Sticking with the theme of Baby Boomer icons jettisoning their squeaky clean images in order to get more traction with the burgeoning counter culture, we turn to Del Shannon and his mid-to-late sixties recording sessions.
In 1966 Del had gotten out of a dicey record contract and was free to continue chasing the dragon of his 1961 smash single “Runaway.” He eventually signed with album oriented label Liberty Records.
From 1966 to 1967 Liberty paired him up with various production teams to help him climb his way back the single charts. Leon Russell and Tommy Garrett had first crack at him, before he was paired with in-house producer Dallas Smith. These intermittent sessions were the usual mix of covers and originals, and ultimately made up the two 1966 albums This Is My Bag and Total Commitment. Neither album made a significant dent in the charts.
By the Fall of 1966, a dejected Shannon was able to arrange a recording session with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, the hit-making team behind The Monkees. They recorded three songs: “She,” “Stand Up,” and “The House Where Nobody Lives.” “She,” got moderate airplay before being squelched by The Monkees’ version that was released soon after.
“The House Where Nobody Lives,” the planned follow-up to “She,” was shelved and remained unreleased for years, which is too bad. The song beautifully re-captures the magic Shannon’s breakthrough “Runaway.” The jangly reverb of the opening chords, the vocal hooks, the fugitive tinged lyrics, and of course Max Crook’s signature musitron accompaniment.
1967 saw Shannon recording an unreleased full length album with famed Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham called Home and Away. When that album was shelved, Shannon turned his attention to the trends of the time and by the Fall was putting the finishing touches on his “Psychedelic” leaning album The Further Adventures of Charles Westover.
Westover, Shannon’s birth name, was comprised entirely of original songs written or co-written by Shannon. Though relatively overlooked at the time, The Further Adventures of Charles Westover became a minor cult classic, and in the 90’s was re-mastered on CD with many bonus tracks, including the unreleased Boyce/Hart session and some of the Loog Oldham tracks.
In 2014 the album was beautifully remastered on vinyl by the venerable Trouble In Mind Records, with artwork restoration by Chunklet’s Henry Owings.
The House Where Nobody Lives – Del Shannon
Gemini – Del Shannon
Would be some sort of bibliographical violation not to source: delshannon.com