This issue’s column is devoted to the third in a series of JDSAS archive compilations we call Hits of the Genius: The Songs of Jackie DeShannon. Each collection features songs written by Jackie and recorded by other artists. Volume 3: POP! is a collection of tracks, mostly recorded in the 60s, by pop, rock and R&B acts. Many of the tunes were never recorded commercially by Jackie. Each volume can be ordered exclusively from the JDSAS for $15/£10, from the JDSAS addresses on page one. As usual, all proceeds go toward the cost of printing and mailing this newsletter.
WG: Things start off with Look What You Started by Gloria Jones. Nice mid-tempo tune in Jackie’s Philly soul style; it would have fit perfectly on her Put A Little Love In Your Heart LP. Strong song and good vocal performance and arrangement. Too bad the sound is muffled. 7 points.
WG: Here's a rarity: Each Time by The Bon Bons. Great girl-group version, and they change up the chorus a little. But they sound so bratty I can understand why their guy left them! 8 points.
WG: Another rarity, it's Dick Lory (aka Dick Glasser, Liberty Records producer) singing There's Gonna Be A Fight. This version works even better than Jackie’s demo. A teenage song to be sure, but still a great horn-laden arrangement with strong clear vocals. This is how the song was meant to be recorded. 8 points.
WG: Wow! This one blows me away. It's Helen Shapiro with Woe Is Me. She comes on strong like Jackie, urgently growling her way through the song. Killer fuzz guitar solo too. And all in less than 2 minutes! I'd love to hear Jackie’s own version. 9 points.
WG: Here’s another one Jackie never recorded. Burn On Love by The Righteous Brothers. Call and response chorus with a non-stop beat. The sax break is nice. Another short one, but it says all it needs to. I dare you to keep your feet still while listening to this one. 8 points.
WG: You’ll recognize this one. Jackie's biggest hit, Put A Little Love In Your Heart, here performed by Dionne Warwick. Really good soul version, recorded at American Studios in Memphis. One of the strongest vocals I’ve heard from Dionne. Do I understand correctly this wasn’t released at the time of its recording? That was a mistake. 7 points.
PL: Yes, this stayed in the can, more’s the pity. I prefer to hear Dionne on those slinky Bacharach ballads, but on this one Dionne is saying, anything Aretha can do, I can do too. Lots of effort, a strident 7 pointer.
WG: Another unknown song, Fallen Idol by Johnny Rivers. Good teen-pop song. Could’ve been a hit for Bobby Vee or Ricky Nelson. 7 points.
WG: Here’s Samantha Jones with another obscure tune, Just For Him. Her kitteny voice purrs through the midtempo groove. Can you tell me anything about this one Peter? 7 points.
WG: Here’s a familiar song, but with a twist. Brian Hyland singing He Don't Understand You Like I Do. This is my favorite version of this song, including Jackie’s own version. Maybe it just works better from a man’s perspective. 8 points.
WG: Time for another rocker: Franklin Street by Dora Hall. The track rocks, but Dora’s voice is a little bland. Nice Chuck Berry-style guitar solo. 6 points.
WG: Rocking even harder is Child with Don’t Turn Your Back On Me. They really “get” this tune. Great version from the vocals to the rolling thunder drums. One of my favorites of Jackie’s songs. 9 points.
WG: Now here’s a treat: Kelly Garrett with You Step Into My World. I’d love to hear Jackie’s own version. Sounds like mid-60s soul/pop to me. Beautiful crystal vocals and swirling, string-laden anthemic arrangment. Should have been a smash. 9 points.
WG: The Concords present Should I Cry as manic doo-wop. And it works better than Jackie’s version. I imagine this is what Jackie had in mind when she wrote the tune. 8 points.
WG: Here’s yet another song that works better in the cover version. It’s Thurston Harris singing Dancing Silhouettes, in an R&B arrangment. Smoother than Jackie’s version, everything falls into place. 8 points.
An occasional series of articles reviewing Jackie's work as a songwriter; and looking at the many hundreds of recordings that have been made of her songs.
WG: This is another one of my favorites. The Ovations performing Pure Natural Love. What I wouldn’t give to hear Jackie sing this one. Great melody and smooth Philly-soul arrangment. I know of two other versions of this song, but this is my favorite. Sing along! 10 points.
WG: This one is really different. It’s Marilyn Maye singing I Need You. While I can hear Jackie in my mind singing this in her soul style, it doesn’t sound to me like something she’d write. Ms. Maye has a clear, pleasant voice, but isn't really soulful enough to do justice to the funky musical track. 7 points.
WG: Here’s Jackie’s co-writer Jimmy Holiday with Yesterday Died, which sounds like it could have been an outtake from the Put A Little Love In Your Heart sessions. Nice soulful ballad with horns and strings and a strong vocal performance. 7 points.
WG: Another obscure song, it’s Billy Ford and My Girl. This has that “Liberty sound” with swirling strings, pounding drums and prominent backing vocals. The song is rather average, but given a nice treatment. 6 points.
WG: Here’s another nice one. Barbara Lewis with Stop That Girl. It’s a smooth 60's girl singer record in the Bacharach mode. I can’t quite hear Jackie singing this. 7 points.
WG: This one sounds like it was written for Ricky Nelson. Instead we get Pat Carter singing Sweet Young Girl. Pleasant teenage pop ditty that shuffles along and includes Jackie’s trademark chord changes. 7 points.
WG: Yet another one of which I’d love to hear Jackie’s demo. I’m Breaking the Law by Gerri Diamond. Gerri has a generically pleasant voice, but this would have really benefited from a performance by a group like the Crystals. It cries out for a little rougher treatment. 7 points.
WG: Dripping with soul, it’s The Raelettes with Try A Little Kindness. This sounds to me like Jackie could have included it on her Memphis album. Great soul ballad sounds like it was tailor-made for the Raelettes. Scratchy record sound, but the passion of the performance more than makes up for the poor sound quality. 9 points.
WG: What would any JDS compilation be without When You Walk in the Room? This time performed by Sandy Edmonds. Nice psychedelic sitar intro mixes with English beat-girl arrangement. Ms. Edmonds sounds a bit like Lulu. Any info on her Peter? Better than average version. 8 points.
WG: Now for something a little different. It’s Wrecking Crew guitarist Billy Strange with an instrumental version of Come and Stay With Me. Tremolo guitar and electric harpsichord anchor this baroque-surf-pop rendition. 6 points.
WG: Now it’s Johnny Rivers again, with I’ve Just Got To Get Away. This is another one that sounds like it was written with Ricky Nelson in mind. Johnny’s vocals are a bit off-key but the melody is strong and the post-rockabilly arrangement is nice. 7 points.
WG: Another rarity. It’s The Ronettes singing I’m Gonna Quit While I'm Ahead. The arrangement is reminiscent of “Breakaway”, with Ronnie Spector’s voice front and center with her trademark growl. The backing vocals doot-doot and the strings saw away into the heavens. 8 points.
WG: The collection closes with a song written for the Everly Brothers, Baby Bye-O. The Everlys couldn’t make it through the song, but Phil Everly later produced it for Bernie Schwartz. Bernie sounds very much like the third Everly, and his recording is full of charm. 9 points.
Also included as bonus tracks are two short radio interviews with Jackie DeShannon circa 1968.
(This CD can be ordered for $15 (or £10) from the JDSAS website or by sending a check to the JDSAS addresses.)
Please click below for the index page for this issue.
Click on Jackie to return to page one.