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Music Review: B.J. Thomas – On My Way/Young And In Love

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Collector’s Choice Music has released four double albums which reissue B.J. Thomas’ early work for the Scepter Label. On My Way/Young And In Love are a combination of his third and fourth albums released in 1968 and 1969.

B.J. Thomas’ first two albums were issued in 1966, and while they failed to chart, they did produce two top forty singles including the number eight “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” These early successes would encourage him to move from his childhood Houston to Tennessee and begin the most popular period of his career.

On My Way was his breakthrough album and would be his first American chart success. It would also contain two of his more memorable songs, both of which would become hit singles. “The Eyes Of A New York Woman” and “Hooked On A Feeling,” both written by long time collaborator Mark James, are sixties pop at its best. They are catchy and contain an excellent vocal. Also included is a very good cover of the Ray Stevens hit “Mr. Businessman.” He also gives what can be considered to be an interesting interpretation of “Light My Fire.”

Young And In Love was a more hit and miss affair. It did not produce any hit singles nor did it enjoy any chart action but it did provide the bridge to his most popular album, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, which was released later in 1969. “It’s Only Love” was released as a single but stalled out at number forty-five. It deserved better as it is a gentle tune and contains another fine vocal. On the other hand “Pass The Apple Eve” is no doubt the worst single release of his career and peaked at number 97 which is probably more embarrassing than not charting at all. All is not lost however as his covers of such songs as “The Worst That Could Happen,” “Solitary Man,” and “Skip A Rope” are all above average.

On My Way/Young And In Love contains the music that made B.J. Thomas a star. When you take the best of these two releases they present a master pop technician at work.  

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