets a high standard for the rest of the album to live up to, and “Couldn’t Love Have Picked A Better Place to Die” keeps up that standard. A song that is yet another great vehicle for George’s style of vocal. Again, dripping with the emotions. Great album track that was as strong as many singles on the chart at the time.
George’s version of “I Won’t Need You Anymore” is as good as the exemplary number one version by Randy Travis in 1987. I only wish my copy did not have remnants of Christmas tree sap throughout the cut that causes loud pops. A good reason to either leave the turntable off or else make sure hands are clean before touching vinyl when taking down a tree.
“Together Alone” is a subject that has been covered numerous times in country music; the couple that live together, but really are not together. George has even touched the subject on his duet with Tammy Wynette, “Two Story House”. This track is not quite as strong, but whenever George Jones is singing, the song automatically improves. Overall, a decent track.
Wrapping side one, “Daddy Come Home” is a little girl’s plea for her daddy to come home. Featuring George and Tammy’s daughter, Georgette on the vocal, along with Jim Glaser (Glaser Brothers) in the background.
“You Can’t Get the Hell Out of Texas” is a rousing western swing-styled track. Lyrically average, but it still contains a level of enjoyment as a goodtime party song.
“Good Ones and Bad Ones” got airplay as an album cut, back in late ‘81/early ’82. Despite never being a single, it has shown up in various George Jones collections, over the years, and with good reason. It is a strong composition, that mixed with George’s vocal abilities, is one of the strongest album cuts that you will find on any album of the past fifty years. This one should have been a single.
“Girl You Sure Know How to Say Goodbye” is another quality track on the album. As a song, it is just below the level of “Good Ones and Bad Ones” and “Couldn’t Love Have Picked A Better Place to Die”, which means it is still exceptionally good. George’s vocals, though, are among the best of the album.
“Someday My Day Will Come” is a great song that inexplicably fell short of the Top 20 in both Billboard and Cashbox. To me, this is vintage George Jones. Give him a ballad and about two to three minutes, and a classic often would ensue, like this one.
George Jones will always be remembered most for those sad, tear-jerking bundles of emotional messes that he made classics. But George could also handle the good feeling songs with equal passion and ease. The album’s title track (and final cut) “Same Ole Me” is an example. The top five hit may not rank at the same level as his iconic works, but it is still an enjoyable piece of music highlighted by the refrain, where George is joined on vocals by The Oak Ridge Boys. I love hearing them together, I wish they had done more collaborations.
If you have never purchased this album, or need another copy, this one is an easy find. It is available as an MP3 download, plus copies on CD and vinyl are still easy (and cheap) to find. Even cassette copies show up from time to time. Checking on eBay and Amazon, I see most copies are less than ten dollars, with a few exceptions.
It is a classic George Jones album, in my opinion. Consistently good from start to finish with no weak tracks. “Good Ones and Bad Ones” and “Couldn’t Love Have Picked A Better Place to Die” are as good as the singles, while the rest of the album ranges from good to great. As always, Billy Sherrill provided impeccable production and George’s vocals were as good as ever, here.
You’re welcome to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section, below.
As always, we are saving vinyl, one record at a time.
MORE GREAT ALBUMS…
About The Author
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, model railroader, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, focusing on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.