"Jimmy Dean is back!" trumpeted the trade ads in 1976 when Dean emerged from his retirement, such as it was, with "I.O.U.," a sentimental Mother's Day recitation that unexpectedly became a big crossover hit. The fact was, Dean had fallen off the charts only a few years earlier because the quality of his music had steadily declined, so his comeback was not quite the event he and his new label would have liked the public to believe. Nonetheless, "I.O.U." was very successful and Dean, in tandem with Red Sovine, put the old-fashioned recitation back on the charts for a while. Dean followed "I.O.U." with a second hit, "To a Sleeping Beauty," a re-recording of a spoken word hit that he first recorded for Columbia in the early '60s. Dean's renewed success with his two singles warranted an album, and I.O.U. is it. The 11-song set mixes songs and recitations, including the two aforementioned hits, and is bookended by "I Gotta Sing My Song for You" and its reprise, in which Dean explains his return to entertaining and adds some closing remarks. I.O.U. is the best album Dean had made in years, but one caveat is that recitations have their own audience and I.O.U. has a lot of them.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams