Billie Jo Spears

The Best of Billie Jo Spears [Capitol 1979]

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After struggling on various labels during the '50s and early '60s, Billie Jo Spears moved to Nashville and eventually signed with Capitol. With the help of producer Kelso Herston, Spears scored her first hits, "He's Got More Love (In His Little Finger)" and "Mr. Walker, It's All Over" (later eclipsed by Melba Moore's fine rendition). Spears' smoky and sensual voice lent itself well to bawdy and bold material like this. In fact, as this hits collection attests, Spears seemed to favor the feminist-era swamp country of contemporary sirens like Bobbie Gentry and Jeannie C. Riley; along with fine renditions of "Ode to Billie Joe" and "Harper Valley P.T.A.," Spears also tackles Tammy Wynette's post-divorce classic "I Don't Wanna Play House" and signature hit "Stand By Your Man." And while her Wynette covers and more obscure fare like "Mollie Brown" and "That Man" sort of putter along, the majority of this slim collection is fine. Featuring the countrypolitan highlights from her only two releases for Capitol, The Best of Billie Jo Spears might not be an essential country title, but is an enjoyable listen all the same.

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