Various Artists

Hippy Hippy Shake: The Beat Era, Vol. 2

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    7
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This 23-song collection is a surprisingly strong body of mostly dance-oriented singles, principally by groups that didn't leave much more behind than what we hear here. The exceptions, such as the Roulettes ("Hully Gully Slip & Slide," "La Bamba"), Paddy, Klaus & Gibson ("I Tried"), and the Overlanders ("Michelle"), stand out from most of the rest. The Comanches' make a valiant effort at recreating the Merseybeat sound on "Tomorrow," the Hi-Fi's show some real charisma as vocalists on "I Keep Forgettin'," and Peter's Faces do well with "I Don't Care," all of them transcending relatively routine compositions through their respective styles, mostly rooted in American-style R&B. The later songs, circa 1966, show the subtle and growing influence of psychedelia ("I Go to Sleep" by the Truth) -- alas, most of the acts here were not equipped to be truly inventive in that or most of the other pop-/rock idioms presented here; they were perusing commercial success, rather than making artistic statements, as the presence of all of these cover versions (including one of "Let's Lock the Door and Throw Away the Key" would indicate). The mastering ranges from very good to excellent, but the packaging leaves something serious to be desired -- the printing is very poor, and also in a type-face font so small that the notes almost resemble the compact edition of the OED, and many purchasers will probably ignore them or go in search of a good magnifier.