Del Shannon

Little Town Flirt/Handy Man

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Del Shannon's second and third albums appear (after a fashion) together on this Beat Goes On reissue. Actually, what Beat Goes On has re-created is the song lineup of the U.K. version of the Little Town Flirt album, which is a plus, as it contains several songs -- including "Runaway" -- that were repeated from earlier releases on the U.S. version. In either configuration, Little Town Flirt was one of the better rock & roll LPs of its period and holds up well. Shannon and his producers probably thought they were playing it safe by loading the record up with a fair number of covers, including "Dream Baby" and "Runaround Sue"; they never dreamt that one of his other covers from early 1963, of the Beatles' "From Me to You," would have put him for a moment on the cutting edge of music in England (where the record wasn't issued until later) as well as in front of the leading edge by almost a year in America. That track doesn't eclipse so much as augment the value of the originals, which are mostly the work of Shannon and a composer named Robby McKenzie and are solid early-'60s rock & roll, mostly produced with a Brill Building pop edge provided by the presence of a girl chorus. "Two Kinds of Teardrops," "Little Town Flirt," and the Beatles cover have reappeared on various anthologies, but even the poorest of these tracks are worth hearing, and the album has as much value as any contemporary work by the Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers. Handy Man, released a year later, is the better album of the two, featuring Shannon's harder-rocking persona covering Chuck Berry ("Memphis"), Leiber & Stoller ("Ruby Baby"), Lennon and McCartney ("World Without Love"), Roy Orbison ("Crying"), and the Isley Brothers ("Twist and Shout"). All songs are here in their stereo versions, which allows one to pick out the instruments in close-up if that's where one's interest lies, but are digitized so well that there's no loss of impact either.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:33
2 2:35
3 2:24
4 2:20
5 2:46
6 2:02
7 2:39
8 1:57
9 2:38
10 2:27
11 2:20
12 2:50
13 2:37
14 2:27
15 2:20
16 2:13
17 2:23
18 2:14
19 2:42
20 2:28
21 2:47
23 2:06
24 2:38
blue highlight denotes track pick