Little Jimmy Dickens' early hits during the late '40s and early '50s go a long way to convince one that he was from the country. The 13th child of a West Virginia family, the country boy nonetheless attended college before joining the Grand Ole Opry in the '40s. All of the songs included on Hits: 16 Biggest Hits were recorded for Columbia between 1949 and 1965. Although Dickens gained a rep for novelty songs thanks to oddities like 1954's "Out Behind the Barn" and 1965's "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," songs like 1949's "Take an Old Cold 'Tater (And Wait)" and 1950's "I'm Little But I'm Loud" (Dickens was less than five feet tall) might be more broadly described as humorous. Dickens uses an aggressive honky tonk sound on many of these songs, relying on steel and electric guitar, and reminding one of both Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb. On 1953's "Rockin' with Red" and 1954's "Salty Boogie" his band's sound verges on rockabilly, though he maintains hardcore country values with steel and, on the latter piece, fiddle. One thing that might surprise listeners is the suggestive nature of "Rockin' with Red" and "Out Behind the Barn," leaving one to observe that while country may have been more subtle than R&B, it was hardly innocent. 16 Biggest Hits is an enjoyable and fun collection of an energetic and likable performer from honky tonk's heyday.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.