A testament to his iconic status, country legend George Jones has more greatest-hits compilations than even the most prolific musicians have traditional albums.
His latest, "A Collection of My Best Recollection," contains 12 of his classics, including "Why Baby Why," "The Race Is On," "White Lightnin'," and, of course, "He Stopped Lovin' Her Today," along with two previously unreleased songs, "I Don't Want to Know" and "I'm a Long Gone Daddy."
The compilation debuted in September, released exclusively through the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, a less-than traditional record distributor with whom Jones said he was eager to work.
"I've been eating there for as long as I can remember," he said. "I love the idea of having my music right there in their retail store."
Jones said the "Recollection" release was a project he assembled for all generations of his fans.
"We picked out the ones that we get the most people talking about " all the big things that a lot of people might have lost or wore out or something," he said. "They can get the real recordings of the same hit songs that I've had out over the years, right there together on one CD package."
Among the pair of new tracks featured, "I Don't Want to Know" is the one Jones is particularly anxious for audiences to hear.
"I think it's a beautiful song," he said of the ballad.
"Recollection" also contains an older recording of "You're Still on My Mind."
"It will be like a new song to the new fans, if I still have them," he said with a laugh. "I love my fans. I love them as much as they do me, because they'll stick by you. I've got the best fans in the world. Even though we don't get that much radio play anymore, we still try to keep (releasing) new stuff so we can at least have it to sell on the road with us."
His Oklahoma City fans will get their chance to see him on Friday when he performs at Norman's Riverwind Casino. After years of touring, it would seem that Jones, now 78, might be ready for a break from the road, but the singer/songwriter still has the same passion for it that he had when he started.
"I still got the fire for it," he said.
Jones hopes that more full-length albums will be distributed in the near future with Cracker Barrel, but in the meantime, he has been putting the finishing touches on another project, which he feels is his best work yet.
"We've got a new album of brand-new songs that's been recorded already. I'm going back in to re-do my singing and touch-up work," he said. "I think it's going to be a very talked-about album once we get it finished. I think it will be a great album. I think it will be the best I've done in quite a few years."
George Jones performs at 8 p.m. Friday at Riverwind Casino, 1544 W. State Highway 9 in Norman. "Alanna Conaway