Tommy James & the Shondells’ Complete Roulette Recordings Box Due

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That’s Tommy James at center

Sixties hitmakers Tommy James and the Shondells will be celebrated with a box set that collects their entire output for the Roulette label, which includes their hugely popular singles, “Hanky Panky,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mony Mony,” “Crimson and Clover,” and more. The 6-CD set, Celebration – The Complete Roulette Recordings: 1966-1973, arrives Jan. 29, 2021, via Cherry Red Records’ Grapefruit label. It’s available for pre-order via the links below.

Although these albums have all appeared on CD reissues at various times over the years, this will be the first box set to gather together all of the recordings. In addition, there is the bonus of all of the recordings that never featured on the original LPs. Some of these tracks are making their CD debut within this collection. The complete track listing is below.

Between 1966 and 1973, Tommy James issued thirteen albums on Roulette either as a solo performer or with the Shondells. (This includes “Greatest Hits” or “Best Of” albums which of course duplicated tracks from regular albums. These tracks have been left in their respective original albums.) All of these recordings now appear on this definitive 6-CD set, housed in a clamshell case.

The 141-track box set features 16 tracks that were only ever released on 45s or were previously unissued until earlier compilations were released on CD. Produced by Bob Fisher whose detailed essay covers the entire history of the group with quotes by Tommy James from his biography and the notes to previous reissues. The booklet includes details of all of their chart achievements in the USA and the UK along with numerous reproductions of advertisements, reviews and news stories from music industry magazines.

That fabulous Roulette 45 label

In 2018, Best Classic Bands talked to James about the genesis of the group’s early hits. “We went through a lot of phases,” he said. “We started out with ‘Hanky Panky’ as sort of a garage band, which is exactly what we were. And went on…it was like the scene in the time machine where the guy’s looking at the mannequin and it keeps changing clothes. That’s kind of how we were.

“We sort of accidentally invent bubblegum with [1967’s] ‘I Think We’re Alone Now.’ And that was my fault. ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ was brought to me as a mid-tempo ballad and we went in the studio and did a demo of it and I started dum-dum-dum-dum on the guitar and that caught on and became the signature sound for the next several records and the whole album.

In part two of our interview, we asked James about 1968’s “Crimson and Clover,” which reached #1 in the U.S. in February 1969. What did its title mean, he was asked. “Just two of my favorite words,” he said, with a laugh. “Sounded like they oughta be profound. It sounded poetic. I have no idea what they meant.”

Watch their Jan. 26, 1969 performance of “Crimson and Clover” on The Ed Sullivan Show

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Celebration – The Complete Roulette Recordings: 1966-1973 Track List

DISC ONE:
HANKY PANKY (ROULETTE LP SR 25336)

1. HANKY PANKY (Roulette 4686)
2. I’LL GO CRAZY
3. I’M SO PROUD
4. THE LOVER
5. LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ‘ROUND
6. GOOD LOVIN’
7. SAY I AM (WHAT I AM) (Roulette 4695)
8. CLEO’S MOOD
9. DON’T THROW OUR LOVE AWAY
10. SHAKE A TAIL FEATHER
11. SOUL SEARCHIN’ BABY
12. LOTS OF PRETTY GIRLS (Roulette 4695)
BONUS TRACK
13. THUNDERBOLT (Roulette 4686)

IT’S ONLY LOVE (ROULETTE SR 25344)
14. IT’S ONLY LOVE (Roulette 4710)
15. HOLD ON A LITTLE BIT LONGER
16. IT’S ALRIGHT
17. JUANITA (NOTHIN’S GONNA STOP OUR LOVE)
18. BIG TIME OPERATOR
19. YA, YA (Roulette 4710)
20. WE’LL HAVE A WORLD
21. DON’T LET MY LOVE PASS YOU BY (Roulette 4710)
22. PICK-UP
23. I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY
24. FANNY MAE
25. SOME
BONUS TRACKS
26. HOLD ON TO HIM
27. SHE CRIED
28. WIGGLE WOBBLE
29. THE CHEATER
30. SOUL SERENADE
31. AS WE GO THROUGH LIFE

DISC TWO:
I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW (ROULETTE SR 25353)

1. I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW (Roulette 4720)
2. TRUST EACH OTHER IN LOVE
3. WHAT I’D GIVE TO SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN
4. BABY LET ME DOWN
5. LET’S BE LOVERS
6. RUN, RUN BABY RUN (Roulette 4736)
7. MIRAGE (Roulette 4736)
8. I LIKE THE WAY (Roulette 4756)
9. CALIFORNIA SUN
10. (BABY, BABY) I CAN’T TAKE IT NO MORE (Roulette 4756)
11. GONE, GONE, GONE (Roulette 4720)
12. SHOUT

SOMETHING SPECIAL! -BEST OF TOMMY JAMES AND THE SHONDELLS (ROULETTE SR 25355)

13. OUT OF THE BLUE (Roulette 4775)
14. GETTING’ TOGETHER (Roulette 4762) / (Roulette LP SR 25357)
15. LOVE’S CLOSIN’ IN ON ME (Roulette 4775)
16. REAL GIRL (Roulette 4762)

GETTIN’ TOGETHER (ROULETTE SR 25357)
17. I WANT TO BE AROUND YOU
18. THERE’S SO MUCH LOVE ALL AROUND ME
19. SOME HAPPY DAY
20. SO DEEP WITH YOU
21. SOMETIMES I’M UP (SOMETIMES I’M DOWN)
22. YOU BETTER WATCH OUT
23. WISH IT WERE YOU (Roulette 7000)
24. WORLD DOWN ON YOUR KNEES
25. LOST IN YOUR EYES

