Kickin' Out the Footlights...Again

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Kickin' Out the Footlights...Again
Studio album by George Jones and Merle Haggard
Released October 24, 2006
Recorded Summer 2006
Genre Country
Length 41:79
Label Bandit
Producer Merle Haggard
Lou Bradley
Keith Stegall
George Jones chronology
God's Country: George Jones and Friends
(2006)
Kickin' Out the Footlights...Again
(2006)
Burn Your Playhouse Down – The Unreleased Duets
(2008)
Merle Haggard chronology
Chicago Wind
(2005)
Kickin' Out the Footlights...Again
(2006)
Last of the Breed
(2007)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau [2]

Kickin' Out the Footlights...Again is an album by American country music artists George Jones and Merle Haggard, released in 2006.

Background[edit]

Jones and Haggard had previously recorded one album together in 1982, A Taste of Yesterday's Wine, which produced the number one single "Yesterday's Wine". Their friendship stretched much farther back, however, with Haggard telling Rolling Stone in 2013, "I met him at the Blackboard Café in Bakersfield, California, which was the place to go in '61. He was already famous for not showing up or showing up drunk, and he showed up drunk. I was onstage - I think I was singing Marty Robbins' 'Devil Woman' - and he kicked the doors of the office open and said 'Who the fuck is that?'" Jones had said repeatedly over the years that, next to Hank Williams, Haggard was his favorite singer. In the 1990s, their paths began to cross more frequently as they were often paired in the same breath by just about any young country singer when it came to discussing authentic country music. In 1996, Jones was a surprise guest on an episode of TNN's Prime Time Live that was saluting Haggard and, in 1997, Jones and Haggard performed a rendition of "The Way I Am" together on another TV special honoring Haggard called Workin' Man - A Tribute. A year later Haggard returned the favor by appearing on The George Jones Show, a series of television specials on TNN. Haggard also took a guest spot on Jones's 1998 song "It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than This", which also features other country icons like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

Recording[edit]

Twenty-five years after their last album, Jones and Haggard took a different approach in 2006, each singing five songs originally recorded by the other, then teaming up for four full-fledged duets. One of these is the title track, which chronicles the tales of an aging country singer, a song clearly intended to appear somewhat autobiographical for these two legends (when Haggard appeared on Jones's television show, Jones requested that Haggard sing a verse of it and called it his favorite Hag song). It's not the only time that their advanced age is addressed on the album; indeed, the closing rendition of Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" plays with their senior citizenship.

Jones had previously recorded Haggard's early hit "All My Friends Are Strangers" when he was on the Musicor record label in the 1960s. Haggard had recorded Jones's smash "She Thinks I Still Care" on his 1969 album A Portrait of Merle Haggard.

Kickin' Out The Footlights...Again would be the final proper studio album recorded by Jones before his death in 2013.

Reception[edit]

The album reached number 25 on the Billboard country albums chart and received positive reviews, although many critics took note of Jones's increasingly withered voice. AllMusic: Of the two, George sounds a bit worse for wear - his voice is a little thin and slightly scratchy -- but even if their age is evident...the album also illustrates exactly why Jones and Haggard are two of the greatest vocalists in country music history." Amazon.com: "Jones particularly shines on 'The Way I Am,' and Haggard proves sublime on 'I Always Get Lucky with You.' Where the album really lights up, however, is on the duo's pocketful of duets, starting with a poignant and intensely resonant rendition of Haggard's classic aging-musician ballad, 'Footlights.'"

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Footlights"   Merle Haggard 3:39
2. "The Race Is On"   Don Rollins 2:11
3. "The Way I Am"   Sonny Throckmorton 3:05
4. "She Thinks I Still Care"   Dickey Lee 2:38
5. "All My Friends Are Strangers"   Liz Anderson 2:36
6. "Things Have Gone to Pieces"   Leon Payne 3:01
7. "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink"   Haggard 4:33
8. "Born with the Blues"   Haggard 4:46
9. "Sick, Sober and Sorry"   Tex Atchison, Eddie Hazelwood 3:05
10. "I Always Get Lucky with You"   Gary Church, Freddy Powers, Tex Whitson 3:21
11. "Sing Me Back Home"   Haggard, Buck Owens 2:58
12. "Window Up Above"   George Jones 2:38
13. "You Take Me for Granted"   Leona Williams 2:48
14. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"   Sidney Keith, Edward Kennedy 3:00

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 25
U.S. Billboard 200 119
U.S. Billboard Independent Albums 7

Personnel[edit]

  • Eddie Bayers – Drums
  • Lou Bradley – Producer, Engineer
  • Jason Campbell – Production Coordination
  • Michael Campbell – Project Manager
  • Doug Colosio – Piano
  • Hargus "Pig" Robbins – Piano
  • Nathan Dickinson – Assistant Engineer
  • Stuart Duncan – Fiddle, Mandolin
  • Larry Frankin – Fiddle
  • Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar
  • David Gulliver – Assistant Engineer
  • Merle Haggard – Guitar, Producer
  • Norm Hamlet – Pedal Steel
  • Nancy Jones – Photography
  • Jerry Jordan – Photography
  • Scott Joss – Guitar
  • John Kelton – Engineer, Mixing
  • Matt Lumpkin – Photography
  • Liana Manis – Background vocals
  • Brent Mason – Acoustic & Electric Guitar
  • Susan Nadler – Executive Producer
  • Matt Rovey – Engineer, Assistant Engineer
  • John Wesley Ryles – Background vocals
  • Evelyn Shriver – Executive Producer
  • Marty Slayton – Background vocals
  • Keith Stegall – Producer
  • Norman Stevens – Guitar
  • Todd Tilwell – Assistant Engineer
  • Rhonda Vincent – Background vocals
  • Bruce Watkins – Acoustic Guitar
  • Hank Williams – Mastering
  • Kevin Williams – Bass
  • Glenn Worf – Bass

References[edit]