Two Silhouettes – Del Shannon

The name Del Shannon immediately brings to mind his haunting vocal performance on debut single ‘Runaway’ and the pre-synth Musitron solo that accompanies it. As part of their growing The Drugstore’s Rockin’ series, Bear Family Records has released a 33-track compilation that celebrates the start of Shannon’s career in the early 1960s.

This was the era of the jukebox, powerful vocal performances, heartbreak songs and a more sophisticated commercial approach to Rock n Roll; Shannon‘s work is an indicator of this and other up-and-coming trends of the time. Along with the aforementioned debut, are further hits ‘The Swiss Maid’, ‘Hats Off To Larry’, ‘So Long Baby’, ‘Don’t Gild The Lilly, Lilly’ and ‘Keep Searchin‘. There are also a few titles that put Del Shannon at the forefront of music history:

  1. His original recording of (Marie’s The Name Of) His Latest Flame, released just two months before the more widely known Elvis Presley recording.
  2. His recording of The Beatles’ ‘From Me To You’, which hit the US charts before the Beatles hit the States.
  3. Unique interpretations of ‘contemporary’ hits, such as ‘Hey Baby’, ‘Dream Baby’ and ‘Runaround Sue’.

Much of Shannon’s material follows a formula, mixing his soaring falsetto, mid-tempo arrangements and catchy choruses, but there are some exceptions. A highlight of the collection is the appearance of three rare instrumentals; ‘Torture’, ‘Froggy’ and ‘Nothin’. The latter, in particular, is a rocking two minutes and 26 seconds of pure unfiltered Rock ‘n‘ Roll; made better by the limitations of recording in this era. The last track, Move It On Over, is also uncharacteristic of Shannon; with a blistering forward-thinking guitar and slightly distorted vocals. While its inclusion may seem out of place, it is a sign that this artist was never one for standing still. Much of the material sounds quaint by today’s standards but is still a joy to listen to; especially with the excellent sound quality present on this collection.

Something Extra…

Bear Family Records have presented this set in an attractive looking digipak and includes a 40-page booklet containing extensive liner notes by Bill Dahl, along with a discography and rare photographs from the era.

Conlusion:

Bear Family Records have done themselves proud on another set that represents an era of change in music, between the first wave of Rock n Roll and the British invasion. Del Shannon’s distinct and unmistakable sound still sounds fresh, in places, and has possibly never sounded better. Including hard to get rare material alongside more established hits make this a must for enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Promo Video
Track Listing:
  1. Runaway (Stereo)
  2. (Marie’s The Name Of) His Latest Flame
  3. Little Town Flirt
  4. That’s The Way Love Is
  5. My Wild One
  6. Wide Wide World
  7. Torture
  8. Hats Off To Larry
  9. Wamboo
  10. Don’t Gild The Lily, Lily
  11. From Me To You
  12. Two Silhouettes
  13. Froggy
  14. Sue’s Gotta Be Mine
  15. Hey Little Girl
  16. Misery
  17. Hey Baby
  18. Now She’s Gone
  19. Nothin’
  20. Lies
  21. So Long Baby
  22. The Swiss Maid
  23. Dream Baby
  24. Ginny In The Mirror
  25. The Search
  26. Mary Jane
  27. Keep Searchin(We’ll Follow The Sun
  28. I Don’t Care Anymore
  29. You Never Talked About Me
  30. Runaround Sue
  31. I Won’t Be There
  32. Cry Myself To Sleep
  33. Move It On Over
Extra Information:

Re-Issue Producer: Nico Feuerbach

Tape & Disc Research: Nico Feuerbach

Disc Transfer: Marlon Klein at Exil Musik Studio GmbH

Mastering: Marlon Klein at Exil Musik Studio GmbH

Liner Notes: Bill Dahl

Two Silhouettes is available from Bear Family Records.

Two Silhouettes - Del Shannon

9

Rating

9.0/10

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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