The Tages

Don't Turn Your Back

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Tages were not only the best Swedish band of the 1960s, they were also a prolific one. Don't Turn Your Back: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1, 1964-1966 is but the first of three volumes surveying their output, and it's certainly a comprehensive series, this CD containing 27 songs they cut in the mid-'60s. As it often goes with bands who are quite invigorating when distilled to one or two best-of compilations, however, the impact is somewhat diluted when hearing all of their work in the order in which it was recorded. In the case of Tages in particular, the disparity between their best and worst work is a little maddening. At their best, they played British Invasion-styled mod rock almost as well as the very best British bands of the time. Much of the time, however, they were an ordinary or even mediocre group, offering rather wimpy folk-Merseyish originals or inconsequential covers of American rock & roll and R&B classics. Such covers occupy much of the space on this disc, as do some mild originals à la their first single, "Sleep Little Girl," heard here in both its single and LP versions. Yet some of the cuts here are terrific, especially the vicious "I'm the One for You" and "The Man You'll Be Looking For," the latter of which was their best track, even if it was virtually thrown away via its use on a flexidisc. And while the covers are unimpressive on the whole, even some of those are very good, like their punky take on John Lee Hooker's "Dimples" and the confident rocked-up Motown of "I'll Be Doggone." Collectors of '60s European rock will appreciate the well-packaged completism of this collection, but others are advised to find more selective anthologies.

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