Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

George Jones: Alone Again [Epic, 1976]
Although it sticks too close to heart songs, this comeback-to-basics statement is the best country album of the year and far surpasses the rest of Jones's recent work. I'm getting to like the over-forty Jones as much as the rawboned honky-tonker anyway--what's amazing about him is that by refusing the release of honky-tonking he holds all that pain in, audibly. The result, expressed in one homely extended metaphor per song (the only one that's too commonplace is "diary of my life"), is a sense of constriction that says as much about the spiritual locus of country music as anything I've heard in quite a while. A-