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Del Shannon: The Liberty Years

Del Shannon’s biggest hits were behind him when he signed with Liberty in 1966, but that doesn’t mean he quit making great records. As richly demonstrated here, the author of ”Runaway” and ”Hats Off to Larry” was much more than a dramatic rock crooner. Filling a large gap left by most Shannon compilations, The Liberty Years is loaded with obscure gems, some smartly reflecting the kaleidoscopic musical environment that confounded so many stars of his (pre-Beatles) generation. The depth of Shannon’s talent, especially the creative sophistication of his vocals, is unmistakable in tracks like ”For a Little While,” the Beach Boys-like ”Cut and Come Again,” and ”Easy to Say,” in which glorious summer harmonies, harpsichord, and a stomping rock chorus build a small masterpiece. Why none of these inventive and passionate pop epics found chart success is inexplicable; judged solely on quality, this sounds like a greatest hits collection. A-

Del Shannon: The Liberty Years
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