Although George Jones was well into a career marked by a reputation for drinking like a fish and being quite the rabble-rouser, the release of IN A GOSPEL WAY showed another side of the hard-living country singer. Having grown up with a mother who played piano in church, GOSPEL WAY was not such a far-fetched idea for Jones. He recorded eleven Gospel songs ranging from lushly orchestrated traditional fare ("Amazing Grace") to the rollicking "Mama Was A Preacher Man," co-written by the dulcet-toned Texan himself.
The redemptive touch of God is reflected in the tale of a ne'er-do-well who sees the light in "The Baptism Of Jesse Taylor," and the search for absolution in Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me, Lord?" seems a thinly disguised plea for salvation from the rough-and-tumble Jones. Although producer Billy Sherrill's use of billowy string arrangements, crying steel guitar and the Jordanaires and Nashville Edition as background vocalists makes GOSPEL WAY a neat, countrypolitan package, Possum's pain radiates clearly in songs such as "Mama's Hands" and "Release Me (From My Sin)."