Superb composer, stunning singer!
Pieter | Johannesburg | 11/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
The great Jackie DeShannon was a type of 1960s pioneer, a forerunner of the singer-songwriter that would come into such prominence in the late 60s and early 70s. Not only was she a great composer of memorable songs, but her own music was sometimes quite magnificent.
A master of various styles, DeShannon was equally successful as a pop, rock, country and folk vocalist, and all her music was infused with lots of authentic soul. The moving song Put A Little Love In Your Heart, a classic from 1969, demonstrates her mastery of the pop-rock style, whilst Needles And Pins and When You Walk In The Room with their jangling guitars predated the folk-rock wave of later years.
What The World Needs Now Is Love is an exquisite soft rock/MoR performance and was a huge hit in the middle 60s. Other great tracks here include Splendor In The Grass, Laurel Canyon, Love Will Find A Way, Bette Davis Eyes and Vanilla O'Lay, one of my favorites. Vanilla Olay was a small hit for the model Twiggy in the 1970s whilst Bette Davis Eyes was of course a massive hit for Kim Carnes in 1981.
A regrettable omission is the poignant ballad Come And Stay With Me that was recorded by Marianne Faithfull. This is available on DeShannon's Very Best Of, a 10-track compilation on the Collectables label. DeShannon's songs were covered by, amongst others, The Byrds, Marianne Faithfull, The Searchers, Irma Thomas, Kim Carnes, Marcia Griffiths, Brenda Lee and The Fleetwoods.
Her interpretation of others' material was always spot-on. This Best Of collection, although not complete, is a valuable showcase of an undeservedly obscure musical genius that added so much flavour and talent to the music of the 1960s and subsequent decades. If you like authentic, quality music, you must have this album. Especially recommended for fans of the 1960s folk-pop style as represented by singers like Mary Hopkin, Melanie and the early Marianne Faithfull.