Break-A-Way: The Songs of Jackie DeShannon

Break-A-Way: The Songs of Jackie DeShannon


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With this volume, Ace Records' songwriters series -- which had previously documented such well-known early pop
ock composers as Burt Bacharach, Leiber & Stoller, and Goffin & King -- takes a more daring step into the catalog of a writer less famous, though not less talented. Though she had a couple big hit records of her own in the 1960s and released many discs in the decade, Jackie DeShannon was even more active as a songwriter, with many of her compositions (including many she never released under her own name) getting covered by artists in both the U.S. and U.K. This compilation has 27 such songs, some written by DeShannon herself, and some in collaboration with noted figures like Sharon Sheeley, Jimmy Page, and Jack Nitzsche. Though there's one big hit here (the Searchers' "When You Walk in the Room") and another track that was on a famous hit album ("Don't Doubt Yourself, Babe," from the Byrds' 1965 debut LP), for the most part these are songs known only to record collectors, and in a couple cases more known by versions other than the ones represented here. Like all of the other CDs in the Ace songwriters series, this isn't exactly a best-of as regards DeShannon covers, mixing some of her most famous tunes with rarities by big names, and just plain rarities by singers hardly anyone's ever heard of. While DeShannon went on to record quite a bit of material in a late-'60s/early-'70s serious singer/songwriter vein, these songs make plain her skill at creating catchy Brill Building-style pop, sometimes with a gutsy sexy and folky streak missing from the more pop-oriented Brill Building tunesmiths. For all her talent, however, these interpretations don't always do the material full justice. "When You Walk in the Room," "Don't Doubt Yourself, Babe," and Irma Thomas' "Break-A-Way" (a great song given wider exposure when Tracey Ullman made it into a Top Five British hit in 1983) are the only really superb tracks. A few others (P.J. Proby's "Just Like Him," Brenda Lee's "So Deep") are pretty good; a few of the better ones were done better by other artists (notably Cher's "Come and Stay with Me" and Gay Shingleton's "In My Time of Sorrow," both given superior treatments by Marianne Faithfull); and a few are disappointingly tame or clumsy versions of clearly fine songs (Diana Dawn's "Back Street Girl," the Bandits' "I Remember the Girl"). And while several other stars are represented (such as Duane Eddy, Rick Nelson, Peggy March, Bobby Vee, and Dobie Gray), their cuts aren't highlights in either their or DeShannon's careers. Break-A-Way, of course, is still a fine compilation, put together and annotated with Ace's customary expertise. But while this might be a somewhat insider collector-oriented point, such collectors know that DeShannon herself -- a great singer in addition to being a great songwriter -- recorded versions of some of these songs (like "Back Street Girl" and "Blue Ribbons") for rare publisher demo LPs that, both vocally and production-wise, were immeasurably superior. It's to be hoped that some or all of the material from those demo LPs eventually sees CD release to put the record straight, which doesn't seem to be as far-fetched a whim as one might think, since the Break-A-Way CD itself closes with a previously unissued folky 1967 DeShannon demo, "Only You Can Free My Mind." Even if such releases don't come to pass, DeShannon was so prolific that additional compilations of covers of her compositions would be welcome.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/11/2008
Label: Ace Records Uk
UPC: 0029667034920
catalogNumber: 1208
Rank: 67460


  1. Break-A-Way
  2. When You Walk in the Room
  3. Just Like Him
  4. Come and Stay with Me
  5. Woe Is Me
  6. Dancing Silhouettes
  7. (He's) The Great Impostor
  8. There's Gonna Be a Fight
  9. So Deep
  10. You Won't Forget Me
  11. Carrying a Torch
  12. Blue Ribbons
  13. Stop That Girl
  14. In My Time of Sorrow
  15. I Remember the Girl
  16. Back Street Girl
  17. Am I Dreaming
  18. Splendor in the Grass
  19. Guitar Child
  20. Should I Cry
  21. Thank You Darlin'
  22. Would You Come Back
  23. Daydreamin' of You
  24. Takin' the Long Way Home
  25. If I'm Right or Wrong
  26. Don't Doubt Yourself, Babe
  27. Only You Can Free My Mind

Album Credits

Performance Credits

David Gates   Conductor
Jack Nitzsche   Conductor
Grady Martin   Conductor
Garry Sherman   Conductor
Teacho Wiltshire   Conductor
Ron Winters   Conductor

Technical Credits

Jimmy Page   Composer,Producer
David Gates   Arranger
Terry Melcher   Arranger,Producer
Jack Nitzsche   Arranger,Composer
Bert Berns   Direction
Sonny Bono   Arranger,Producer
Jimmy Bowen   Producer
Owen Bradley   Producer
Charles Bud Dant   Producer
Dale Davis   Producer
Jackie DeShannon   Composer,Producer,Photo Courtesy
Tommy "Snuff" Garrett   Producer
Dick Glasser   Producer
Jimmie Haskell   Arranger
Tony Hatch   Producer
Kasha   Producer
Brenda Lee   Author
Hank Levine   Arranger
Gary S. "Flip" Paxton   Producer
Bob Reisdorff   Producer
Ron Richards   Producer
Artie Ripp   Producer
Schmitt   Producer
Sharon Sheeley   Composer
Garry Sherman   Arranger
Teacho Wiltshire   Arranger
Jerry Dennon   Producer
Tony Rounce   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Alec Palao   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Ady Croasdell   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Eddie Hodges   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Ron Winters   Arranger
Rob Finnis   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Peter Lerner   Liner Notes,Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Mick Patrick   Liner Notes,Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Fred Darian   Producer
Sam Szczepanski   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Barry Wickham   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy
Eddie Ray   Producer
Barry Summers   Arranger
JC Fisher   Producer
Craig Butler   Memorabilia,Photo Courtesy

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