In the 2002 re-issue of Johnny Cash’s 25th-anniversary studio album Silver, originally released in 1979, remakes of his two early career songs were added as bonus tracks. The first was “I Still Miss Someone,” and the second was “I Got Stripes,” and both of these Johnny Cash’s songs were duets with none other than George Jones, the “Nashville royalty, name-checked by every young country singer with any sense,” as Ian Crouch of The New Yorker described him.
Cash opened the song, and just like the original, his distinct vocals blended well with the upbeat sounds of the song. It was so fun and easy to sing along to the song’s lyrics despite it literally narrating the step-by-step happenings of how they went to jail.
Jones joined him in the chorus, his golden, iconic voice perfectly harmonizing with Cash’s. After that, he took over the second verse, and his pure hillbilly and pitch-perfect baritone came shining through, giving the song a different vibe and flavor.
Then they once again hit it off in the chorus, sounding playful, almost like inviting you for a dance. But honestly, the ending part was the best part of the whole song. As they sang the last line, “They’re about to drag us down,” they also dramatically slowed it down. Then Cash literally dragged the lyric “down” as the guitar made its final strums. It was satisfyingly fitting.
Listen to Johnny Cash and George Jones’ duet of “I Got Stripes” in the video below.
George Jones, Johnny Cash