Be Stoned! Dig: Zipps


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Be Stoned! Dig: Zipps Review

by Richie Unterberger

Though the Zipps didn't release many records, their scant official discography -- all of nine tracks -- is contained on this reissue, which is boosted to a running time of more than an hour with the addition of some demos, previously unreleased live recordings, a couple previously unissued stereo versions, a couple cuts on which they backed French singer Philippe Salerne, and an interview. While the cocky beat-punk rebellion of their most famous single, "Kicks and Chicks," has a deserved reputation among '60s Eurobeat collectors (and a place on the Nuggets, Vol. 2 box set), it's not entirely typical of the group's recorded repertoire. Their previous single, "Highway Gambler"/"Roll the Cotton Down," has a more pronounced folk-blues influence, albeit with a similar punkiness. As more of a contrast, their two-part epic "Beat & Poetry" seems like a stream of consciousness narrative, much of whose artistry will be lost on international listeners as much of it's related in Dutch. Things take a more Baroque psychedelic direction on "Marie Juana," with risqué (if quite ambivalent) lyrics about marijuana -- the group, interestingly, tells the evil weed to go back to where it belongs, rejecting it in favor of music. This and other late-period songs like "The Struggle for Ice-Cold Milk of Benzi the Bassplayer" or "How to Promote Original Dutch Milk" indicate these guys might have had a surreal sense of humor that doesn't wholly translate well decades down the line, especially as they have heavier Dutch accents than the average '60s group from Holland. All of this might be a longwinded way of saying that this isn't such a fine or consistent listen, and that there isn't anything else here as memorable as "Kicks and Chicks." But it's OK if you go for this sort of rebellious attitude-heavy Eurobeat thing, and if you do like "Kicks and Chicks" prepare yourself for three versions (the original, the previously unreleased stereo variation, and a live recording).

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