There has always been a close connection between gospel and country music. There was also a close connection between George Jones and Tammy Wynette. These two facts bring us to the latest release by Real Gone Music.
Wynette, (1942-1998), and Jones (1931-2013), were known as the “President and First Lady” of country music. Together they were married nine times, including to each other, placed well over 200 singles on the Country Music Charts, including 39 that reached number one, and recorded nine studio albums together.
As with many country artists during the 1960s-19980s, they recorded a number of religious or gospel songs. Now their catalogue of Christian music has been gathered together under the title Songs Of Inspiration. Included is their 1972 duet album We Love To Sing About Jesus, Wynette’s 1969 solo release Inspiration, plus a number of assorted singles.
Whether solo or together, they were artists from country music’s classic period, complete with twangy voices and tough songs of failed relationships, drinking, failure, and sinful ways. It may be that gospel music helped them to recover from those types of songs and present music that was positive and inspirational.
We Love To Sing About Jesus was an album with songs written especially for them. It contains the CD’s most creative music but also the most dated, which can be either good or bad depending on your appreciation of country music of almost 50 years ago.
“Me And Jesus,” “When Jesus Takes His Children Home,” “Show Him That You Love Him,” and “Let’s All Sing Ourselves To Glory” contain the vocal give and take of their duet style. It is southern gospel of the hills meeting the sound of Nashville. In many ways it is Wynette that dominates the music as her voice takes center stage, while Jones fills in the gaps.
Wynette’s solo release takes fewer chances but because the songs are well-known classics, it still holds up well today. “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “How Great Thou Art,” “I Believe,” and “He” are delivered with passion and conviction. It is the slower paced songs, however, that fit her style best. “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands,” and the album ending “May The God Lord Bless And Keep You” have a wonderful flow and cadence.
The singles are basically of historical interest but Jones’ “It’s A 10-33 (Let’s Get Jesus On The Line)” has a lighter touch than the rest of the music.
George Jones and Tammy Wynette were country music icons and their popularity began the process of bringing country music into the mainstream. Songs Of Inspiration presents a little known part of their career and is well-worth a listen.