Various Artists

Living in the Past: 19 Forgotten Nederbiet Gems '64-'67

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"Forgotten" is a suitable adjective for these mid-'60s Dutch rock rarities, which actually were little heard in the first place, and virtually never heard beyond the boundaries of the Netherlands. Even if you're among the small circle of international cognoscenti who are aware of and collect this stuff, however, you might well find most or all of these performers totally unfamiliar. There are no Outsiders or Q65 here to provide even a whiff of name recognition; when Short '66 and Sandy Coast are about the most widely exposed artists to the global collecting community, you know it's mining the depths. Was it worth excavating? Yes, even if none of the tracks are so outstanding that they would demand inclusion on, say, a follow-up to the Nuggets, Vol. 2 box set of '60s non-U.S. garage/beat/psych. It's derivative, for sure, and particularly strongly influenced by the more harmony-oriented British Invasion bands, such as the Beatles, Searchers, Kinks, and Hollies (though you could have just as easily assembled a Dutch mid-'60s set strongly influenced by the Rolling Stones and Pretty Things if you were so inclined). While some of these just clunk along with serviceable energy (and the Twilight Kids' "A Wondering Man" borrows too liberally from the Searchers' "Don't Throw Your Love Away"), there are some pretty good Merseybeat and Kinks-ish rockers here, like the Crazy Rockers' "I Feel Alright," Short '66's "I Don't Know Why," the Cavaliers' "It's Done," Midnatt Fyran's "When You're Lonesome," the Maskers' "Living in the Past," and the Interpreters' "The Only Man for You" (whose choppiness is particularly reminiscent of the Kinks). Insertions of sweet minor/major chord progressions and good full vocal harmonies really do help distinguish this from the more clich├ęd sounds of many more R&B-influenced groups, without much or any loss of force. There are just a couple of covers of well-known foreign songs here, but they are surprisingly good, with Johnny Kendall & the Heralds (on the Beau Brummels' "You Tell Me Why") and Sandy Coast (on a previously unreleased version of the Byrds' arrangement of "We'll Meet Again") adding a nice roughness, though without matching the quality of the originals. The 12-page booklet provides much background information on these little-documented bands and recordings.