Roulette RecordsTravelin' is a solid and respectable recording from the innovative and totally underrated group who became synonymous with bubblegum music. They didn't go out in a blaze of glory as the Beatles did with Let It Be, but this final album from the Shondells on Roulette before Tommy James went solo (enabling Peter Vale and Mike Vale to come up with their own production, a band called Hog Heaven) is a good study in creativity. The nondescript cover of James driving the horse and carriage away from outlaws hardly represents the music inside, but it is prophetic (the texture is like Elton John's Madman Across the Water, meaning Roulette spent some money on the heavy cardboard gatefold). Perhaps the man sitting next to James is co-producer Bob King, while the band is smiling and peering out of the small stagecoach. Maybe it's the music business executives chasing them, as James and King move on to solo careers. Inside is another story. "Candy Maker" and the title track, "Travelin'," are serious psychedelic episodes, with "Red Rover" excellent bouncy pop song and "She" a classic Tommy James ballad with guitar stops, hooks, great backing vocals, and a wonderful falsetto vocal. Sure, some of this album plays out like the forthcoming solo Tommy James, be it "Talkin' & Signifyin'" or "Moses & Me," and as good as these tracks are, it is clear that Tommy James wanted to stretch out. The dramatic work with Nashville legends on My Head, My Bed, and My Red Guitar probably would not have happened if there were still the Shondells in James' life and though the title track would have been a more cohesive follow-up to Cellophane Symphony if it led off this album, the work still stands as undervalued music that collectors and '60s fans in general should seek out and cherish."
Tommy James & the Shondells – Travelin' – Used LP
Regular price $ 17.00
still sealed!!! Gatefold. Cut out with big sawcut into right side near top. Michigan 1970! The final vinyl for TJ with the Shondells. And definitely a solid ending!
by Joe Viglione