George Jones & Tammy Wynette | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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George Jones & Tammy Wynette

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George Jones shows are notorious crapshoots; his voice remains as powerful as ever, if a bit fuller and more rueful, but inspiration and engagement, along with the man himself, are frequently missing in action. However, at least theoretically, a duet gig makes it more likely that Jones will hold up his end of the bargain. His terrific new album with ex-wife Tammy Wynette, One (MCA), actually delivers on the hype his albums initially generate, usually without warrant. Informed by a richer maturity than on 70s hits like "Golden Ring" and "We're Gonna Hold On," the duo's remarkable singing retains the old vibrancy, though age has mellowed them; most of the album consists of tender ballads or joyful, harmonious honky-tonk romps. Only on "If God Met You," a goofy belly-slapper that puts a feminist spin on the Almighty, do they get to squabbling. George complains, "That foreman's job they promised me they gave to a skirt," and Tammy replies, "If God met you she wouldn't like you"--a rather strange thing for a woman best known for singing "Stand by Your Man" to croon. Odds are the show will be a predictable showbiz cakewalk, but even if their personas have become wax-museum caricatures, the power of their voices hasn't diminished at all. Monday, 4 PM, Star Plaza Theatre, I-65 and U.S. 30, Merrillville, Indiana; 734-7266.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Harry Langdon.

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