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James Taylor Looks Back on Working with the Late George Jones
By: Gary Graff

James Taylor
was among those mourning the passing of country music icon George Jones last week -- and with a more personal connection than many other musicians expressing their condolences.

Taylor wrote a tribute to Jones, "Bartender's Blues," for his 1977 album "JT," and Jones turned it into a Top 10 country hit the following year on his 1978 album of the same name, which Taylor tells us he found gratifying:

"It's like life imitates art. It's sort of an amazing sort of turn of events that he would cover a song that had been so much informed by him on the first place. It was just perfect...I had written the song as a tribute to him and with him in mind 'cause he's maybe, after Hank Williams, I think the greatest...As far as I'm concerned he's a real innovator and one of the most remarkable American singers ever."

Taylor was thrilled even more when Jones asked him to sing a duet with him on "Bartender's Blues" for his 1979 album "My Very Special Friends:"

"I got a phone call about a year or two after that ('JT') album with 'Bartender's Blues' came out...him inviting me through is producer to sing harmony to him on it. And it was one of those things where the producer brought the track to a studio in New York and I came into town and put my part on it...singing with his voice, singing with him on that track is, oh man it was great."

Taylor and Jones met in Nashville a few years later, and the two kept in touch until Jones' death on Friday (April 26) at the age of 81.

CLICK HERE to learn out more about Gary Graff and his award-winning music journalism including the books he has written on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

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