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George Jones

Kickin' Out the Footlights...Again – 2006 (Bandit)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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In 1982, Merle Haggard and George Jones joined forces to put out "Yesterday's Wine" together. They reunited again during recording sessions in mid-August for 14 songs, 5 Hag songs done by The Possum, 5 Jones identified-songs sung by The Hag and 4 duets.

Truth be told, these two guys can still get it done despite being 69 and 75 respectively. Haggard and Jones make references to aging to in the opening and closing duets of "Footlights" and Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."

The Hag is in particularly fine voice easily tackling "Things Have to Gone to Pieces" and "The Race Is On" and "The Window Up Above" (a 1961 hit for Jones).

Jones' vocals are a bit more strained, showing some age, but that's not a major criticism because he sounds in control as well most of the time (the sad Death Row ballad "Sing Me Back Home").

And together, they sound just fine, such as on Johnny Bond's playful 1951 hit "Sick, Sober & Sorry."

Keith Stegall did a superb job in producing, letting the voices come through throughout without rushing the mainly slow tempo songs, but after all that is what this is all about anyway. Occasional backing vocals and stellar playing from the likes of Norm Hamlet on steel, Pig Robbins on piano and the A session folks works quite well.

One assumes this effort was a (quick) labor of love, just something two aging superstars wanted to do for the fun of it. The pleasure is all ours.