Although packaged like something one might buy for $4.99 alongside a package of Slim Jims, an issue of Juggs, and a bottle of Mini-Thins at a truckstop on the outskirts of Flemington, NJ, the 18-track Tommy James & the Shondells compilation Original Hits is actually a pretty good introduction. The liner notes are basic but informative, the sound quality is decent, and all the major hits are here, including the 1971 Tommy James solo smash "Draggin' the Line." James' records are an acquired taste at best -- his voice is often grating, his lyrics are insipid, and the early songs blur together indistinguishably; to his credit, he later attempted to expand his basic approach, and the psych-pop epics "Crimson and Clover" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion" are kind of cool in their way, but you really don't need more than this.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny