George Jones & Merle Haggard Kickin' Out the Footlights... Again

While this isn’t the first time these two country music legends have appeared on record together, the twist on Kickin’ Out the Footlights... Again is having them trade places on some of each other’s trademark numbers. More specifically, we get Haggard tackling "The Race Is On” and "She Thinks I Still Care,” and Jones doing "Sing Me Back Home” and "All My Friends Are Strangers.” Sure, it might seem like a gimmick to hardcore fans, but with both men still in impeccable voice, why not bring them together for a clinic on what real country music is supposed to be? Of course, it’s hard to mess up most of this material, so the most interesting aspects are the lesser-known songs, such as "Born with the Blues” and "Sick, Sober, & Sorry,” both of which are treated as duets. But in the end, what becomes fascinating is how Haggard’s performances reveal how much he has been influenced by Jones as a singer, while Jones reveals how much Haggard’s writing skills have influenced his choice of material throughout his career. Like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson before them, Haggard and Jones perfectly complement each other in so many ways. It’s just unfortunate that it’s taken them this long to capture it on record. (Bandit)