Various Artists

Rare 60's Beat Treasures, Vol. 4

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The fourth volume of this seven-volume series of British Invasion rarities is, oddly, one of the hardest of the set to find -- not that any of the installments are exactly easy to hunt down. Like numerous other series devoted to micro-niches of popular music genres, it's around this point that it starts to serve diminishing returns, the cream of the crop having been dug up not just by previous volumes, but by other collector anthologies with a similar theme. Quite a few of these 26 tracks are typical mid-'60s British rock fare that are just too lacking in the songwriting department to make an imprint, and to some degree coming up short in the vocal and instrumental personality departments too. Plus the two best songs, the bizarre manic Joe Meek-produced version of "Singing the Blues" by Jason Eddie and the Accent's doom-laden psychedelic relic "Winds of Change" had long been available on other and better specialty British '60s rock anthologies. There are rarities by actual hitmakers the Nashville Teens and Unit Four Plus Two here, but they aren't very good; the same goes for tracks by some other artists whose names will be recognized by some British Invasion fans (the Pete Best Four, Wayne Gibson, and George Bean, the last of whom was famed for being the first artist to record a song by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards). Also here are the Strangers with Mike Shannon, noted for recording the most obscure version of a Lennon-McCartney song the Beatles never issued in the mid-'60s ("One and One Is Two"); the follow-up 45 ("Do You or Don't You") is here, and, well, it's not very good. It's something of an indictment of the quality of this anthology that the strongest cut, Hedgehoppers Anonymous' strange pop protest tune "Don't Push Me," is by one of the least hip acts.

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