Various Artists

Echoes from the Wilderness: Sixteen UK R&B Freakbeat Trippers

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Sixteen tracks from rare 1966-1967 U.K. singles, none of them hits or anything close to it, are collected on this anthology. "Freakbeat" might not be the most widely anthologized British '60s rock genre (or indeed widely known at all as a term to the general public), but there are a few freakbeat compilations, and this has to rate as one of the less essential, though it has some good music. While nothing here is lousy and virtually everything has the fusion of various ingredients of mod rock, British Invasion pop, soul, and early psychedelia that characterized freakbeat, there's little that's truly outstanding. Also, the best tracks -- Thane Russal's great Them-like "I Need You," and the Herd's fine, Who-ish 1966 mod rocker "This Boy's Always Been True" -- were previously available on other, superior reissues in the 1980s. There are a few other names here known to serious British rock collectors, like Alan Bown, the Untamed, and Jimmy Winston & His Reflections (led by the original Small Faces keyboardist). But the utter lack of annotation to the tracks other than year of original release is another factor that relegates this to the lower level of freakbeat anthologies.