Classic Album Review-Billie Jo Spears “Love Ain’t Gonna Wait For Us”
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is found on the turntable, in the CD, or on the MP3. We take a journey back to 1978 for an album release from Billie Jo Spears. The bluesy-voiced Spears was regularly found somewhere on the charts, during the second half of the 1970’s, thanks to songs such as “Lonely Hearts Club”, What I’ve Got In Mind”, “’57 Chevrolet”, and her biggest hit, “Blanket On The Ground”. 1978 was a bit of a down year, though, for Billie, as her singles didn’t chart as high, and her newest album, Love Ain’t Gonna Wait For Us, didn’t even crack the bestseller lists. Billie’s United Artist release contained three singles, though the third single wasn’t released for two years.
The title cut, which was also the album’s first single, opens the disc. “Love Ain’t Gonna Wait For Us” is a pretty decent track, up tempo, catchy Country with a touch of Pop supplemented with Billie Jo’s one-of-a-kind vocals. Charting in early 1979, it only peaked at twenty-four; really a song worthy of at least a top twenty placing.
“The Miracle Of Love” is a ballad in which I really like the arrangement as well as Billie Jo’s singing. Both really lift what could easily be a very average song.
Billie Jo Spears could always really handle an up tempo song, extremely well, as you’re reminded on “(Let’s Make It You And Me) In Love Again”. Very catchy and what I like to call, infectious, as it will get caught in your head. Easy melody to follow, particularly the refrain, and that’s what will stick with you. Liking this one.
The album’s third single wouldn’t be released until 1980, and would ultimately become the album’s biggest hit, breaking into the top fifteen. The ballad, “Standing Tall”, is one of Billie Jo’s best works. Perfect song for her, I still don’t know why this wasn’t at least a top ten hit, if not even higher. It should have been.
No lack for tempo on the first side, with the final track also bouncing the speakers with it’s lively sound and catchy feel. “If This Is Just A Game” may not be a classic album track, but it’s certainly a good album track.
With side one in the books, we turn to side two, which opens with the spritely “Why Did You Have To Be So Good”. Again, as with most of the album, to this point, a track that is catchy and enjoyable to listen to. Billie Jo’s work was almost always a nice mix of Traditional Country and Country-Pop; she and her producer, Larry Butler, were able to mix just the right amount of each into most of the tracks, usually with positive results, like this.
If you like Billie Jo Spears, you’ll very likely like the ballad “For The First Time In My Life”. Not anything special, but not anything bad, either.
Billie Jo also provides an interesting take on the song many associate with Willie Nelson, “Slow Movin’ Outlaw”. Slicker and smoother than Willie’s version, but one doesn’t seem to notice it, much, with her bluesy-styled voice. Another good track, though a little more stripped in the arrangement might have made it even better.
Side two has slowed down, noticeably, with more ballads, including “Say It Again”. Not the same song made famous by Don Williams, this one is completely different. It’s not a bad song, though not as strong as the Williams song. Smooth and easy, here.
The album wraps with what was the second single, the Beatles classic “Yesterday”. Unfortunately for Billie Jo, her version didn’t do nearly as well as the Fab Four’s, as hers failed to break the Country top forty. It’s a pretty good version, though, yet at the same time, it’s one of those songs that I just really can’t hear anyone not named John, Paul, George, or Ringo ever doing it in the same league as the original, though Chet Atkins’ instrumental version is close.
Out of print for many years, I did find a few used vinyl copies running between $7 and $15.
“Standing Tall” is for me, the obvious Standout Track, while “(Let’s Make It You And Me) In Love Again” gets my Hidden Gem nod. Really nothing bad, here. If I have to give a Weakest Track, I’d go with “The Miracle Of Love”. I liked the performance, but the song, itself, is average.
Overall, an album that is much better than one would think a failing-to-chart album would be. Some strong material, here that wasn’t groundbreaking but was simply enjoyable music to listen to. I rate it a 4 out of 5.
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