Various Artists

Northwest Battle of the Bands, Vol. 4

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By the time this fourth volume of 30 Northwest mid-'60s garage rock tracks (most very obscure, 17 previously unreleased) appeared, the suspicion was raised that the supply of such material might be never-ending. Quantity isn't synonymous with quality, however, and little of this would find a home on more selective garage comps that skimmed the cream off the cream. That's not to say that it's bad, just that it's extremely typical of the genre, with few outstanding songs and a good deal of semi-copycatting of bigger and better bands going on. There's some hangover from the "Louie Louie"/Kingsmen-style R&B-heavy rock that dominated the region just before the British Invasion, but there's also a fair amount of British Invasion and folk-rock influences, albeit usually translated through a raw filter. What might be worthy of your attention if, for example, you're whittling down a humongous '60s garage library to more selective home tapes and CDRs? Well, Don & the Goodtimes -- along with the Sonics, the only reasonably well-known group on the CD -- come off well on their single "You Did It Before" (which is like Paul Revere & the Raiders crossed with the Dave Clark Five) and the previously unissued home demo "Stop Telling Lies," which is superior folk-rock-garage with some unexpected key changes and Byrdsy descending guitar licks. The Dynastys' "Forever & a Day" is a decent mixture of British Invasion and folk-rock, and the Sonics' "I'm Going Home" is one of their better pounders, though it's hard to believe anyone who's interested enough in Northwest '60s garage to buy a comp like this doesn't already have that track somewhere else in their collection. As for the most (relatively) well-known other acts, the New Yorkers later evolved into the Hudson Brothers, and Merrilee & the Turnabouts were fronted by organist Merrilee Rush, though she actually doesn't sing lead on the 1966 outtake included here ("Would I").

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