Picks and Pans Review: Too Wild Too Long

updated 02/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

George Jones

George does not seem like the sort of guy a woman would bring home to meet the folks—though that hasn't stopped three former Mrs. Joneses from defying those odds. He is not likely to win any Nobel Prizes—or hunk contests, for that matter. But he sure can sing country songs. This is his 48th album, and it is slyly funny, nicely paced and generally as close to perfect as anyone ought to want to get. It's a major asset that Jones and his longtime producer, Billy Sherrill, have shaken such an entertaining, appropriate bunch of songs out of the trees. The title track, by Troy Seals and Eddie Setser, is a confession of the inability to settle down. The Bird, by A.L. "Doodle" Owen and Dennis Knutson, details how a tale-telling parrot broke up a marriage: His wife has left him, Jones sings, "And the last thing I gave her/ Was the bird." The U.S.A. Today, by Johnny MacRae and Ron Hellard, is the most respectable bit of flag-waving since Merle Haggard's Okie from Muskogee, and a tune by Scott Ewing and Mark Sherrill laments, "There's nothing good/ 'Bout you being gone/ But it sure makes/ One hell of a song." There's even a lovely romantic cut, Moments of Brilliance by Richard Davies Burt, about a woman who makes her otherwise unexceptional man feel that "There are times when I'm flawless/ Perfection itself/ There are times when I'm even/ Amazed at myself." Jones renders these sentiments in his standard warble, with his standard ain't-nobody-here-but-us-foxes tone. It's hard not to admire the lack of hypocrisy of a man with his reputation who can sing the lines, "Sometimes I miss a family/ Sometimes I miss a plane/ Sometimes I don't even show up at all." (Epic)

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