Del Shannon “The Further Adventures of Charles Westover”

The Further Adventures of Charles Westover

Here’s a psych-tinged outing that you wouldn’t expect from Del Shannon, but that you couldn’t hear from anyone else. In case you don’t remember, Del broke out in 1961 with “My Little Runaway.” Although he failed to equal his initial success afterwards, until he turned his sights to a more open-minded audience in 1968.

Del used his birth name on the title for this album, an erie and rocking mix of great tunes. The opener, “Thinkin’ It Over,” really nailed me the first time I heard it. But don’t let this “Care of Cell 44”-like great rollicking opener distract you from the rest. There are songs with great guitar work and lush string and horn orchestration. Del gets bluesy on “Be My Friend,” takes it down with “Silver Birch” and gets trippy on “Colour Flashing Hair.” Plus there is the awesome, driving “I Think I Love You” with sitar-like guitar work and a droning orchestra. Many great gems on this record. There are also a slew of bonus tracks on the reissue, including a chiller remake of “Runaway.”

Del has this tenor that is nice but kind of scary. It’s hard to describe. He sings with delicacy here and grit there; he knows what he’s doing. This isn’t just another psych outing from some has-been trying to get into the new trend. Sure, that’s probably the motivation behind this record, but it is finely crafted in songwriting and orchestration, an album worthy of some of the best of its competitors. Nice work Del.

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“I Think I Love You”

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  • DonT

    I awoke one morning to ‘Gemini’ on the radio and investigated this album. It’s great! Awash with strings, great hooks. He was a tortured soul Del. Psychedelic songs for the broken hearted.
    Highly recommended.

  • Anonymous

    Just got this, and it’s pretty damn good. I’m not convinced that Del was one of the really great songwriters, but on this collection he gets away from that doo-wop chord sequence and as a result every song has something to discover melodically. The psych influence is slender and mostly limited to the lyrics – and the album is hardly Del’s version of Pepper or Satanic Majesties, as the insert booklet suggests – but the album has a splendid 1968 West Coast feel, the orchestration and production are simply amazing throughout and his unforced vocal delivery works like a charm – no falsettos here, none needed. The CD reissue on BGO offers eight bonus tracks, being mostly stuff cut between 1966 and 1968 and either unissued or used as single B-sides to A-sides taken from Westover. These are OK but not that great, and certainly point up the quality of the Westover running order.

    I also have Del’s last-but-one album, Drop Down And Get Me from 1981, recorded with the Heartbreakers backing and Tom Petty producing. On this outing Del’s uncomplicated songs fit the soulful no-frills playing of Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench & Co like a glove. Not quite up to Westover standard but certainly enjoyable. A review might be forthcoming somewhen.

  • I have to say this is one of my favorite albums in my collection. Shocking as to how Del comes across because Runaway and Litle Town Flirt sound like someone who has had hits from someone coming from the country and making it good in the city. Del could have gone to Woodstock with this! Quite impressive album. I also have Dels Drop Down and Get me album and it produced a major top 40 hit for him the remake of Sea of Love. If you can find a copy its a great last hurrah from the almight Del who was ahead of his time.

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