Leon Payne was a honky tonk songwriter who only had one chart hit, the sentimental "I Love You Because", but composed a slew of hits for other artists, most notably "Lost Highway" and "They'll Never Ever Take Her Love From Me" for country music icon Hank Williams. Jones had been recording Payne's songs since his early days on Mercury Records and this collection, which features eight songs written solely by Payne, would be his last for Musicor (Jones recorded a similar album called Sings the Songs of Dallas Frazier in 1968 with similar artwork).
The album includes "Take Me", a song Jones wrote with Payne, and the raucous Jones original "Brothers of a Bottle". "Things Have Gone To Pieces" had been a top ten hit for Jones in 1965.
The album, which features some of Payne's more obscure songs, reached number 26 on the country albums chart. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic calls the album one of the finest minor gems in the Possum's catalogue: "From ballads like "Blue Side of Lonesome" to uptempo honky tonkers like "Brothers of a Bottle," all of the cuts on The Great Songs of Leon Payne are first-rate and Jones brings each of them to life."