Raven's 2016 compilation The Tour de Force 1972-1980 does all George Jones fans a service by combining his five greatest albums for Epic in one double-disc set. The Tour de Force opens with 1972's A Picture of Me (Without You), then proceeds to 1973's Nothing Ever Hurt Me (Half as Bad as Losing You), 1974's The Grand Tour, and 1975's Memories of Us before concluding with 1980's I Am What I Am; the bonus tracks "The Battle," "I Can't Get Over What Lovin' You Has Done," and "Love Coming Down" are added to the end. Purportedly, these are the albums that seem to tell the tale of Jones' doomed romance with Tammy Wynette, but the essential detail is these are the masterpieces producer Billy Sherrill constructed with George; on each album, the songs are smartly selected and exquisitely produced. On a practical level for listeners, this set also contains many of the Possum's biggest hits, including the title tracks from the first four albums here and "He Stopped Loving Her Today," but the true joy of the set is realizing how deep each of these five albums is: each provides profound, lasting pleasure. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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