When you think of Grandpa Jones, and I know you do, you probably think of him like this:
Which is proper and good. That's what Grandpa Jones does. He plays the banjer really loud and yells and stomps. And occasionally tells you what's for supper.
Which is what makes The Other Side of Grandpa Jones such a weird experience.
Country music has a tradition of dealing with the tragic sides of life. It's part of what you sign up for when you listen to it. But a comic figure like Granpda is so anti-tragedy at face value that when something like this record comes along, there's a disconnect. Sure, Grandpa never shied away from songs of tragedy and ballads of lost love before, but they were generally balanced out with a "Chicken Don't Roost Too High" or an "I'm No Communist". But not here. Having 14 Grandpa Jones downer tracks in a row is pretty harsh. Just look at this track list:
You'll notice (if you are not blinded by the conspicuous overuse of the word "darling") that this is some sad, sad business. I understand that the record buying public had no idea who Louis Marshall Jones was, and in order for this to sell, it had to have the "Grandpa Jones" name on it, but this is a Louis Marshall Jones album if there ever was one. In fact, I'm not 100% sure that there's even any banjo playing on it at all. Which is not at all to say that this isn't a good record. Because it is.
It just isn't the Grandpa you know from Hee-Haw.
Click here to be seriously bummed out by Grandpa Jones.
Oh, and the first song skips. I am aware of this. But this track is available on Grandpa's album "Mountain Dew", which you probably already have, so you'll be fine...