Jimmy Donley might be most well known -- to those collectors who are familiar with him at all -- for the tracks he cut for Decca in the late '50s and early '60s, if only because that label was so much bigger than the others for which he recorded. The Decca material is represented well by Bear Family's The Shape You Left Me In compilation. This two-CD collection, however, focuses on his early-'60s recordings for the Tear Drop label. It includes not just the five singles issued by the company prior to his January 1963 suicide, but also ten more tracks the label put out between 1963 and 1966; about a couple dozen previously unreleased demos; yet a few more demos that came out on a 1999 CD; and a cut that appeared on a 1972 single. The early 45s (including a 1962 single issued under the name Kenny James) hold the most interest, Donley sounding rather like a white Fats Domino, an uncoincidental resemblance considering that some of Donley's material was covered by Fats. Donley's rich, bluesy, teary voice and the relaxed-yet-funky New Orleans-tinged arrangements (directed by a young Dr. John) produced some superior swamp pop on these sides, especially "Forever Lillie Mae." While it's not up to the very best of the genre, it's easy to see how some fans of the style might flip over it. The posthumous 1963-1966 singles were taken from demos, and while they're not as a whole up to the standard of the Tear Drop 45s that came out while Donley was alive (particularly as some were embellished by slightly awkward overdubs), they're basically OK to reasonably good. As for the many demos that fill out this collection, it's arguable as to whether they justify the size of a double CD, as the sound is pretty dry, usually featuring just Donley's voice and a piano or acoustic guitar. These do include Donley's version of "What a Price" (covered for a midsize 1961 hit by Fats Domino), some of the songs that appeared on his Tear Drop singles, and others that did not. Certainly they do help make this almost as comprehensive a summary of his post-Decca career as could be hoped for (though it doesn't have the four songs he recorded for Ace between his stints with Decca and Tear Drop). The thorough liner notes include reproductions of lyrics to ten Donley songs in his own handwriting, as well as annotator Tony Rounce's blunt assessment of the singer's character: "He was a poor excuse for a human being, if truth be told."