This is an amazing CD from a group that was, until the 1990s, virtually completely unknown. The Phantoms were one of the more successful rock & roll bands to come out of the Netherlands in the early ti mid-'60s -- by the time they started recording in 1965, their sound was heavily influenced by that of the Beatles, but specifically by the harder side of that band's work, so there was always a strong R&B component to their music. Roughly speaking, to judge from the evidence of this 18-song CD -- which appends six bonus tracks (mostly from various singles) -- the Phantoms were to, say, the Q65 what the Beatles were to the Rolling Stones or the Animals. The playing is hard enough to qualify even the poppiest sides here as rock & roll, and the singing by Martien van Rooy sufficiently soulful so that he demands attention from the listener, even on the most familiar covers. And some of the unexpected material, such as the previously unanthologized B-side "A Well Respected Man," are pleasant surprises; and juxtaposing a cover of Dylan's "She Belongs to Me" with Bo Diddley's "Roadrunner" is a great way to end a collection like this. In all, this is a fine account -- missing only some annotation -- of the legacy of a band that would probably have been very worthwhile seeing on-stage.
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