Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky

While Tommy James & The Shondells became synonymous with the Bubblegum movement, their debut album is a solid rock album with great, raw production values. Curtis Mayfield’s “I’m So Proud” is an effective case in point. Bassist Mike Vale’s falsetto is met with the sparsest mix possible, a lurking organ, and drums and bass that have more than enough room to roam in this hardcore stereo mix. The Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich composition “Hanky Panky” veers close to garage rock and is the best-known tune here. While James was a singles artist, this album is surprisingly well balanced. “Say I Am,” written by James and producer Bob Mack, also made the charts. “Good Lovin’,” a hit for the Young Rascals, is just as inspired as the Rascals’ version. James’ “Don’t Throw Our Love Away” is an underrated track with some R&B sax. James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy” proves they can cover the Godfather of Soul. The cover of “Shake a Tail Feather” further makes the case for the Shondells as a versatile group capable of many styles.

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