Tommy James & The Shondells – Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky

Artist: Tommy James & The Shondells
Title: Hanky Panky
Released: 1966
Label: Roulette
Format: Vinyl
Musicians: Tommy James-vocals, Joseph Kessler-Guitar, George Magura-Bass, Piano, Tenor Sax, Vibraphone, Vincent Pietropaoli-Clarinet, Drums, Sax, Ron Rosman-Oragn, Piano, Mike Vale-Bass
Producer: Bob Mack

Tommy Jame & The Shondells is an American Rock band that rose to prominence in the 1960s.
From Wikipedia: The band formed in 1959 in Niles, Michigan, first as the Echoes, then under the name Tom and the Tornadoes, with Tommy James (then known as Tommy Jackson), then only 12, as lead singer. In 1964 James renamed the band the Shondells because the name “sounded good.” At this time, the Shondells were composed of Tommy James (vocals and guitar), Larry Coverdale (lead guitar), Larry Wright (bass), Craig Villeneuve (keyboards) and Jim Payne (drums). In February 1964 the band recorded the Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich song “Hanky Panky” (originally a B-side by the Raindrops). Released by a local label, Snap Records, James’s version sold respectably in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, but Snap Records had no national distribution. The Shondells disbanded in 1965 after graduating from high school.
After first considering taking a job outside of music, James decided to form a new band, the Koachmen, with Shondells guitarist Larry Coverdale and members of a rival group called the Spinners (not the hit-making group from Detroit). The Koachmen played a Midwestern circuit of clubs through the summer and fall of 1965 but returned to Niles in February 1966.
Meanwhile in 1965, Pittsburgh dance promoter Bob Mack unearthed the forgotten single “Hanky Panky”, playing it at various dance parties, while radio stations there touted it as an “exclusive”. Listener response encouraged regular play, and demand soared. Bootleggers responded by printing up 80,000 black market copies of the recording, which were sold in Pennsylvania stores.
James first learned of all this activity in April 1966 after getting a telephone call from Pittsburgh disc jockey “Mad Mike” Metro to come and perform the song. James attempted to contact his fellow Shondells, but they had all moved away, joined the service or gotten married and left the music business altogether.
In April 1966, James went by himself to make promotional appearances for the Pittsburgh radio station in nightclubs and on local television. James recruited a quintet from Latrobe, Pennsylvania at the Thunderbird Lounge in Greensburg called The Raconteurs – composed of Joe Kessler (guitar), Ron Rosman (keyboards), George Magura (saxophone), Mike Vale (bass), and Vinnie Pietropaoli (drums) – to become the new Shondells.
You can read more here:
There is even an offical website:

Sadly, the whole LP is recorded kind of poorly. I don’t who the engineers were or anything, but a better job could have been done. For what it’s worth though, it is raw rock and roll and still fun.

Four of the tracks on this LP are original and the band did all their own arranging.
Track 2 on side 1- “I’ll Go Crazy” is a somewhat sophisticated message for this album and the time. Side 2 track 2 – “Cleo’s Mood” is an instrumental with a good groove. One interesting note is the last song on side 2 – “Lot’s of pretty girls” sounds very similar in structure to “Louie Louie”

Sound = 5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars

“Hey all you crazy kid rock n’ rollers, here’s Tommy James & The Shondells with “Hanky Panky”!
(No, this is not my turntable and record):

Here’s a live version from 2014, believe it or not: