Q 65

Nothing But Trouble: The Best of Q65

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While Holland had a potent beat music scene in the mid-'60s, very few Dutch acts had any luck on the charts outside their homeland, and though Q65 would have seemed like a good bet to achieve international success, they had to settle for being one of the biggest and best bands in their homeland. Q65 were often compared to the Pretty Things, and not without reason -- like the Pretties, Q65 started out playing tough, blues-influenced rock but their repertoire moved far beyond that by the end of the '60s, encompassing sneering garage rock, moody folk-rock and acid-enhanced psychedelia, and they had no trouble sounding like the wildest band in town no matter which path they took. Nothing But Trouble: The Best of Q65 1966-68 is an excellent single-disc sampler that collects 24 tracks from the group's tenure with European Decca Records (including two tunes recorded under the short-lived moniker Circus which suggest the band was dipping their toes into prog rock) and you could hardly ask for a better introduction to the group's golden era. Willem Bieler was one of the most convincing blues rock vocalists to emerge outside the U.S. or the U.K., and while it's said he learned his English-language vocals phonetically, the raunchy roar he could summon makes it clear he fully understood the meaning behind the tunes. Guitarists Frank Nuyens and Joop Roelofs could lay out a wall of killer fuzz or pure bluesy slide at will, and bassist Peter Vink and drummer Jay Baar made for an imaginative but hard-hitting rhythm section. While Q65 displayed more than a bit of the sort of creative shape-shifting their role models the Rolling Stones and the Pretty Things went through at the same time, this music sounds fierce and original throughout, and anyone with a taste for blues-influenced British rock of the period will be mighty impressed with this stuff. Nothing But Trouble isn't the definitive Q65 anthology -- 1993's The Complete Collection delivers their Decca catalog in full on two discs -- but as an introduction to this underappreciated group, you could hardly do better.

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