Hell-raisers George Jones and Johnny Cash never did hard time, but both briefly viewed life through the bars of a jail cell. And on this day 35 years ago, they teamed up to sing Cash’s “I Got Stripes” live onstage.
Cash, of course, became well-known for his support of prisoners and would record legendary albums at two of California’s most notorious institutions, Folsom and San Quentin. Jones, meanwhile, waged a lifelong battle with alcohol and drug abuse and, at the height of his addiction, his reputation for missing concerts earned him the nickname of “No-Show Jones.” But later in life, once he got sober, Jones’ business acumen resulted in a number of interesting ventures, including his own brands of dog food, sausage and “White Lightning” moonshine, named after one of his most famous songs. Jones also opened a number of country-music nightclubs and music parks and is now the centerpiece of one of Nashville’s most-visited downtown attractions, the George Jones, which includes a smokehouse, rooftop bar, event space and a signature museum.
Jones had previously owned the George Jones Rhythm Ranch in Vidor, Texas, opened in 1966, and in 1971, he and then-wife Tammy Wynette opened the Old Plantation Country Music Park in Lakeland, Florida. He also was one of the artists involved in the Dothan, Alabama, entertainment resort called Country Crossing, which opened in 2010 and included his “Possum Holler Bed & Breakfast.
On April 1st, 1984, the country legend celebrated the opening of another venue, the Jones Country Music Park in Colmesneil, Texas. Adjacent to the park and campground was the log home he and his wife of a year, Nancy Sepulveda Jones, were moving into at the time, having recently left Nashville (where they would eventually return).
Open for a few weeks the previous Labor Day weekend, the East Texas music park celebrated its grand opening with an appearance by Cash. A highlight of the event was the pair’s duet of Cash’s 1959 prison-themed hit “I Got Stripes.” Unreleased until 2002, their jubilant recorded version of “I Got Stripes,” as heard in the above clip, would be included as a bonus track on the re-release of Cash’s 1979 LP, Silver.