Premier 1984 / Angel Air 2018
Burstin’ a pop bubble, country belle crosses over to the other side to woo British audiences.
Having come out of her mid-’70s stretch of chart action, Billie Jo Spears couldn’t be a purist in Appalachian way, as both the time and place – with Blighty more receptive than America now – dictated a paradigm shift. She was up for it, though, and “We Just Came Apart At The Dreams” that the singer recorded in London and Nashville with the U.K. in mind reflects the artist’s outgoing personality than her earlier efforts – strict as they were with regards to genre.
Of course, there’s blustery bluegrass in “Baby On My Mind” yet there’s also rockabilly in it, and Spears’ allegiance to country is limited to the choice of covers here, because “Can’t Change My Heart” and “Ain’t No Money” which bookend the album are transformed into contemporary pop, these catchy pieces’ disco groove stressing the strength and the gloss of Billie Jo’s vocals. She easily makes “Blowing Away” her own without ever casting a glance at Linda Ronstadt or Bonnie Raitt’s versions of the perennial, while the tender title track has seen a slew of performers following in BJ’s wake, So pedal steel may wail in “Love Dies Hard” where the chanteuse’s inspired delivery is full of hope, but the same instruments in Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can’t Tell” help Spears display her smile and style in the most charming manner.
If BJ’s punchy take on “Settin’ Me Up” validates Mark Knopfler’s prairie approach to writing, “Too Far Gone” finds her tap into Southern sort of strings-drenched sadness, and “Sweet Dreams” is perfect alloy of Spears’ traditional leanings and the period production. Short and to the point, this record is ripe for rediscovery because, 30-odd years since its release, the album is still fresh and fragrant.