Tommy James & The Shondells: Tommy James (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Eddie Gray (guitar, background vocals); Ronnie Rosman (keyboards, background vocals); Mike Vale (bass, background vocals); Pete Lucia (drums, percussion, background vocals).
CRIMSON & CLOVER originally released on Roulette (42023). CELLOPHANE SYMPHONY originally released on Roulette (42030). Includes liner notes by Michael Thom.
One of the most flexible units in late-'60s rock, Tommy James & the Shondells could go from teen-oriented power pop to way-out psychedelic experimentation without sounding derivative of anyone or allowing their own identity to become obscured. Generously combining two of their classic albums, Cellophane Symphony and Crimson & Clover, on a single CD, this reissue reminds us just how unpredictable the rockers could be. This was a band that managed to appeal to Beach Boys aficionados as well as the hippies who fancied Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, and Cream. Whether digging into psychedelic rock on "Crimson & Clover" (a major hit), "Cellophane Symphony" and the goofy "I Am a Tangerine," sugary power pop on "Do Something to Me," or smooth blue-eyed soul on "Crystal Blue Persuasion," the group consistently comes across as honest and true to itself. ~ Alex Henderson