Dickey Lee is best known in rock & roll circles as the singer of the teen tragedies "Patches" and "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)." The former, written by Barry Mann and Larry Kolber, was banned for its depiction of teen suicide, yet still managed to become a gold record. That said, Lee abandoned rock & roll for a career in country music in the later 1960s. He is a member of the Country Songwriter's Hall of Fame and has written for everyone from George Jones, George Strait, and Emmylou Harris to Charley Pride, Tracy Byrd, and Reba McEntire. Lee was also a well-known country recording artist in his own right in the '70s. This collection, issued by Real Gone Music, compiles all of his charting country RCA singles (whether or not he wrote them) of the decade on a 20- track compilation. These cuts range from his lone country chart-topper "Rocky" to his number three smash "9,999,999 Tears" to "Angels Roses and Rain" (9), "The Busiest Memory in Town" (22), "Love Is a Word" (27), and "Crying Over You" (47). The latter two tracks here -- "Put Me Down Softly" and "Makin' Love Don't Always Make Love Grow" -- among others, deserved far better. A bonus inclusion is Lee's version of "She Thinks I Still Care," the iconic smash he wrote for Jones. The disc also includes a full historical liner essay by Bill Dahl with quotes from Lee. Given the price tag, and the simple fact that this is the only place these tracks were ever assembled in one place, Original Greatest Hits is indispensable for fans of mainstream '70s country.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek