Various Artists

Rare 60's Beat Treasures, Vol. 2

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Like the first volume of this series, this collection of British Invasion rarities is all over the place stylistically, and also very erratic in worth, from obscure classics to piddling trifles. There's only one group name here, the Moody Blues, included for a specifically good reason: "People Gotta Go" is the only recording by the original Denny Laine-led lineup not to appear on the Magnificent Moodies compilation. This Denny Laine-Mike Pinder original is an acceptable, but not stunning, soul-pop tune whose bridge has the sad, haunting harmonies and progressions typical of early Moodies tracks. There's also the Craig's "I Must Be Mad," -- a terrific, wild-eyed freakbeat cut that is one of the best lost British singles from the '60s, but it's long been available on other compilations of this nature. Otherwise, this compilation varies from basic R&B pounders to poppier, more Mersey-ish outings by no-names like the Beat Merchants, the Thyrds, and the Blackwells. These are okay if you're a British Beat specialist, but unmemorable overall. Also, as is sometimes the case on these kinds of anthologies, there are too many indifferent covers of well-known American hits (not to mention versions of the Beatles' "Drive My Car" and the Stones' "Under My Thumb"). Other points of interest that might attract British Invasion nuts include the Mike Cotton Sound's "I Don't Wanna Know," a rather driving, catchy tune in a Dave Clark-meets-the-Animals sort of way; the Marauders' "That's What I Want," an obscure composition by hit-making songwriters John Carter and Ken Lewis; and Johnny Deen's cover of "Shotgun," which offers what sounds like session guitarist Jimmy Page curling notes.

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