Del Shannon – Home and Away (1967; 2012 reissue)

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This was an ambitious album for both Del Shannon, and for producer Andrew Loog Oldham. The goal was to make a UK Pet Sounds of sorts, with Del in the guise of Brian Wilson — but the album was shelved by Del’s record label Liberty Records back in ’67.

I’m not so sure they achieved that entirely here but, it is both a delightful and completely new direction for the former hitmaker and great rock ‘n’ roller to have taken. I’d say it’s a lot more akin to Billy Nicholls’ superb 1968 album Would You Believe than Pet Sounds.

Now Sounds’ reissue from last year was the first time all of the tracks have been assembled to recreate the original unreleased album. Nicholls actually contributes a couple of songs (“Cut and Come again,” “Led along,” “Friendly with you”) and they greatly aid the overall album. The Motownish “My Love has gone” is a lovely mid-tempo tune displaying Del’s high end vocal range. “Life is But Nothing” and “Silently” perhaps come the closest to that Pet Sounds sound which Oldham — famous as the Rolling Stones manager, and also president of Immediate Records — was trying to achieve for Del Shannon. “Mind Over Matter” could’ve scraped the Top 40.

As if to say hey, don’t forget about me, there’s even a remade version of Del Shannon’s big 1961 No. 1 hit single, called “Runaway ’67.” Not only is it slowed down but it’s without Max Crook’s Musitron — the original song’s hook. There’s no other instrument to replace that original song’s lead break.

All-star musicians for these sessions include Nicholls, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Twice As Much, P.P. Arnold, session drummer Andy White, Nicky Hopkins, and the Small Faces’ Steve Marriott. Amongst the bonus tracks are both the UK and US singles (“Led Along,” “Mind Over Matter,” “Runaway ’67,” “He Cheated”) in mono, plus an additional rare mono version of “Silently.”

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Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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