Recorded in London (but completed in Nashville) in 1982, ‘We Just Came Apart At The Dreams’ saw but a fleeting vinyl lifetime some thirty-five years ago. This, then, is its first appearance since then, and it’s difficult to see why it has remained obscure for so long. Particularly as Billie Joe was still scoring hits as recently as two years before, and would do so again a couple of years later.
Ah, we’ll get to that in a moment.
It’s a terrific album. The Spears voice is as alluring, powerful and expressive as it ever was, and her choice of material is faultless, too. It’s great hearing BJS tear through Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” and a brilliantly revved up version of Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams” – in and out in under two minutes. Rodney Crowell and Mark Knopfler show up in the writing credits too, with the latter’s “Settin’ Me Up” an opportunity for Spears and band to really kick some cans around.
But circumstance was less conducive than it might have been. Spears both recorded the album in London and in part relied on local talent for accompaniment. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and in many ways the disconnect from the US country scene is one reason why We Just Came Apart…sounds so fresh today.
Unfortunately, it also ensured that America wasn’t interested, while a more-minor-than-most UK record label (Premier) just doesn’t appear to have been equipped to give the album the attention it deserved. It vanished, Spears returned to her American career, and three and a half decades later, even fans will probably be hearing this for the first time. Tell them it was worth the wait.
Goldmine Magazine (January 2018)