To most casual listeners, Del Shannon was a one-hit (or, at best, two-hit) wonder. This two-CD anthology goes a long way toward correcting that inaccurate perception, covering virtually every high point in a career that, admittedly with some ups and downs, yielded some great and popular music across nearly 30 years. Every phase of the late singer/composer/guitarist's career is represented, and though "Runaway is usually the only song associated with Shannon, this collection reveals many other sides to his work and sound, from the romantic Shannon original "Jody" to the defiant Pomus-Shuman song "Ginny in the Mirror."
The really good part about this set is that a lot of the songs appear here in their rare stereo mixes. With most classic rock & roll, that would not necessarily be a virtue, stereo being superfluous as well as harmful to its impact, but in Shannon's case it is -- his records usually featured very busy, complex instrumental parts (an attribute that he shared in common with the Beatles and a lot of other British invasion acts) that can be discerned much more easily in the stereo versions. All of the bases are covered right up through his work in the late '60s with Andrew "Loog" Oldham and into the 1970s and 1980s obscurities. His version of the Zombies' hit "Tell Her No" (cut for Island Records in the mid-'70s) and the Dave Edmunds-produced "And the Music Plays On" are represented, along with the results of his collaboration with Tom Petty and his comeback with the early-'80s NBC television series Crime Story (which returned "Runaway," used as the show's title theme, to the charts). As is usual with Raven Records, the annotation is extremely thorough and the mastering is impeccable.