George Jones – Bartender’s Blues

Reached # 6 on the charts of US Hot Country Songs, remaining on the charts for a total of 14 weeks. It was Jones' first Top 10 single in two years. The song was included in George's studio album, Baretender's Blues (Epic 1978)

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Bartender’s Blues, a song written and recorded for the first time by James Taylor for the Columbia label, was recorded between March 15 and April 24, 1977, at The Sound Factory, Hollywood, California. The song was included in the JT album (Columbia 1977).

George Jones recorded it for the Epic label, on October 10, 1977, at Columbia Recording Studio, 34 Music Sq. East, Nashville, TN, at the recording session, accompanied by James Taylor (vocal), Phil Baugh (guitar), Billy Sanford (guitar), Reggie Young (guitar), Pete Drake (steel), Henry Strzelecki (bass), Jim Isbell (drums) and Hargus Robbins (piano). With the production of Billy Sherrill, the song was released in January 1978, on March 14, 1978, reached # 6 on the charts of US Hot Country Songs, remaining on the charts for a total of 14 weeks. It was Jones’ first Top 10 single in two years.

The song was included in George’s studio album, Baretender’s Blues (Epic 1978), the album was released in early 1978, on August 26, 1978, reached # 34 of the US Top Country Albums charts, and it remained a total of 8 weeks on the charts.

In autumn of 1994 on October 11, George Jones re-recorded Bartender’s Blues, duo with Trisha Yerwood for the MCA label, at Bradley’s Barn, Bender’s Ferry Road, Mount Juliet, TN. In the recording session they were accompanied by: Mac McAnally (guitar), Johnny Jennings (electric guitar), Brian Ahearn (guitar), Tommy Spurlock (steel), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Marty Stuart (mandolin), Ricky Skaggs (fiddle), Glenn Worf (bass), Eddie Bayers (drums) and Glen D Hardin (piano). The song was included in George’s studio album, The Bradley Barn Sessions (MCA 1994).



About the song:

“Bartender’s Blues” is the attempt by James Taylor (Singer-songwriter, guitarist rock and roll) to write country music, which was not the typical genre in which Taylor wrote. It was also an attempt to provide a different perspective on the theme of common country music from a client who told his bartender his problems. In this song, the bartender tells his story. The bartender feels trapped and unhappy at his job, and is looking for a “honky tonk angel” to save him.

Some versions:

Rico Bell 1996 (Bloodshot Records)
Lannie Garrett 1997 (Minerva Records)
Bonnie Raitt 2007 (Vanguard)
Ben Taylor 2007 (One Eighty Music)
Amy Grant 2007 (New West Records)





George Jones – Bartender’s Blues lyrics

Well, I’m just a bartender
And I don’t like my work
But I don’t mind the money at all
I’ve seen lots of sad faces
And lots of bad cases
Of folks with their backs to the wall

[Chorus:]
But I got four walls around me, to hold my life
To keep me from going astray
And a honky tonk angel, to hold me tight
To keep me from slipping away

Well I can light up your smokes
I can laugh at your jokes
I can watch you fall down on your knees
I can close down this bar
Oh and gas up my car
And I can pack up and mail in my keys

[Chorus:]
But I got four walls around me, to hold my life
To keep me from going astray
And a honky tonk angel, to hold me tight
To keep me from slipping away

Now the smoke fills the air
Of this honky tonk bar
And I’m thinkin’ bout where I’d rather be
But I burned all my bridges
And I sunk all my ships
And I’m stranded at the edge of the sea

[Chorus:]
But I got four walls around me, to hold my life
To keep me from going astray
And a honky tonk angel, to hold me tight
To keep me from slipping away…

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