Don Shinn (born December 15, 1945) is an English keyboardist and composer who played in the ’60s beat groups The Soul Agents and The MeddyEvils. In 1969, he released the soul-jazz solo albums Temples With Prophets and Departures.
In 1970, he co-founded Dada, a brass-rock-soul big band with singers Paul Korda and Elkie Brooks. After their one album, Robert Palmer replaced Korda and a Shinn-less lineup morphed into Vinegar Joe. Shinn then formed Iguana, which cut one album (after he left) and became Jess Roden‘s backing band.
He was born Donald John Walsh in London and adopted at an early age by the Shinn family of Southampton. As a child, he took up piano. At 16, he joined the military and played clarinet in the Army band.
Upon discharge, he purchased a Bird Duplex organ and joined Hampshire beatsters The Lonely Ones. They signed to Pye as The Soul Agents and issued three 1964/65 singles, produced by Tony Hatch. Concurrently, they backed singer Rod Stewart on the London club circuit.
In 1966, they reassembled as Don Shinn & the Soul Agents, a quartet with singer Pete Hunt and the rhythm section of Dave Glover and Roger Pope (both later of Hookfoot). Their one single, “A-Minor Explosion” (b/w “Pits of Darkness”), appeared on Polydor. Shinn, who switched to Hammond organ, composed both sides. He also recorded with The MeddyEvils, which issued two 1965/66 Pye singles.
In early 1967, he formed a group called Shinn with bassist Paul Newton (later of Uriah Heep) and drummer Brian Davison. They split months later with no recordings when Davison joined The Nice (whose keyboardist, Keith Emerson, took performance cues from Shinn). Later that year, Shinn joined The Echoes, which backed singer Dusty Springfield.
In 1968, Shinn played organ, harpsichord, and electric piano on the self-titled debut album by American songwriter James Taylor.
- Temples With Prophets (1969)
- Departures (1969)
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