George Jones's debut album reissued by Secret Stash Records' new imprint, Reserve Records
Secret Stash Records has emerged as a leading crate-digging boutique label during the past few years, and now the Minneapolis-based group of music lovers is expanding. While many of their releases have grasped a funky side of underrepresented sounds, the team's musical interests go far beyond just the stuff found on City Pages' Best Local Music Compilation of 2013, Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost Grooves From Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979.
Hence, welcome to Reserve Records, Secret Stash's new imprint. And the announcement comes with Reserve's first release, departed country legend George Jones's 1957 debut album, Grand Ole Opry's New Star. He may sing "You can't keep a finger in two different pies" on the foot-tapping "You Gotta Be My Baby," but this new avenue makes right sense for Secret Stash.
Jones eventually became one of country's first big stars, but in 1956 he was just a mostly unknown 25-year-old rising out of Texas. He performed at the storied Grand Ole Opry that year, and Starday Records put out the album to capitalize on the success of his appreance. What is immediately obvious on this collection is that Possum had already figured out his expressive and stunning style of singing -- which has influenced countless others to this day -- and his cocky swagger too, as evidenced on this raw early version of "Ragged But Right."
Duets became part of Jones's lasting legacy too -- he collaborated with everyone from ex-wife Tammy Wynette to Emmylou Harris to Garth Brooks to Johnny Cash to Keith Richards -- but his run began on Grand Ole Opry's New Star. "Yearning" with Jeanette Hicks interweaves their voices in such a way that you never want to hear them apart.
In the nearly 60 years since its initial release, this album has never been reissued in its entirety, and original copies fetch princely sums. Now the remastered and restored Grand Ole Opry's New Star is much more attainable, which has always been a central tenet of the Secret Stash mission.
This weekend marks a release show at Turf Club. The lineup includes the Blackberry Brandy Boys, Curtiss A, Frankie Lee, Actual Wolf, Eleganza, John Swardson, and DJs Truckstache and Vandy.
George Jones's Grand Ole Opry's New Star release show. $6. 9 p.m. Saturday, September 14, at Turf Club. RSVP.