All of the obituaries on George Jones mention his two nicknames, “The Possum,” and “No Show Jones.” Some point out that they were applied in either derision or jest, but the first certainly became a term of affection in the industry, and the latter George enshrined in a song.
He stood up us in Boston once. In a brief stint of reviewing I did for The Boston Globe, back in the ’80s I covered a concert with Bobby Bare opening for George at a rock club in Boston called The Paradise. George was there for one set, but after intermission had disappeared. Bobby filled in admirably. I never heard what happened to George, but some of the acts he toured with report that he often refused to do the closing sets, because he liked to retire to his bus and watch “Matlock” on TV. Other times he never made a date at all.
I did see him briefly in the dressing room backstage, but we didn’t talk. I was a good reviewer, but a lousy reporter.
The only other time I saw George in person was back in the early ’60s at a show he shared with Buck Owens, in Raleigh, NC. What a show! I still have the poster. I remembered it as held in a high-school gym, but the poster says “Memorial Auditorium,” wherever that is. That was the show which turned me into a hardcore honky-tonk fan. /CL