Various Artists

Beat from Holland, Vol. 2

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Along with most of the free world, the mid- to late '60s were a fertile time for garage rock, beat music, and pyschedelia in Holland. Beat From Holland, Vol. 2 collects 18 prime cuts from this era. The disc kicks off with tracks by the two foremost practitioners of Dutch garage rock, the Outsiders and Q 65. The Outsiders track is one of their last singles, "You Remind Me," and the catchy melody and exciting performance are sure to remind you why the band is so great. The Q 65 track, "Cry in the Night," is the group's best, a snarling garage stomper with nasty guitar breaks and sneering vocals. The rest of the disc is a bit of a let down, like going to see the San Francisco Giants and they pull Barry Bonds out after the first inning. There are still quite a few worthwhile tracks: the beat stomper "Take Her Home" by the Ro-D-Ys is a great tune with big shiny hook; "Come Closer" by the Outsiders' Wally Tax is a strange and wonderful Drifters-influenced ballad with mariachi horns and MOR strings; "Cry Me a River" by Hu & the Hilltops turns the Julie London weeper into a beat ballad with some helium-filled vocal harmonies; "Margio" by Rob Hoeke is a thumping punk blues that is somehow reminiscent of the Velvet Underground (at least until the harp solo kicks in); and "Freedom" by the Motions is a groovy flower-power anthem with great harmonies and some chirping Stevie Wonder-style harmonica. The songs that don't quite stack up include After Tea's boring prog-psych "A Little Bit Today (A Little Bit Tomorrow)," HET's tepid "Keije Nagaan," and the Bintangs' decent boogie "Travellin' in the U.S.A.," which is sunk by a crummy flute solo. It is a bit of a disappointment that the compilers of the disc didn't include some flat-out rockers that the Dutch scene is famous among '60s punk collectors for. The Outsiders in particular recorded some of the most insane rockers this side of Little Richard. Still, Beat From Holland, Vol. 2 is a solid and entertaining sampler that international garage and beat fans will like but perhaps not find essential.

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