In 1968 � a year before she would release her biggest hit, "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" � DeShannon released the album Me About You, which included "Me About You," "I'm With You" and "Whatever Happened to Happy," all by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon (best known as the Turtles' songwriters), along with songs by Jimmy Webb, Van Dyke Parks, John Sebastian, Tim Harden, Holland-Dozier-Holland and Carol Bayer Sager/Toni Wine, as well as two of her own. Produced by Nitzsche with Joseph Russert under the auspices of Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin, the album demonstrates DeShannon's talent for both picking and writing songs. The single-CD Collectors' Choice reissue, which bundles Me About You with the 1970 album To Be Free, contains an unreleased song from the Me About You session � Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe."
To Be Free from 1970 (packaged together with Me About You on the reissue) showcases several DeShannon co-writes (the hit "Brighton Hill," "Livin' on the Easy Side," "Child of the Street" and five more, as well as "Bird on the Wire" by Leonard Cohen (whom she'd met and admired) and a medley of the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and Little Anthony & the Imperials' "Hurt So Bad." She had just come off the million-selling "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," and was a fixture on national TV. Imperial Records put a big push behind the album, and utilized the producers Sam Russell and Irvin Hunt, the team who'd worked on her mega-hit. She enlisted an all-star cadre of backing vocalists � Clydie King (Raeletts), Vanetta Field (Ikettes) and Randy Edelman, her future husband. DeShannon's songs on the album show a new complexity of lyrics while retaining the gift of commercial arrangements and clear melody. Some of the songs were inspired by her adopted home city, Los Angeles. "L.A. has always inspired me as a songwriter. Ideas for many of my songs come while driving my car. I just go where the feeling takes me and I've never questioned the muse."
The final Collectors' Choice reissue is 1975's New Arrangement, best known for the song "Bette Davis Eyes," which DeShannon wrote with frequent collaborator Donna Weiss. The original was very different from Kim Carnes' later No. 1 hit, as producer Michael Stewart took the tune � conceived as a rock song by DeShannon and Weiss � into swing territory. The title track refers not only to the musical arrangements of the '70s, but also to the "new arrangement" of a woman's husband having an affair with another man. DeShannon wrote or co-wrote ten out of 11 of the album's songs, with William Smith's "Dreaming As One" the sole cover. The album, originally on Columbia Records, contains three previously unreleased tracks: "Pure Natural Love," "Deep Into Paradise" and "Somebody Turn the Music On," as well as two singles appearing for the first time on album: "All Night Desire" and "Fire in the City."