Billy Joe Royal

Down in the Boondocks

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A singer comfortable with rock & roll, pop, and country, Billy Joe Royal frequently merged the three styles, resulting in 1960s hits such as the infectiously catchy title track and the horn-laden "Cherry Hill Park." This concise 10-track compilation presents those songs, along with the Georgia native's more straightforward country tunes (a woozy reading of Hank Williams's "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and a forlorn version of the oft-covered "Making Believe"), which are tempered by detours into rock (the classic car-wreck tale "Last Kiss") and even gospel (a soulful take on "Amen"). For a brief overview on this pleasing and often-underrated artist, this collection is ideal.

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