This one is a head-scratcher. British Invasion act Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas scored six singles-chart entries in the U.S. and in the U.K. between 1963 and 1965, albeit with a slightly different group of songs. Three recordings that scored on both sides of the Atlantic, however, were "Bad to Me" and "Little Children," both of which topped the British charts and made the American Top 10, and "I'll Keep You Satisfied," which made the Top 10 at home and the Top 40 stateside. None of these songs are included on this European "hits" album, even though the disc otherwise consists of recordings Kramer and the Dakotas made for EMI between 1963 and 1966. Poor liner notes author John Tobler is forced to tie himself into knots avoiding mention of the missing items. "A follow-up single again featuring two songs by Lennon and McCartney was an even bigger success," he says of the disc comprising "Bad to Me" and "I Call Your Name," released on the EMI label Parlophone in 1963 following the group's initial success with a version of the Beatles' "Do You Want to Know a Secret." That song is included, as is "I Call Your Name"; why not "Bad to Me"? "... [T]hey also scored a third Top 10 hit in 1963," Tobler goes on, referring to "I'll Keep You Satisfied," "and its B-side, "I Know," is included here." But why not the A-side? "1964 was equally successful for Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas," Tobler continues, "with two more Top 10 singles, the second of which was another song by Lennon and McCartney, "From a Window ..."" Yes, but the first was "Little Children," which hit number one and yet is not included or even named. What's going on here? One can only assume that, in some sort of legal glitch, certain crucial recordings were unavailable to Disky, which opted to go ahead with this release anyway. As a result of the omissions, there is room for more of the group's lesser known songs, including two instrumentals by the Dakotas alone, one of which, "The Cruel Sea," was actually a Top 20 hit in England, while the other, "Magic Carpet," was penned by Beatles producer George Martin. Still, this is a strange album.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann