Thursday, June 17, 2021

Del Shannon In England 1967

DEL SHANNON-Mind Over Matter/Led Along U.K. Liberty LIB 10277 1967

Stone's manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham was never a man to shun lofty ambitions, and when he founded his independent label Immediate in 1965 with partner Tony Calder he always had an eye on using the label to help further the careers of not just up and coming British artists but his American heroes too, witness his licensing of the McCoy's "Hang On Sloopy" as the label's debut release (IM 001 August 1965 or Mark Murphy's U.K. only LP "Who Can I Turn To" ( IMLP  004 1966). With that in mind he made overtures to bring American singer Del Shannon over to record an entire LP. The project was to be titled "Home And Away" and no expense was spared with in house songwriters Andrew Rose and David Skinner (also known collectively, as the Immediate records duo Twice as Much) and Billy Nicholls supplying tunes to augment some of Shannon's own compositions. The sessions were held at London's Olympic studios in February 1967 with the cream of the crop participating including Steve Marriott, Kenny Jones, P.P. Arnold, Billy Nicholls, John Paul Jones, Twice As Much, Andy White and Nicky Hopkins among them adding musical backing and vocals. Production was handled by Oldham with arranging done by Art Greenslade. Then it all fell apart with financial mismanagement that left the LP, largely, unreleased until 1978 (in the U.K. as "And The Music Plays On" Sunset Records SLS 50412).

Some of the tracks from the sessions did squeak out as singles. Today's subject issued in the U.K. on Liberty (credited as "An Immediate Records production") in June of 1967 was among them. "Mind Over Matter" is to my ears, the best track of the entire LP so it was a perfect logical choice for a single. It's lushly orchestrated with strings, woodwinds and trumpet (thanks to the deft hand or Art Greenslade, best known for orchestrating Chris Farlowe's #1 smash of The Stone's "Out Of Time") that musically remind me of an upbeat Walker Brothers type thing.

Del In London at the time of the recording of "Home And Away". 

The flip, "Led Along" was penned by Immediate records wunderkid Billy Nicholls and was not recorded by him on his criminally rare Immediate LP "Would You Believe".  It's not as strong as anything on Nicholl's LP (Shannon also recorded Nicholl's "Come Again" as "Cut And Come Again" and another tune Nicholls did not release "Friendly With You" for "Home And Away"). "Led Along" has distinct "Pet Sounds" influences in it's use of high backing vocals and the chord charges. Del's vocals are in two part harmony with an interesting backing of strings, banjo and ivory tinkling. It's not the best song on the LP but worth a spin for the over the top arrangements once again courtesy of Art Greenslade. 

Both sides are available on various CD re-issues of "Home And Away". 

Hear "Mind Over Matter":

Hear "Led Along":

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