The Dublin Sessions ROCKBEAT 8/10 “runaway” man’s long-shelved stab at mainstream renaissance Like so many pop stars of the pre-Beatles era, Del Shannon’s career encountered a few bumps from the mid-1960s onward. Like his peers Dion and Roy Orbison, however, in the late ’60s and ’70s Shannon cut some of the most intricate and intriguing music of the times – see his 1968 psych/pop masterpiece The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover – only to meet with critical and commercial indifference. This long-bootlegged set, recorded in 1977 with his tourmates Smackee, hints at retribution. In particular, it reconnects with his central strength – an existential longing merging the spiritual with the romantic. The arrangements are straightforward and focused, featuring swirling keyboards, tight harmonies and an FM-radio sheen. Shannon’s vocals, passionate and moving, surge on the rockers, such as “Best Days Of My Life” and “One Track Mind”, and convey pure anguish on the ballads, especially “Another Lonely Night”. Two grandiose love songs, “Raylene” and “Amanda”, are near masterpieces, building to dramatic overtures and alluding to Shannon’s little-known collaboration with Jeff Lynne. Still, record labels were unimpressed. Extras. None.