Tommy James

In Touch/Midnight Rider

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From “Hanky Panky” to "Mony Mony,” Tommy James was always more of a musician and songwriter than his bubblegum image made him appear, and in retrospect, he drifted through the 1960s and into the 1970s turning out more good recordings and albums than many of his far more critically acclaimed peers did. This set combines 1976’s fine In Touch album with the following year’s intriguing Jeff Barry-produced Midnight Rider release, and if neither changed the course of pop/rock at the time, they are both well worth hearing. In Touch features a pair of James co-writes, “Tighter, Tighter,” which is a wonderful period love song, and “Calico” (co-written with fellow former Shondells member Peter Lucia), which sounds like a lost Shondells track, while Midnight Rider spotlights crisp production and chiming guitars on the James co-write “Love Is Gonna Find a Way” and the Jeff Barry-penned “Keep It in the Groove.”

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