This pairing of two of Bobby Goldsboro's albums for United Artists makes for a slightly curious match -- Goldsboro had been making albums for five years when he scored his biggest hit in 1969 with the title cut from Honey, while 1971's We Gotta Start Lovin' was one of his last efforts for UA before his well of hits dried up in the early '70s. The two albums have a noticeably different tone and attitude as well; Honey is dominated by pop songs about love, often (though not always) with a melancholy undertow, while We Gotta Start Lovin' is a light but sincere collection of message songs touching on the need for brotherhood and idealism in the face of racism and war. What holds these two albums together is Goldsboro's voice, which is in fine fettle throughout. While he often favored material that offered plenty of opportunity for sentimental overkill, Goldsboro was a performer with an admirable sense of restraint, and the warm, rich tone of his instrument would have given him plenty of room to emote, his philosophy seemed to be "less is more," and it serves him well on these 23 tracks. Goldsboro also wrote a healthy share of the material on both albums, and while he wasn't a great tunesmith, he was certainly a good one, and he was a good judge of other's work given the strength of what appeared on these two LPs. It's hard to say how this disc got released rather than a two-fer of albums from the same year (or with a more similar approach), and most folks would do better with the 1991 compilation The Best of Bobby Goldsboro: Honey, but for serious fans this is a fine look into the man's back catalog and surprisingly enjoyable for casual listeners. ~ Mark Deming
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