What separates Shep & the Limelites from the countless other doo wop vocal groups of the 1950s and early '60s is the distinctive singing and songwriting of James Sheppard. Sheppard, aside from his amazingly expressive, Sam Cooke-like singing voice, was adept at writing detailed romantic ballads that were a step or two above the norm, and what's more, he had a tendency to link them together through subtle references in the lyrics, so that, in a sense, his songs with the Heartbeats and the Limelites formed a long, interlocking story of departures and returns. The story, as it were, really starts with the Heartbeats' 1956 single "A Thousand Miles Away," and following the collapse of that group, Sheppard formed the Limelites in 1961, and released "Daddy's Home," which picks up where "Miles" left off, even including a last line that croons "I'm not a thousand miles away," all supported by a poignant (but half-buried) sax line. This brief collection includes "Daddy's Home," another sequel, "What Did Daddy Do," the elegant "Gee Baby, What About You," the rocking "Everything's Gonna Be Alright," and other sides from the group's stay at Hull Records. Given the interlocking nature of Sheppard's writing, however, listeners should really pick up either Westside's Daddy's Home to Stay or Collectables' Daddy's Home: The Very Best of Shep & the Limelites, both of which are double-disc sets, as well as a Heartbeats compilation, in order to really see the whole picture. That said, this brief disc is solid from start to finish, but there's just more to the story.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett