- Released: December 12, 2007
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
No Depression - 7-8/00, p.95
"...The rarest of Nashville creations, an album that demands to be taken seriously as a comprehensive, complex work of art....[a] masterpiece."
- 1.He Stopped Loving Her Today
- 2.I've Aged Twenty Years in Five
- 3.Brother to the Blues
- 4.I Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)
- 5.His Lovin' Her Is Gettin' in My Way
- 6.I'm Not Ready Yet
- 7.I'm the One She Missed Him With Today
- 8.Good Hearted Woman
- 9.A Hard Act to Follow
- 10.Bone Dry
Personnel: George Jones (vocals, guitar); The Jordanaires, Millie Kirkham (background vocals).
Producer: Billy Sherrill.
Reissue producer: Al Quaglieri.
Recorded at CBS Recording Studios, Nashville, Tennessee. Includes liner notes by George Jones and Glenn Gass.
Digitally remastered by Joseph M. Palmaccio (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
This is part of Legacy's American Milestones series.
George Jones spent much of the late 1970s in a cocaine and alcohol-induced haze, spiraling down into a state of dissipation that eventually landed him in the hospital. A well-publicized stint in rehab was followed by the recording of I AM WHAT I AM, an album that bears the imprint of Jones' rough and rowdy past, as well as his uncertainty over what the future held. Drinking is the central focus of many of the songs on I AM WHAT I AM. Best among them are "If Drinking Don't Kill Me, Her Memory Will," a tune destined to be remembered as one of Jones' signature tunes, and "I've Aged Twenty Years In Five."
Elsewhere, Jones sings about barroom pickups ("A Hard Act To Follow," "Brother To The Blues"), patient women and their philandering husbands ("Good Hearted Woman," "Bone Dry"), and good old fashioned cheating ("I'm The One She Missed Him With Today"). Of course, what really distinguishes I AM WHAT I AM is the presence of "He Stopped Loving Her Today," easily the best single of George Jones' later career. As on most 1980s country records, the slick production is an acquired taste.