In which we find the ol’ Possum in better voice than we’ve heard him in years, which means we actually get about a half-dozen voices, from a taut, tenor twang through clenched-teeth expressions of agony to (the sure goose-bump raiser) a hushed, compassionate whisper.
High-Tech Redneck has two centerpieces: the title track, a novelty rave-up in the grand tradition of Jones’s 1959 hit “White Lightnin’,” and “The Visit.” The latter is country gothic, the kind of over-the-top melodrama—à la “He Stopped Loving Her Today”—that Jones revels in.
Those are the attention getters, but what makes this a good album is the supporting tunes’ generally high quality. “I’ve Still Got Some Hurtin’ Left to Do,” for instance, is a first-rate country weeper; “Never Bit a Bullet Like This” is almost as tough a rocker as “Redneck.” Jones hasn’t been well served by recent producers, and respectable material like this goes partway toward repayment to him. Nonetheless, at 62, country’s greatest voice still deserves at least one truly classy collection of songs before he packs it in. (MCA)”