Collector’s Choice Music has decided to reissue eight early B.J. Thomas albums from his time with the Scepter label. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head/Everybody’s Out Of Town is the second of these four twofer' releases.
Billy Joe Thomas was born August 7, 1942 in Hugo Oklahoma. While he has been a regular on the gospel circuit since the early 1980’s, it is his series of singles, released between 1966 and 1978, for which he is best remembered. Songs such as “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” “Hooked On A Feeling,” “Mighty Clouds Of Joy,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” received massive radio airplay in their day.
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, released in 1969, was his most popular and highest charting album reaching number twelve on The American charts. The title song would win The Oscar for Best Original Song for its appearance in the movie Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Ray Stevens, in a disastrous career decision, turned the song down and B.J. Thomas made it his signature song and one of the memorable tunes in movie history. It would top the American pop charts for four weeks during the fall of 1969.
The most interesting track is his cover of the Elvis hit “Suspicious Minds.” They hired producer Chips Moman and he erased Elvis’ vocal from the track, hired The Sweet Inspirations to re-do their part, and then B.J. recorded his vocal on top. They did the same thing with Dionne Warwick’s vocal on “Little Green Apples” and “This Guy’s In Love With You.” Other than the title song they were the album’s strongest tracks.
Everybody’s Out Of Town was released in 1970 and except for the lack of a huge standout hit song is very similar in quality to Raindrops. “I Just Can’t Help Believing” is one of his better performances and cracked the American top ten during June of 1970 plus the title song was a gospel tinged top thirty hit that same year. Two other songs of note are Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” and the Burt Bacharach-Hal David composition “Send My Picture To Scranton, Pa.”
Five bonus tracks complete the album. “Long Ago Tomorrow” was a low charting single from 1971 that deserved better. His take on the Mac Davis country tune “I Believe In Music” and the classic “Always On My Mind” are well done.
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head/Everybody’s Out Of Town demonstrate that B.J. Thomas could put together credible pop albums during the early part of his career and should not just be thought of solely as a singles artist.