Tommy James & The Shondells were a hit-making machine throughout the ‘60s. Their string of hits was unrelenting at a time when the industry was turning its emphasis towards the LP. Their hits were labeled as bubblegum for retaining the enthusiasm of ‘50s rock with great rock ‘n’ roll shouters like “Hanky Panky” and “Mony Mony.” However, the group had a number of hair-raising pop hits, including “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mirage” and “Crimson and Clover.” The group handled the psychedelic era with equal grace, pulling off more elaborate tracks such as “Sweet Cherry Wine” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” This “Essentials” collection is exactly that. Twelve quick doses of what the group did best. “Draggin’ the Line” was technically a solo hit in 1971 for James, but it fits beautifully with the rest of this well-produced and well-executed collection of pure pop. A concise introduction to an underrated group.