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George Jones

A Picture of Me (Without You)/Nothing Ever Hurt Me (Half as Bad as Losing You) – 1998 (Koch)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

Some of George Jones' best work is contained on this two recordings on one-CD collection. Named after their hit singles, both were made in the early 1970's under the guiding eye and ear of his longtime producer, Billy Sherrill.

Though the two title cuts are country classics, most of the other selections on the 22-song CD are more obscure. No matter, for Jones' voice is in great form throughout, whether he's singing the uptempo, "You're Looking at a Happy Man," or "We Found a Match," or a more soulful ballad like, "Love Lives Again"' or "She Knows What She's Crying About." The final tune, "Wine (You've Used Me Long Enough)," co-written by Jones and Tammy Wynette, is the best one on the CD. The music is vintage Jones (and Sherrill). Only three songs are more than three minutes long. They come across as very produced, with lots of steel guitar and background vocals, but thankfully little of the orchestrations and string arrangements that punctuated many of the top country records of the time.

Jones got a lot of radio airplay in the '70's, while today he gets relatively little. This album serves to remind us why he may be the greatest country singer ever. His song stylings and nuances are still unmatched by a younger generation of crooners.