Breaking It Up on the Beatles Tour

by: Jackie DeShannon

Contrary to what the exploitative title might have you believe, this was not recorded during a Beatles tour (though Jackie DeShannon was an opening act on their 1964 North American tour), or even a live album. Instead, it was something of a grab bag of a dozen tracks that had already been released on Liberty singles between 1962 and 1964. For all its scattered origins, however, it was a pretty good compilation of her early-'60s work, though it was neither definitive nor the very best dozen tracks she did during this period. The best stuff is extremely good, however, starting with her original versions of "Needles and Pins" and "When You Walk in the Room," both of which anticipated some of the elements that would make up folk-rock in the mid-'60s, and both of which were covered for much bigger hits by the Searchers. There's also some fine girl group-influenced pop/rock that she co-wrote with the young Randy Newman ("She Don't Understand Him Like I Do," "Hold Your Head High"), Jack Nitzsche (the very Phil Spector-esque "Should I Cry"), and Sharon Sheeley ("You Won't Forget Me"), as well as a good song Newman wrote alone, "Did He Call Today, Mama." Some of the other tracks, such as the covers of Buddy Holly's "Oh, Boy" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," come off as filler in this company, but overall it's a fairly strong set by this underrated singer/songwriter. [The 2005 CD reissue on RPM adds considerable value with lengthy historical liner notes and eight bonus tracks from the same era, including a few standouts, like her folk-rocky "Needles and Pins" B-side "Till You Say You'll Be Mine," the zesty orchestrated pop/rocker "Try to Forget Him," and the girl group goodie "Breakaway." Collectors will also want this for the presence of three previously unreleased cuts among those bonus tracks, those being a pure blues-folk reading of "Mean Old Frisco" and the more routine early-'60s-styled pop numbers "Today Will Have No Night" and "Give Me a Break."] ~ Richie Unterberger

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