Sept. 12: In honor of George Jones’ 78th birthday today, here’s a gem from his Epic years. The title suggests apathy, but the Possum clearly didn’t phone it in when he cut this song.

Click to listen

Click to listen

Jones was hotter than a two-dollar pistol in the early part of the 1970s. Under the great producer Billy Sherrill, he was recording earnest ballads for Epic that took advantage of his expressive country voice. But Jones hit a rough patch as his marriage to Tammy Wynette disintegrated. In last half of the decade, he had only two Top 10 solo hits. “I Just Don’t Give A Damn” barely cracked the Top 100 in 1975.

As he interprets the words he and Jimmy Peppers wrote, Jones sounds like a man who’s hurting through and through. It’s a great performance — one I hadn’t heard until singer-songwriter and journalist Peter Cooper suggested it to me. Hat’s off to Peter, a man who knows his Jones.

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