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“Jackson” provides a sneak peek into one of country music’s classic romances

Johnny and June forever.

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.

When June Carter Cash died in May of 2003, it seemed inevitable that Johnny Cash would follow shortly after. The two were classic lovebirds, and while their relationship may not always have been peaches and cream, it was clear—to the casual observer, at least—they were meant to be. While the duo sang a number of duets in the 35 years they were married, “Jackson” shines the brightest. The story of a ne’er-do-well traveler trying to win over a sweet gal rings so true to the duo’s reality that listeners can’t help but feel like they’re hearing just what made the couple tick. While various versions of the song exist, the one on the just-released record The Greatest: Country Classics: Johnny Cash is just a little more pared down than most, making it even more intimate.