DISC THREE:
MONY, MONY (ROULETTE SR 42012)

1. MONY, MONY (Roulette 7008)
2. DO UNTO ME (Roulette 70016)
3. (I’M) TAKEN
4. NIGHTMARE (I’M A LOVER)
5. RUN AWAY WITH ME
6. SOMEBODY CARES (Roulette 70016)
7. GET OUT NOW (Roulette 7000)
8. CAN’T GO BACK TO DENVER
9. SOME KIND OF LOVE (Roulette 7028)
10. GINGERBREAD MAN (Roulette 7024)
11. ONE TWO THREE AND I FELL (Roulette 7008)

CRIMSON AND CLOVER (ROULETTE SR42023)
12. CRIMSON AND CLOVER
13. KATHLEEN McARTHUR
14. I AM A TANGERINE
15. DO SOMETHING TO ME (Roulette 7024)
16. CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION (Roulette 7050)
17. SUGAR ON SUNDAY
18. BREAKAWAY (Roulette 7039)
19. SMOKEY ROADS
20. I’M ALIVE (Roulette 7050)
21. CRIMSON AND CLOVER (REPRISE)
BONUS TRACK
22. CRIMSON AND CLOVER (45 RADIO VERSION) (Roulette 7028)

DISC FOUR:
CELLOPHANE SYMPHONY (ROULETTE SR 42030)

1. CELLOPHANE SYMPHONY
2. MAKIN’ GOOD TIME (ROULETTE 7060)
3. EVERGREEN
4. SWEET CHERRY WINE (ROULETTE 7039)
5. PAPA ROLLED HIS OWN
6. CHANGES
7. LOVED ONE (ROULETTE 7066)
8. I KNOW WHO I AM
9. LOVE OF A WOMAN
10. ON BEHALF OF THE ENTIRE STAFF AND MANAGEMENT
BONUS TRACKS
11. SWEET CHERRY WINE (45 VERSION) (ROULETTE 7039)
12. CONTACT

BEST OF TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS (ROULETTE SR 42040)
13. BALL OF FIRE (ROULETTE 7060)

TRAVELIN’ (ROULETTE SR 42044)
14. BLOODY WATER
15. RED ROVER (ROULETTE 7071)
16. CANDY MAKER (ROULETTE 7084)
17. SHE (ROULETTE 7066)
18. TALKIN’ AND SIGNIFYIN’ (ROULETTE 7076)
19. TRAVELIN’
20. GOTTA GET BACK TO YOU (ROULETTE 7071)

DISC FIVE:
TRAVELIN’ (ROULETTE SR 42044) (CONTINUED)

1. EARLY IN THE MORNIN’
2. MOSES AND ME
3. KELLY TOLD ANNE

TOMMY JAMES (ROULETTE SR 42051)
4. BALL AND CHAIN (ROULETTE 7084)
5. MEET THE COMER
6. MIDNIGHT TRAIN
7. LIGHT OF DAY
8. COME TO ME (ROULETTE 7076) *
9. I LOST MY BABY
10. LADY JANE
11. QUICK SILVER

CHRISTIAN OF THE WORLD –
TOMMY JAMES (ROULETTE SR 42062/SR 3001)
12. CHRISTIAN OF THE WORLD
13. RINGS AND THINGS (ROULETTE 7140)
14. I’M COMIN’ HOME (ROULETTE 7110)
15. SING, SING, SING (ROULETTE 7110)
16. DRAGGIN’ THE LINE (ROULETTE 7093)/ (ROULETTE 7103)
17. SAIL A HAPPY SHIP
18. LIGHT OF DAY (ROULETTE 7100)
19. BITS AND PIECES (ROULETTE 7103)
20. BELIEVE IN PEOPLE
21. CHURCH ST. SOUL REVIVAL (ROULETTE 7093)
22. ANOTHER HILL TO CLIMB
23. ADRIENNE (ROULETTE 7100)
24. SILK SATIN CARRIAGE WAITING

DISC SIX:
MY HEAD, MY BED, AND MY RED GUITAR (ROULETTE SR 3007)

1. NOTHING TO HIDE (ROULETTE 7114)
2. TELL ‘EM WILLIE BOY’S A’ COMIN’ (ROULETTE 7119)
3. WHITE HORSES
4. THE LAST ONE TO KNOW
5. ROSALEE
6. PAPER FLOWER
7. WALK A COUNTRY MILE
8. WHO’S GONNA CRY
9. FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS
10. KINGSTON HIGHWAY
11. I LIVE TO LOVE A WOMAN
12. FORTUNADA
13. DARK IS THE NIGHT (ROULETTE 7126)

NON-LP SINGLES
14. CAT’S EYE IN THE WINDOW (ROULETTE 7126)
15. LOVE SONG (ROULETTE 7130)
16. CELEBRATION (ROULETTE 7135)
17. BOO, BOO DON’TCHA BE BLUE (ROULETTE 7140)
18. CALICO (ROULETTE 7147) 1973
19. HEY, MY LADY (ROULETTE 7147) 1973

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  1. Timflyte
    #1 Timflyte 18 November, 2020, 08:52

    Yay. I’ve been waiting for this and it looks like a great price. Back when rock n roll was full of fun. This will be great to warm up the cold days of winter. Hopefully the liner notes will provide recording information. If you haven’t read his book yet , I highly recommend it.

    Reply this comment
  2. JCB
    #2 JCB 27 November, 2020, 12:11

    Tommy belongs in the R+R Hall of Fame. Sad to see others getting in before him that don’t even belong. Seen him several times live, just fabulous.

    Reply this comment

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