Jan & Dean

Oddities

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While one would think there'd be a limited market for Jan & Dean bootlegs, there have been a number of them in circulation over the years. Although this LP brought together 17 truly rare odds and ends from the careers of both Jan & Dean the duo act and Jan Berry the solo artist, it comes with absolutely no information whatsoever as to when these tracks were originally recorded, or when (or if) they were released. That makes it hard for the less-than-manic Jan & Dean fan to judge what's going on here, although it's obvious that the material spans early-'60s Jan & Dean material to '70s Jan Berry comeback efforts. Even given all these shortcomings (not to mention the less-than-ideal sound, though it's not terrible), there's some kind of fun items here, though they're pretty trivial in relation to the best of what the pair recorded. The majority of the space is devoted to very obscure post-Jan Berry-accident singles (credited to both Jan & Dean and Jan Berry alone), ranging from decent to the rather horrible. Among the better cuts are the 1967 Jan & Dean single "Fan Tan"; the wacky canceled 1968 Jan & Dean psych pop single "Girl You're Blowing My Mind"; a Jan & Dean Coke jingle; and the 1970's Jan solo singles "That's the Way It Is" and "Tinsel Town," which make for gruesomely fascinating listening, as he's obviously having trouble holding pitch, though the music strains to present just as much of a good-time California pop feel as Jan & Dean's classic 1960's sides. On the other hand, a few of the other '70s singles have a pretty desultory revivalist rock & roll feel. Something that does nearly always come through is the goofy, humorous irreverence that Jan & Dean brought to almost everything they did, as though they couldn't even take seriously the prospect of trying to re-create their sound to get back on the charts. It's only for Jan & Dean diehards, but of some entertainment value, even if this marginal side of their work would be much better represented by an official compilation should someone want to navigate the licensing nightmares involved.