Various Artists

Dutch Beat Explosion

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Within the extremely specialized world of 1960s garage collectors, Dutch beat from the mid-1960s is known as an especially fertile area of interesting, obscure rock from that era. Most Dutch beat reissues, however, concentrate on the party-line R&B-punkers, giving relatively light treatment to the poppier and folkier aspects of the genre. This 28-song anthology of rarities (rare certainly in the United States), as the liner notes declare, "was carefully find the best songs possible of melodic Dutch beat." What we hear is a decent, though by no means stunning, cross-section of Dutch rock from circa 1964-1966 that bears considerable influence from British Invasion pop-rockers, as well as lighter traces of folk-rock. There's just one band that might be familiar to the average rock listener: the Golden Earrings (later to become Golden Earring). They're represented by a song from their first LP. There are definite echoes of the Beatles, Hollies, and the Byrds, and fainter ones of British bands like the Kinks throughout. Yet just as the average garage compilation is distinctively inferior to and less varied than Rolling Stones albums, even as it obviously takes inspiration from them, so this one is more generic and less striking than the best British Invasion pop and folk-rock from the 1960s. Indeed, it is cuts below the best Dutch band of the period, the Outsiders. Still, the awkward sullenness that typifies much Dutch rock of the 1960s does come through often. There are some tracks that linger in the memory, like the Cavaliers' Byrds-Merseybeats blend "You Can Not Make Me Cry" and the Haigs' "Never Die," with its ascending key shifts and John Lennon-esque harmonica. The sound is very good, considering how scratchy many such rarity compilations from the '60s often are. This disc does not, by the way, have one of the supreme slices of melodic Dutch beat, Sound Magics' "Don't You Remember," which was reissued on the album The V-Lips Greatest Hits.