TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS Crimson & Clover (1969) & Cellophane Symphony (1969)

Crimson & Clover (1969)
Cellophane Symphony (1969)
Not Your Father’s Shondells

I love psychedelic albums by artists that aren’t known for their work in the field. Sometimes, they laughably contain all of the cliches that helped to kill the genre in the first place. Other times, they are hidden treasures by bands that knew full well what they were doing… even if their audience didn’t. Tommy James & The Shondells are among the latter. TJ didn’t invent psych-pop, but he certainly epitomized the style with “Crimson & Clover,” as sure a hit song if ever one was written, regardless of the generation. And, as it was the norm to have a similar follow-up in your back pocket, “Crystal Blue Persuasion” proved James (who co-wrote all but one) had studied, compositional chops. The song’s sweet, soulful/pop sound may even have helped shaped Prince’s musical make-up as much as James Brown and Jimi Hendrix ever did (P covered TJ just a few years back). Still, there are moments on these two 1969 albums that you begin to completely forget who you’re listening to. By Cellophane Symphony, the band is replicating a 10 minute super jam between Pink Floyd and Deep Purple (with a hint of Duane Eddy)…for the lead off track. The group’s live-in-the-studio ambiance is smartly captured and is, more importantly, organically realized by a veteran band with a big bag of tricks. Think of these two albums as one big psychedelic double album that would’ve made a better single album and you’ll hear how it all fits in with the times. From 2009 reissues.

Crimson & Clover
Crimson & Clover (5:32)
Kathleen McArther (2:41)
I Am A Tangerine (3:34)
Do Something To Me (3:19)
Crystal Blue Persuasion (4:01)
Sugar On Sunday (3:22)
Breakaway (2:45)
Smokey Roads (2:50)
I’m Alive (3:14)
Crimson & Clover (Reprise) (1:00)

Cellophane Symphony
Cellophane Symphony (9:38)
Makin‘ Good Time (2:37)
Evergreen (2:07)
Sweet Cherry Wine (4:20)
Papa Rolled His Own (1:47)
Changes (5:36)
Loved One (3:41)
I Know Who I Am (3:53)
The Love Of A Woman (4:28)
On Behalf Of The Entire Staff & Management (3:57)



  • 1
    Capt. Willard
    October 30, 2010 - 18:18 | Permalink

    Find them HERE, among other places.

  • 2
    November 13, 2011 - 22:38 | Permalink

    Dear Willard,

    One again I have spent some wonderful time today drifting through your archives

    and before I leave to sleep I just had to say thank you once more..

    Pat DiNizio, Searchers, Rod Stewart, Petty, many more and now trippin with

    TJ & The Shondells .I wish there was some way to repay you for all the effort.

    A little sugar on sunday perhaps?


  • 4
    Susan Neal
    December 25, 2013 - 13:16 | Permalink

    I have a friend, Chuck Chapman, formerly from Indiana, who says he sang with Tommy James and the Shondell’s in his band. But never said when that was. Probably ’60’s-70’s. We can’t find any information on that.
    Is that true?

    • 5
      December 25, 2013 - 21:30 | Permalink

      No clue. But, Google is more knowledgable.

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