Jackie DeShannon's relative obscurity is one of the great tragedies of American music. While several Top 40 hits kept her miles away from being one of the '60s countless folk-rock unknowns, her ongoing contributions to several brilliant eras of rock history should have afforded her the household name status that many of her less-talented peers enjoyed. As a songwriter, DeShannon penned hits for other artists, from the early-'60s doo wop days and into the '80s and '90s. As a pop star she shone in her own right, with a softly smoky voice and a bittersweet delivery applied to classically catchy AM pop songs. Keep Me in Mind is the third and final collection of DeShannon' multitude of singles issued on the Imperial and Liberty labels throughout the '60s. This volume, like the two that preceded it, presents the singles and their B-sides in chronological order, this time honing in on 27 tracks from 1967-1970, an era in which DeShannon was decidedly embracing some of the better musical trends of the day. Moving from her Brill Building beginnings and some of the earliest waves made in folk-rock, by the late '60s, DeShannon was infusing her pop gems with equal parts Summer of Love peace-and-flowers imagery and lazy, stoned-soul picnic grooves. The transition from orchestrated pop versions of loungey vocal tunes like "It's All in the Game" to a straight-up roots rock cover of the Band's classic "The Weight" comes quickly, DeShannon shedding skin and turning over different styles like casually trying on hats on a Sunday afternoon. By 1968 she would dive head-first into countercultural signifiers with her Laurel Canyon album, an ode to the notorious Los Angeles community that was home to stars, musicians, hangers-on, and eventually the Manson murders. While the album predated the dark events that represented the beginning of the end of the hippie movement by more than a year, its songs are steeped in a genuine excitement for the L.A. lifestyle of the late '60s, with songs like "Holly Would" and "Effervescent Blue" melding light soul basslines with wistful free love and poetry lyrics. Things get progressively groovier as the compilation burns on, with happy-go-lucky hippie idealism leaking out of wide-eyed soul-pop numbers like "Brighton Hill," "Love Will Find a Way," and what ended up being one of her biggest hits, the soft rock staple "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." The compilation is rounded out by a few offbeat Christmas songs and lilting orchestrated soul-pop jams, the particularly charged "It's So Nice" standing out. While she continued to record and write songs for decades to come, Keep Me in Mind captures one of DeShannon's most vibrantly colorful periods of creativity. There's an undercurrent of positivity and joy which flows through even the least of the material here, marrying a sense of excitement to quickly evolving stylistic sensibilities and resulting in some of an already incredibly talented songwriter's strongest work.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas