On This Day: George Jones Records ‘No Money in This Deal’ in 1954

by Kayla Zadel
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Today marks the day legendary country singer-songwriter George Jones recorded “No Money in This Deal.” This song, which Jones recorded 67-years ago, was one of his first recordings. This debut song became one of around 900 songs that the legendary artist recorded during his 61-year-career.

George Jones was 22-years-old when he signed his contract with Starday Records. Shortly after the signing, Jones went to Beaumont, Texas to record for the first time. However, he didn’t step right into a recording studio. Jones, also known as the Possum, recorded five songs in the living room of producer and co-founder of Starday, Jack Starnes. Of the five songs he cut with The Western Cherokees, was “No Money in This Deal.”

Jones wrote the song himself. It reflects the influence of Lefty Frizzell both in the lyrics and the vocal styling. Furthermore, the song is very similar to Frizzell’s 1950 hit “If You Got the Money (I’ve Got the Time).”

The song mentioned Jones’ two sisters, Joyce and Loyce, in the song.

“Now you might say to me let’s eat I might say my name is Pete And you say that yours is Joyce But I know it could be Lois [Loyce],” are lyrics from the honky-tonk tune where Jones mentions his sisters.

In a 1994 interview with Texas Monthly, Jones tells the publication, “Oh, it was just one of them stupid things you write at the time.” Jones continues, “Bunch of junk. It didn’t seem like junk so much back in those days, but it would be junk today.”

“No Money in This Deal” was only a regional hit, but it launched Jones’ career.

George Jones Re-Records Debut Hit

Jones recorded “No Money in This Deal” in 1956. It was on his fourth studio album which was released the following year.

Additionally, when the track first gained notoriety, many people thought he was copying other artists that came before him, like  Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, and Lefty Frizzell. However, he addresses the claims in his 1996 autobiography.

“I can’t imagine being as nervous today as I was when I cut my first two songs for Starday at age twenty-two. When anybody gets nervous they rely on their reflexes, and I was no exception,” Country Thang Daily shares.

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