+1/2 -- Stellar singer-songwriter's debut caught in the folk
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 09/05/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jackie DeShannon's renown as a songwriter ("When You Walk in the Room," "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe," "Come and Stay With Me," "Bette Davis Eyes," "Break-a-Way") has generally overshadowed her hits as a singer ("What the World Needs Now is Love" and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"). But despite her lack of broad commercial success as a performer, she recorded numerous singles (including a superb pre-Searchers version of "Needles and Pins") and albums that suggest a few breaks could have turned her into a bigger singing star. Her husky voice is well suited to a range of material, including country, R&B, pop, folk, folk-rock and singer-songwriter balladry.
This debut album from 1963 followed a string of non- and low-charting singles, including a barely-top-100 cover of "Faded Love." Without a hit single upon which to hang the album, with the folk revival in full swing, and with DeShannon lobbying for an album of Bob Dylan songs, Liberty agreed to three Dylan tunes and a mix of contemporary and traditional folk songs. Of the three Dylan covers, her impassioned take of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" is the strongest and unmarred by the backing vocals deployed on the other two. In addition to Dylan's own work, DeShannon covers a song closely associated with (but not written by) Dylan, "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down."
Other folk revival favorites covered here include the Weavers' "If I Had a Hammer," Peter, Paul & Mary's "Puff (The Magic Dragon)," and Bob Gibson's celtic waltz "Betsy From Pike." More interesting is Bobby Darin's woeful "Jailer Bring Me Water" sung full-throated and backed by hand-clap percussion and a broken and desperate rendition of "500 Miles." Jack Nitzsche employs guitars, bass, banjo and harmonica throughout, and the heavily strummed 6-strings of "Oh Sweet Chariot" perfectly frame DeShannon's folk-gospel testimonial.
DeShannon's folk roots carried through to her rock and pop songwriting. The chime in the Searchers' "When You Walk in the Room" came from DeShannon's original, and her contribution to the Byrds debut album sprang from the same well. As for her own debut, there are some fine performances, and DeShannon's voice is always worth hearing, but the all-covers format reveals little of the greatness she'd achieve as a singer-songwriter. Fans should pick this up this first-time-on-CD release, but those new to DeShannon's catalog should start with a greatest hits or an anthology of others singing her songs. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]"
Great find on CD
Richard Behmer | Victorville, CA United States | 11/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was actually trying to find Jackie DeShannon's "In the Wind" on CD, but it was mainly for one song that I have always loved titled "Little Yellow Roses". That song is on this CD along with others from the folk song era which include such famous folk songs as Puff the Magic Dragon, Don't think Twice, and Blowing in the Wind. Jackie's renditions are quite different from Peter Paul & Mary's, but they are clean and refreshing to hear nonetheless. Her voice delivers each song with a hint of huskiness and rock solid determination. If you are like me, you will be singing the song "Little Yellow Roses" a long time after hearing it a few times. Well worth the money here."