Del Shannon Trilogy of Escape and Despair no 3: Stranger in Town


Really annoying - a glitch has meant that the June 11th post of Les Paul and Mary Ford resurfaced and interrupted the Del Shannon Trilogy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f1dy_d8kJA

Aaaaah, last and best of Del’s trilogy, right from the opening note, the tremulous guitar and

“Me and my baby been on the run so very long…

her folks sent a man to get us, they say we done wrong

so we run

YEAH WE RUN

YEAH WE RUN

from the stranger in town!

Stranger in town

he’s out to get me

stranger in town

wants me and my baby

he follows me (crash (on tambourine))

to every town (crash)

and if he gets me (crash)

he’ll bring me down (crash)

so we run

YEAH WE RUN

YEAH WE RUN

from the stranger in town“

It just bursts with energy and exhilarating paranoia.

He’s runaway with his girl but her parents don’t approve – worse - “they say we done wrong” – is she under age, is she pregnant, or is it just that they’re just two young people having a relationship in early sixties America? But one

feels that if they’re caught, it will not only end their being together, but maybe also be the end of him!

But he doesn’t care

“I’m not afraid of what they’ll do to me

I’m just afraid they’ll hurt my baby”

just as long as they don’t hurt her. He suggests they’re happy whatever happens,

“We don’t care if run forever

just as long as we’re together”

although the frenetic treble harmonies at the end of each line in the middle 8 followed by a saxophone break that sounds like a puma caught in a net, belie any real sense of calm but rather ratchet up the song’s tension further

“Stranger in town

I think we’ve lost him

stranger in town

can’t let him bring us in”

but they’re never going to be sure

“Another town

one more mile

and we’ll be free

for a while”

Like hell you will, but it’s worth it JUST TO BE FREE and that’s the point.

Del is so much on the run that it’s exhausting and sweaty and exhilarating just to listen to him – the musical equivalent of a high speed sauna!

Googling this, what first comes up is Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band who produced an album back in the seventies of the same name, probably because he was . But this one track packs more excitement and musical adventure than the whole oeuvre of the MOR rock ‘n’ roll beardie, also (like Shannon) from Michigan, put together.

There’s only one thing to do with this record, and that’s play it again (and again, and again…..)

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