Without a doubt, the essential B.J. Thomas songwriting tally

Pick it, troubadour: The acoustic guitar-accented front sleeve of “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life,” a double LP accommodating 20 of B.J. Thomas’ greatest contemporary Christian hits on Word Records from 1981. Image Credit: Curb Records / eBay user “Kokomocomics”

For 59 years, “Hooked on a Feeling” soul stirrer B.J. Thomas was a warmly received road companion. Effortlessly leapfrogging from one musical genre to another, Thomas intended to decamp to the hip Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with Memphis Boys songwriter Dan Penn [the Box Tops’ “Cry Like a Baby”] and Billy Lawson [Trace Adkins’ “I Left Something Turned On at Home”] for a project exploring…