The Living Room Sessions by B.J. Thomas

Grade: B

The iconic pop/country/gospel singer reprises his best-known hits in a stripped-down, acoustic format that carries a casual feeling, hence the title.

All the favorites are on board, from “Hooked on a Feeling” to “Eyes of a New York Woman” and, naturally, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” And suffice it to say, B.J. can still bring it. The warm, rich vocal quality is still intact, and B.J., even at age 70, hits the target on the occasional high note.

Guest artists including Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett and Richard Marx also drop by the living room, and mostly the star turns work. Vince provides the perfect harmony on “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” while Richard blends in nicely on “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”

Lyle Lovett’s inclusion on “Raindrops,” however, is more like an intrusion. His creaky vocals interrupt the breezy air that B.J. creates and add nothing to the proceedings.

The overall recording is solid, not your standard “Greatest Hits Revisited” package. And surprisingly, you don’t miss the orchestrations that marked the earlier versions—the acoustic instruments more than capably fill in.  

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