Rediscovering Del Shannon

A 1977 cut reveals the hard-living soul of a honky-tonk shouter.

Del Shannon

The Dublin Sessions

RockBeat

Blue Fondue

Del Shannon never phoned it in. Best known for tortured early ’60s hits like “Runaway” and “Hats Off to Larry,” the Michigan-bred singer-songwriter combined the hard-living soul of a honky-tonk shouter with fiery, unpretentious rock’n’roll until his death in 1990. Collecting tracks from an abandoned album recorded in 1977, The Dublin Sessions captures Shannon at a commercial low point, but still delivering passionate performances. Among the highlights: the stomping “Best Days of My Life,” the dreamy ballad “Raylene” and a spirited take on kindred spirit Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Some tracks feel slightly unfinished, as if awaiting one more overdub, but that lack of polish only adds to the sense of immediacy. This is a welcome discovery from an essential artist.