Nothing Ever Hurt Me (Half as Bad as Losing You) was the second album in the George Jones/Billy Sherrill collaboration and built on the strengths of A Picture of Me (Without You).
Sherrill backed off a bit on the lushness of the previous album and restrained more of Jones' honky tonk persona on the title track (by Bobby Braddock), "You're Looking at a Happy Man," and "Never Having You" (by Tom T.
The up-tempo nature of the disc was the last record Jones would make like this until he recorded with Merle Haggard in the 1980s.
This is not to say that ballads aren't plentiful here.
There's a fine read of "What's Your Mama's Name?" by Peanut Montgomery and Dallas Frazier that Sherrill had cut with Tanya Tucker a year earlier when she was just 14, and it went straight to number one.
Also, Jones' readings of "Made for the Blues" and Lefty Frizzell's "Mom and Dad Waltz" are solid, tender honky tonk ballads that offer the deep, raw emotion in the singer's best material.
Tammy Wynette and Montgomery's "You'll Never Grow Old (To Me)" is a love song delivered in the classic Jones manner with Sherrill using a Phil Spector-ish approach to arrangement and layering the piano on top of a wash of strings and a meandering pedal steel.
Sherrill and Jones collaborated on "What My Woman Can't Do," another of Jones' love songs, but done here in a mid-tempo honky tonk strut that is dynamite in its presentations.
Here the steel is in front of everything except Jones' vocal.
The strings, backing vocals, and acoustic guitar are separated to offer a sense of space in the mix.
The final cut, "Wine (You've Used Me Long Enough)," was written by Jones and Wynette and is a bitter surrender song to a lover: alcohol.
It was prophetic in that it was the single biggest factor in ending their marriage.
This is a dynamite set that offered a solid look at what Jones and Sherrill were capable of -- and delivered -- in the coming years.