B.J. Thomas

Happy Man

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Unlike B.J. Thomas' 1976 album Home Where I Belong, his 1978 record Happy Man doesn't disguise its contemporary Christian orientation in either its sound or subject. A bigger, brighter sound -- a shift that's very evident on the punchy rhythms and sparkling sitars of "Beautiful Music," which plays like a scrubbed-up "Hooked on a Feeling" -- is married to songs that are on the nose (i.e., "He's the Hand on My Shoulder" and "I Want to Be More Like Jesus"), along with tempos that are a shade too stately. Thomas is in fine voice throughout and the album ends on a high note with "Thank You Lord" (an excellent piece of late-'70s soft rock co-written by Hal David) and "The Word Is Love," but the heart of Happy Man doesn't belong in the warm, burnished '70s; it points toward the immaculate future of CCM in the '80s.

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