There weren't too many really good rock & roll albums released in America (or anywhere else) in 1961, and considering that Runaway With Del Shannon was slapped together to take advantage of the single "Runaway"'s number one chart position, it comes off amazingly well. A handful of cuts off of this album, including "Lies" and "Jody," frequently end up on anthologies of Shannon's work, but there is a bit more here to appreciate. The opening track, "Misery," is a catchy Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman number that shows off Shannon in the same pained, romantic mode as "Runaway," and "Day Dreams" and "(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" are similarly successful, though the latter song fared far better a few months later in the hands of Elvis Presley. Some of the rest is a good deal less appealing, especially when Shannon tries straight romantic crooning, as on "The Search" or "I'll Always Love You." "I Wake up Crying" and especially "Wide Wide World" are successful album tracks, and the latter, at a somewhat quicker tempo, might even have made a good single. The stereo version of the album (and the accompanying master) was considered lost for many years and went for large amounts of money, but it finally reappeared on CD properly during the 1990s.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder