Bobby Goldsboro

Honey

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Pop songs don't get a lot more emotionally manipulative than Bobby Goldsboro's 1969 smash hit "Honey" -- in which a man shares his memories of the young woman he wed who unexpectedly dies -- but one of the reasons the song pulls the heartstrings as strongly as it does is Goldsboro's performance; without stooping to cheap histrionics, he gives the story and its myriad details with an emotional honesty that's real and moving, and turns what could have been mere treacle into something with a soul. It's easily the best track on Honey, the album released to cash in on Goldsboro's biggest hit, but anyone who appreciates the craft of the single will enjoy the other ten songs that follow it here. While Goldsboro didn't write "Honey," he did pen five on the songs on the album, and his material ranks with the best stuff on this record (though "With Pen in Hand," the story of a man trying to convince his wife not to divorce him, doesn't play quite so well all these years later, and his attempt to rock out on "Love Arrestor" demonstrates such things were not his strong suit). The man had an easy but confident way with a lyric, and his rich voice is a fine match for the material. And while his covers of "Little Green Apples" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" don't match the resonance of the definitive versions, like with "Honey," he knows how to bring their tales to life without sinking into bathos, and ultimately that's what makes this album memorable.

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