Although Jones had left Mercury at the end of 1961 for United Artists, his old label continued releasing albums featuring sides by Jones from their archive, some of which dated back to his days recording on the independent Starday label.
As the title suggest, Blue and Lonesome includes songs that Jones built his reputation on: hardcore honky tonk songs with themes of heartache and loss. Although it is a compilation, it is an impressive collection featuring a mixed bag of Jones originals and songs made famous by others, including Marty Robbins, Don Gibson, Lefty Frizzell, and Hank Williams. The Jones-penned "Don't Stop The Music" had been a minor hit for the singer in early 1957 while "Life To Go", also written by Jones, was a top five smash for Stonewall Jackson in 1959. Blue and Lonesome also includes the original recording of "Color Of The Blues", a song Jones wrote with Lawton Williams that would go on to be recorded by Red Sovine, Skeeter Davis, Loretta Lynn, Elvis Costello, and Patty Loveless.
Blue and Lonesome was reissued by Righteous Records, a reissue imprint marketed and distributed by Great Britain's Cherry Red label with bonus tracks recorded earlier in Jones's career.
Thom Jurek of AllMusic calls Blue and Lonesome "an excellent portrait of Jones' transition. He was well on his way to becoming the great singer of broken love songs and honky tonk ballads from the rockabilly and hillbilly singer of his youth, and these tune prove it."