Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Del Shannon, Jeff Lynne, Dublin and More
"Runaway" was Del Shannon's biggest hit, climbing all the way to #1. Like most of my favorite artists, their biggest hits are usually the songs I like least. I never took to "Runaway," but those incredible 45's on the Amy label, which Norton Records compiled on the "Move It On Over" collection, are to die for: records made with the perfect combination of big, pop single and garage rock sensibilities.
When the hits stopped, Del Shannon did not, and though he disappeared from the charts, two mid-to-late 60's albums, "Total Commitment" and "The Further Adventures of Charles Westover," commercial flops, were two of the best collections of songs in his career, with the latter becoming a psych/pop classic.
The demons took over and recording became sporadic. Yet still, two records with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "Drop Down & Get Me" from 1981 and a 1990 session, "Rock On," that also featured Jeff Lynne, again featured some truly amazing pop and rock & roll. "Rock On," released after Shannon's suicide, remains one of my very favorite records.
I can't say enough about Del Shannon. He was an amazing songwriter with a voice as big and beautiful as Roy Orbison.
RockBeat Records out of California has just released "The Dublin Sessions," oft-bootlegged recordings from 1977, that should have put Del Shannon right back on top. But, no US label gave a rat's ass about Shannon or his new material in 1977, so it sat on a shelf until now.
I have become a bit obsessed with the ballad, "Raylene," which in many ways, reminds me of Jeff Lynne and ELO. While searching for a clip, I found a version, a demo, from 1974, recorded WITH Jeff Lynne. How did I not know this existed? Both versions are here- the new, cleaned up version up top and the Lynne version below. I am undecided on what I like more.
Check out "The Dublin Sessions," and especially the records I mention above, if you are at all in the dark about Del Shannon's work beyond the hits.
Posted by Sal Nunziato at 5:22 AM