Time to look back at one of sixty-seven (at least) albums that George Jones recorded during his hall of fame career. “You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart” was as May, 1984 release on the Epic label. Not one of George’s most successful albums, though it did briefly reach the top twenty in sales.
Only one track, the title cut, was released as a single. And that’s the track that opens the album. The late singer/songwriter Leon Payne wrote the song, which Dean Martin recorded in the late 1960’s. Con Hunley scored a top twenty country hit with the song, in 1978. But it took George Jones to make it a top ten hit, climbing to number three in the spring of 1984. A perfectly suited ballad for the Possum, rating as one of his more underrated hits, especially from the 1980’s.
As for the rest of the album, there are some choice cuts, including “From Strangers, To Lovers, To Friends”. It’s an ordinary song made extraordinary in the hands of George Jones. The same for “The Second Time Around”, which in the hands of most other singers would be simple, “plain-Jane” country.
The album’s wrap-up track is good. “Learning to Do Without Me” is pure George Jones at his best. A medium-slow song that is full of heartache, but not morbidly so. George nails it, as usual.
The only other original track, here, is “Love Shine”. While again, a song that itself, is very ordinary, you have George Jones performing, here, with a sound that comes off as a mix of Jones classics “White Lightning” and “Love Bug”. That makes the track better than it otherwise would likely come off.
The rest of the album’s tracks are covers, including the 1971 Bobby Bare hit, “Come Sundown”. This track shows off George’s incredible ability to get to the heart with his vocal ability. You like George, you’ll like this track. Another highlight is his take on the Jerry Wallace “Even the Bad Times Are Good”. My opinion, this song was single-worthy.
The best track on the album, is George Jones covering the John Anderson hit “Your Lying Blue Eyes. Outstanding country music!
There’s also the up-tempo Moon Mullican tune “I’m Ragged but I’m Right”. George wrote the song and it became Mullican’s last hit. But he didn’t record it until this album. A light-hearted, fun piece that is enjoyable to listen to.
But the most interesting cover on the album is George’s take on the 1954 T. Texas Tyler hit, “Courtin’ In the Rain”. It’s a goofy novelty piece, yet if you like George Jones novelty work like ‘I’m A People” or “Nothing Ever Hurt Me (Half as Bad as Losing You)”, then you’ll like it.
Overall, this is an okay, not spectacular album. Compared to the release dates of Jones Country, (released in October, 1983) and Ladies Choice, (released in September, 1984), you wonder if this album was a filler between the two. Still, it’s not a bad album, though not nearly the best of George Jones’ extensive discography. Still worth an occasional listen, though. I rate it a 3.5 out of 5. As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments section below.
About Thy Author
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, focusing on classic country and top 40 oldies music. After convincing Vincennes University in Indiana to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting, he has spent most of his adult life on the radio. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina, including his current gig, hosting the weekly World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show. You can hear it Thursdays, 4-7p ET on WSFM-LP/AshevilleFM, which is at 103.3 FM in Asheville, North Carolina, as well as online at ashevillefm.org. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.