If you want country the way nature intended it, you can’t do much better than 1962’s George Jones Sings Bob Wills. That is, unless you skip the intermediary George Jones step and pick up some Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys.
I’d argue that point with you, though. Sure, Wills (and Hank and and and…) got there first, but Jones and his counterparts up through the early to mid-seventies took their predecessors’ blueprints and made them into something new. I think I just argued that George Jones just did for Bob Wills what Led Zeppelin did for Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. Let the internet trouncing begin.
Now, about that cover: A flat top and a Nudie suit with an Eisenhower jacket. Bad Album Cover Hall of Fame worthy? I’m listening.