I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

by: B.J. Thomas

After slogging it out on the Texas indie circuit during the first half of the ‘60s, B.J. Thomas hooked up with Huey P. Meaux and Sceptre Records in 1966. This was on the heels of Thomas releasing a full-length album with his supporting band the Triumphs, a record called I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, and B.J. used the same title for his Scepter debut, which makes sense as it’s the first single that brought him to the charts. Thomas’ version of Hank Williams’ standard emphasized pop over country without completely pulling out the roots, a fairly good indication of the blend of roots musics on the LP. Under the guise of a pop singer, Thomas dabbles with country, blues, and soul, never quite committing fully to any of these sounds, but sounding fairly convincing in each. He’s good enough of a mimic to replicate Tom Jones’ swagger on “It’s Not Unusual,” he pounds out a good “In the Midnight Hour,” lays back easy on the country slow dance “The Titles Tell,” and he’s unashamed to lay on the corn on “Bring Back the Time” and “Mama,” a quality that would serve him well later. If the record winds up seeming scattershot, a collection of different sounds in search of a hit, that’s because it is: Thomas was game to try anything that could perhaps reach the charts, and no one style fit him better than the next. As such, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry winds up playing a bit as mid-‘60s sampler, which makes it an enjoyable period piece as well as a fairly promising debut. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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