Even taken out of context, the lyrics to a half-dozen or so of George Jones's best-known and best-loved songs form a context all their own, and continue to eclipse latter-day sad bastards such as Morrissey and Belle & Sebastian for sheer pathos: "She came to see him one last time... Many blooms still linger there... I see lots of sad faces, and lots of bad cases... Here comes pride up the back stretch, heartache comin' on the inside... I thought we belonged together, and our hearts fit like a glove... Can you picture heaven with no angels singing?" Now 78, the Big Thicket native's shadow is still as long as the tall, tall trees he once sang about: In last Sunday's New York Times, soundtrack producer and music supervisor T-Bone Burnett cited Jones as one of the principal templates for Jeff Bridges's hard-luck honky-tonker in the upcoming film Crazy Heart, and the Drive-By Truckers piggy-backed his notorious exploits behind the wheel on their recent alt-country hit "Talkin' George Jones Cell Phone Blues." One of country music's last true living legends alongside Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, Jones has long since outraced his "No-Show" reputation, and any time he's in the area is a date with history. Why baby why? Because he's the Possum, and there will never be another.
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