Dinner Music: Tommy James & The Shondells
taking a little bit of time with a late sixties classic
Tommy James is a musician, songwriter and former frontman of Tommy James and the Shondells. The Shondells were first formed by James and a handful of friends while they were in high school, though the group disbanded after they graduated. During their heyday, they recorded the track “Hanky Panky” that was later unearthed by a DJ in Philly and inspired James to reform the group with new members. Their earlier tracks were often label as “bubblegum pop,” a label James empathetically rejected. His response, naturally, was to release a psychedelic rock album.
Crimson & Clover was released in 1968 when James was only twenty-two years old. The album begins with the title track Crimson & Clover, a song likely familiar and loved. The album version is dubbed the “long version” and is five and a half minutes of recognizable melody and psychedelic riffing. Do Something to Me is the only cover on the album, a vibe-y tribute to Elvis with some of that bubblegum sensibility. Perhaps the best track on the album is Crystal Blue Persuasion, a song both mysterious and understated, that is either about the Book of Ezekiel or LSD depending on where you look.
Crimson & Clover - Tommy James and the Shondells:
Pair this album with:
Cabernet Franc Field Blend. It’s getting warm, but chill this wine for a bit and then drink it. Voila, it’s a summer wine with lounge vibes.
Thank you, thank you. I am happy you’re here.