Various Artists

Diggin' for Gold, Vol. 4

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The fourth volume in a series that collects rare 45s from mostly forgotten 1960s garage and punk bands from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand (this installment also includes two tracks from South African bands), Diggin' for Gold, Vol. 4 is a collector's delight. Most of these bands never had more than a regional hit, if that, and while there is a lot of energy, intent, and purpose on display here, it's pretty easy to see why few of these sides ever penetrated too far into the international pop world. Full of chaotic, messy arrangements and production, these were records of the moment, and collected like this, they carry a kind of retrospective weight of importance that would probably startle anyone in the original bands. Highlights this time around include "Miss Hargraves" from Australia's Richard Wright Group, the Last Straws' (also from Australia) Kinks-like "A Woman of Gradual Decline," the rhythmically interesting "Yeh Girl" from South Africa's Shangaans, and the U.K.'s Kingbees, who do an attitude-laden version of Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee," complete with a passable approximation of that ragged Excello Records sound.

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