Jimmy Dean

Big Bad John [Bear Family/Sony]

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AllMusic Review by

This 26-song single disc collection covers the highlights of Jimmy Dean's 1961-1962 recordings for Columbia Records; not everything, but most everything that counts. The sheer diversity of material demonstrates some of the problems that Dean had finding and following up on hits; he was a passable singer and likable personality, but he would follow up a pop/rock piece like "Little Black Book" with a blues piece such as "Gonna Raise a Ruckus Tonight." But apart from the hokiest of these tracks ("A Day That Changed the World"), it all holds up, including the title track; the freewheeling "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette"; the weirdly topical "Dear Ivan"; his cover of Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons"; the sentimental father-to-daughter soliloquy "To a Sleeping Beauty"; the rough-hewn "Big Bad John" follow-up "The Cajun Queen"; the delightful sequel to both songs, "Little Bitty Big John"; "P.T. 109," a tribute to John Kennedy's World War II exploits written in the same vein as Johnny Horton's "Sink the Bismarck"; the wryly cynical "Walk on Boy"; the workers' anthem "Steel Men"; the pop/rock ballad "Little Black Book"; the old Texas blues "Gonna Raise a Ruckus Tonight"; the strange D-day remembrance "A Day That Changed the World"; the breezily folky "Gotta Travel On"; the sad dog (and war) song "Oklahoma Bill"; the effective sub-Elvis "Night Train to Memphis"; and two previously unissued numbers, the slow blues "Lonesome Road" and the swamp ballad "Cajun Joe."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Jack Dean
3:03
2
feat: Jack Dean
2:52
3
feat: Jack Dean
2:47
4
feat: Jack Dean
3:53
5
feat: Jack Dean
5:17
6
feat: Jack Dean
2:40
7 3:15
8 2:45
9 3:38
10
2:46
11 2:27
12 2:58
13 2:54
14 3:21
15 2:21
16 2:43
17 3:44
18 2:30
19 1:59
20
3:41
21 3:18
22 3:12
23 2:59
24
2:00
25 2:55
26 2:19
blue highlight denotes track pick