Various Artists

Electric Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers Vol. 2

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It's another bucketful of vintage raga-rock for the second volume of this series, whose 20 tracks largely emanated from the U.S. and Britain, though there are scattered entries from Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and Turkey, too. As it was for the first whirlaround, it's an erratic mixture that runs the gamut from the genuinely delightful to the dispensable. For every first-rate sitar-decorated rock nugget here -- Merrell Fankhauser & H.M.S. Bounty's "Visit With Ashiya" (one of the best Donovan-like tracks ever), Mandrake Memorial's seductive "Dark Lady," and the Chocolate Watchband's "Living in the Past" -- you get annoying, bandwagon-jumping drones more likely to evoke visions of restaurant curries than mystic vistas. There are a bunch of names that have varyingly fervid reputations in some collector circles, like Meic Stevens, the Paper Garden, and Elmer Gantry & the Velvet Opera. And even if some of their attempts at Indian-rock fusion weren't so bad, overall there's enough twangy mediocrity to push one to the verge of a headache after an hour or so. Bobby Callender's "Sade Masoch" is one of those period pieces so embarrassingly worded that you're apt to hear it played by specialist radio programmers looking to take the micky out of the whole psychedelic genre.

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