In the Wind

by: Jackie DeShannon

This is a slightly altered reissue of an album, Jackie DeShannon, that came out on Liberty in mid-1963, more than two years before In the Wind was released. In the Wind contained ten of the twelve songs that had appeared on Jackie DeShannon, dropping "Betsy from Pike" and "Sing Hallelujah," and substituting the singles "Needles and Pins" and "Don't Turn Your Back on Me." Other than those singles, the album was devoted to pop-folk arrangements of contemporary and traditional folk songs, including three Bob Dylan tunes, as well as "If I Had a Hammer," "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down," and "Puff (The Magic Dragon)." DeShannon was a folk-rock precursor/innovator, but these tracks were not folk-rock; they were pop-folk, given a bit more rhythm and added instrumentation than the standard folk albums of the early 1960s had. DeShannon does the tunes fairly well, and her gutsy delivery is enough to raise it considerably above most of the LPs of this era by other artists devoted to covers of such material. Yet this approach really wasn't DeShannon's forte; versatile pop-folk-rock-soul, often written by herself, was, as you can hear on "Needles and Pins" and "Don't Turn Your Back on Me," which are simultaneously the best songs on the album and the most ill-fitting. She invested some emotion in her covers, but didn't quite let it all hang out, although the version of Bob Dylan's "Walkin' Down the Line" is a standout, both for the earthy vocal and its obscurity (which Dylan himself did not release a version of in the 1960s). It's an interesting album in that it vaguely foreshadows the folk-rock combination of DeShannon and others, and it doesn't do DeShannon any discredit, but it's no more than an average recording, by her standards anyway. ~ Richie Unterberger

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