Various Artists

Beat Us If You Can, Vol. 1: 18 Sixties Mod-R&B-Beat Winners from the UK!

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Eighteen rare mod/R&B/beat cuts from the 1960s are on this LP, most from the U.K. and a little more than half previously unavailable on any reissue compilation, though (despite what the title says) a couple are actually from Australia. Not a single one of these artists is well known with the exception of Heinz, though the Liverpool Five and the Beatstalkers might be reasonably familiar to hardcore British Invasion collectors. While this stuff is undeniably off the beaten track, truthfully most of it's on the forgettable and formulaic side. At least there's some variety within the framework, the selections ranging from innocuous Merseybeat to power-chording mod and borderline heavy psychedelia. And there are a few standouts here and there, the best by far being Force West's "Talkin' About Our Love," which could be the best early Hollies imitation bar none. The Liverpool Five's "Piccadilly Line" is fairly solid British Invasion soul-R&B; John Bryant's "Tell Me What You See" (from Australia) is reasonable, earnest, gritty folk-rock; Tony Ritchie's "Anyone at the Party Seen Jenny" is oddball bossa nova rock; the Beatstalkers' "You Better Get a Hold On" is fair Scottish soul-rock; and Heinz's "Movin' In" is actually superbly raunchy with phenomenal fiery guitar, though it's been reissued on numerous other Heinz-only anthologies. All this would make for a decent EP, but as a whole the LP's only for British Invasion specialists.