Gene Watson gave country radio some big hits from 1975’s ‘Love in the Hot Afternoon’ through 1988’s ‘Don’t Waste It on the Blues.’ Now, the country veteran has re-recorded his greatest hits for the ultimate fan collection, titled ‘Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits.’

In an exclusive interview with Taste of Country, Gene Watson, 68, said that unlike other re-recorded packages, “We tried everything in our might to get them so much like the originals.”

Fans will be delighted to hear ‘Fourteen Carat Mind’ and ‘Paper Rosie’ in their original arrangement -- and happy that they will finally be able to get all of Waston’s big hits in one collection "I had so many of these songs coming out on so many greatest hits packages, because these songs were recorded by more than one label," the Palestine, Texas native says. "So I decided to go back and do it on my own label, and that way I could control where they went, and bring them up to date with what I wanted to do. It was a little over a year in the making.”

Every major hit is in the collection, including Watson's signature song ‘Farewell Party.’ "That was a song that I had been singing in clubs for several years before I recorded it, and I knew that everybody really liked the song," he says. "It didn’t seem like anybody wanted me to record the song as they thought it was too sad, but it was as a song I had in my mind that I had to record.”

Shockingly, Watson’s classic tune may not have been a hit if he hadn’t had some extra time left in the recording studio. "We had 20 minutes left at the end of session and I thought that I wanted to give the song a run. What you hear on the original recording of this song was the first cut," Watson reveals. "It was just one of those magical things that happened.”

In addition to his new album and busy touring schedule, Watson has become a regular face of RFD-TV’s ‘Country’s Family Reunion’ series. The reunion of legends, hosted by Bill Anderson, is one event he always looks forward to.

"All of us artists that are on that show are usually all working at the same time in different places. That’s one of those times we get together and visit, compare stories, talk, it’s such a pleasure to do,” Watson says. The classic country TV show has become a huge hit with old-school music fans, he explains. "I’ve heard so many comments and compliments on the show on how people like to watch it.  They say, 'It looks like you’re all having so much fun’ -- and we are. We have a great time singing the songs that we think people want to hear. It’s an all around good avenue for all of us artists to be seen on TV.”

Gene Watson is currently singing several selections from the new greatest hits collection on the road, including on his recent tour stops with 86 year-old Country Music Hall of Famer Ray Price. Watson is thrilled anytime that Price is on the same ticket, because in his words, "he’s part of a passing era, one of the greatest eras in country music."

Of Price, Watson adds, "Ray Price spans the gap all the way from the beginning days of Hank Sr. and man he’s still out on the stage and he’s just phenomenal! If there’s one thing I know, it’s great singing. Ray Price still hits those notes so nicely, he’s just great.”

Watch Gene Watson Perform 'Farewell Party' on 'Country's Family Reunion'