I originally wrote this review in January 2003, but am updating it in December 2011 after learning that Billie Jo Spears died of cancer on 14 December, one month before her 75th birthday on 14 January. That's very sad news, but she leaves behind a whole host of devoted fans and will be remembered for being a great country singer, more popular on this side of the Atlantic than in her native country - people in America don't know what they've been missing.
This is just a fantastic collection of pure country music...and what is better is that the track listing on the Amazon site omits "What I Got In Mind", "If You Want Me", "Never Did Like Whiskey" and "Lonely Hearts Club", which are tracks 17 to 20 respectively.
I think BJS is my favourite Country singer. I don't count Shania twain as she is not strictly Country, in my opinion, despite her two excellent albums - or the sainted Nanci Griffith (Folk/Rockabilly) who, with her numerous perfect albums, is wonderful in her own right and, along with Enya and two Japanese singers, Eri Sugai and Eri Kawai, is my favourite female singer. BJS is right up there with the ladies I mention here.
The album is chock full of the songs I associate with BJS ("Blanket On The Ground", "What I've Got In Mind" and "57 Chevrolet") and stellar versions of songs recorded by others ("Ode To Billy Jo", "Hurt" and Stand By Your Man"). She sings beautifully, is backed by great musicians and, the thing I have always liked about her recordings, she has some wonderful backing singers, who make the most luxuriously, full sound, which enhances the final production.
She was a fantastic country star, but I am very sad to learn of her death. The Guardian newspaper gave her a great tribute with a brilliant obituary, much deserved.
Rest in peace, BJS.