Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jones Sings Haggard, Haggard Sings Jones: Kickin' Out the Footlights . . . Again

Hag and Jones cover each other's songs--what's not to like?

Because George Jones and Merle Haggard are our premier living country artists -- male, anyway (hello, Dolly) -- their album of four duets and five solos apiece can't be ignored. Sometimes some synergy is just what an old dog needs, and having them sing each other's hits is a neat idea. But though the seventy-five-year-old Jones will stand as one of the greatest singers in any genre, his vocal edge has blurred so noticeably in recent years that the wistful "All My Friends Are Strangers" isn't just his finest performance on this likable-enough album, but in this millennium. So Haggard, who at sixty-nine has been picking up his game of late, carries the team. On solo shots such as "Things Have Gone to Press" and "I Always Get Lucky With You," the words have clearly passed through his brain before reaching his larynx -- a larynx that if we're lucky will continue to resonate for another decade.

Rolling Stone, Dec. 14, 2006