The Early Years

by: Jackie DeShannon

The purpose of this unauthorized European compilation CD is to...well, what is the purpose of this thing? It's hard to say, exactly. A best-of for DeShannon's early years, the cuts here largely (though not exclusively) dating from the first half of the 1960s, with a few falling just outside of the 1960-1965 time frame on either side? No, not exactly, since it's missing some songs that would have to be included on any reasonable DeShannon best-of from this era, like "Don't Turn Your Back on Me," "A Lifetime of Loneliness," and "It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)." OK, then, is it oriented toward collectors who might have a hard time finding this material via legit releases? More likely, but in that case it's flawed, since anyone who's looking for rare DeShannon material almost certainly has much of this -- "Needles and Pins," "When You Walk in the Room," and "What the World Needs Now Is Love," for instance -- on easier-to-get (and official) DeShannon anthology CDs. What this does do is assemble 33 songs from DeShannon's pre-1967 career, some of which are pretty hard to find, some of which are not. It's those hard-to-find items that will attract some diehards, like her straight country (and low-charting) 1963 single "Faded Love" or the 1962 single "Just Like in the Movies," as well as several early LP cuts. Even so, this entirely misses some little-heard and fine songs from the time, like the 1961 pop single "I Won't Turn You Down." No liner notes, and the sound is probably not taken from the master tapes, though it's pretty good. If all of this stuff was truly hard to find, it would be a good collection of early (yet quite versatile) pop/rock sides by DeShannon. The music's undoubtedly very good on the whole (if uneven), but its rating suffers from the availability of many of the sides on better anthologies. ~ Richie Unterberger

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