TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS – Live At The Bitter End, New York


If there’s a certain air of nostalgia about the ’60s, some of the artists from that era can blow it to pieces and rip it up on stage. And that’s exactly what the former SHONDELLS did with his new band in 1995 when he crossed the States to a city he loves dearly and played a one-night-only gig at one of the NYY’s premiere clubs.

The veteran builds an excitement and engagement with the soulful mid-tempo groove of “Draggin’ The Line” only to shed the glitz some minutes later with a calypso-tickled “Say I Am (What I Am)” that, for all its easy roll, pounds quite heavily. There’s a coherent flow from “Sugar On Sunday” into “Gettin’ Together”, both too sweet, yet prompting the punters to clap, which is all a fan and an artist alike need, and a non-stop emotional exchange is preserved so well on this swirl of a record. The more it spins, the higher one’s spirit kicks.

Here Mr. James and company obviously played out of pure passion and love…creating an unforgettable experience for everyone involved…hopefully one day Tommy will be recognised as one of the greatest pop singer/songwriters of all time…because he truly is.


Much of this album is of the easier going variety, but great songs are great songs and I have to say that this is a disc that not only do I enjoy, but one that my whole family from my daughters to my in-laws enjoy, showing that truly great song writing is timeless – a word that describes much of the songs and performances on this excellent live album.

Fireworks magazine

The good people as Angel Air have released a string of interesting Tommy James re-issues during the past few months, but this infectious live set is far and away the most appealing offering that they’ve been involved with to date.

Kevin Bryan (Hucknall Dispatch, Kidderminster Shuttle)

Threatening on paper to capture less of a career-defining moment and more like the sounds of barrels being scraped, it proves testimonial to a timeless tunesmith once Tommy James gets onstage…As rendered by the maturing man himself at NY’s intimate Bitter End, the ’60s pop standards and psychedelic cuts make the audience scream like schoolgirls despite the years, and make obvious what inspired so many later greats.


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…a superb double disc set that we recommend without reservation…Tommy James remains refreshingly genuine and totally real. TOP PICK (November 2010)

While retaining the original pop qualities you’d expect from Tommy it also has a harder side…The DVD has Tommy delivering a hit-packed set to a New York crowd…

The Beat (November 2010)

…The real treat…is the previously unavailable live show on DVD…Once again Angel Air Records have amazed me with another release that is o-so-close to being a top scorer…9/10 (November 2010)

…compared to a lot of the nonsense that is put out in the name of unadulterated pure pop fun, the power garage drive of James and his gang takes a hell of a lot of beating. (November 2010)

Tommy James’ voice and songwriting are captured well enough to realise that live this man will have the room eating out of his hand… (November 2010)

Anyone who might have written Tommy James off as a ’60s phenomenon should give a listen to just how well he brings the ’60s into the new millennium on the Hold The Fire album…Angel Air does the reissue/repackage thing among the best… (November 2010)

Whilst ‘Hold The Fire’ is a strong album, ‘Best Of – Live at The Bitter End’ is a different proposition altogether, with Tommy and his updated Shondells giving a fabulous performance of his greatest moments for a small, but hugely enthusiastic club audience.

Fireworks December 2010

Mixing a number of styles, the album has an overall ’80′s soft rock feel to it…

The accompanying live DVD features such hits from the band as ‘Mony Mony’, ‘Hanky Panky’, ‘Crimson Clover’ and ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’. There is also a discography, interviews and song commentary.

This is a nice package for fans of Tommy James & The Shondells and does prove the longevity of a good song. 4/5

Nikk Gunns, (December 2010)

All in all Live And On Fire is well put together package that delivers a more than decent bang for your buck … one cannot deny the fact that Tommy James And The Shondells made their mark back in the earlier days of rock ‘n roll by writing timeless songs that are still being heard to this day on various different radio formats all over the world. If you’re a fan of Tommy James and The Shondells then you’re going to want to pick this one up, and you’ll be happy to know that Angel Air has more re-releases of his scheduled for 2011. (January 2011)

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