B.J. Thomas/In Remembrance Love Songs & Lost Treasures/Real Gone Music
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Mention the name B.J. Thomas and chances are, the song “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” will immediately come to mind. That’s only natural of course, given the indelible impression it made in that crucial scene from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
That said, Thomas’ talents went well beyond the notoriety of a single song. As a result, In Remembrance, Love Songs & Lost Treasures provides an outstanding postscript for an artist whose musical output brought him ongoing adulation and acclaim. The fact that the majority of these eighteen songs have remained unreleased until now makes it that much more of a treasure, given his passing in May 2021. Cynics might scoff at the unabashed sentiment shared herein, but one would be hard-pressed to deny the emotion expressed in songs such as “The Best Things In Life,” “Rock and Roll Lullaby,” “Our Younger Hearts,” and “Red Letter Days,” all of which stay true to the title in the ways they reflect on days gone by. Likewise, “When the Hero Dies,” a heartfelt homage to those icons that died all too soon, and the aching “Think About Me,” a song sung from the perspective of a homeless individual forced to live on the street, cull emotion in ways that make that sentiment all the more meaningful.
So too, his dramatic take on “America the Beautiful” offers an expressive performance that gives this time-honored classic the reverent read it deserves.
Granted, Thomas couldn’t lay claim to being an especially prolific songwriter. Steve Dorf is listed as composer on several of these tracks while Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Richard Leigh and Gary Nicholson are listed in the credits as well. That said, two offerings, “Hands On Me Again” and “Think About Me,” tag Thomas alone. Regardless, Thomas sings them with his singular style, emoting with heartfelt clarity and commitment that leaves little doubt as to the fact he felt a clear connection to the material, regardless of how they materialized.
With a timeline that extends from 1990 through 2007, the music spans a good portion of Thomas’ career, although it makes one wonder why most of these tracks never saw the light of day the first time around. The quality is consistent, and every offering finds him well represented. Those only passively familiar with Thomas’ talents would do well to consider this an able, though belated, introduction.
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