Les Baroques

Such a Cad: The Complete Story of Les Baroques

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This two-CD set, which is all but impossible to find outside of Holland, includes every track Les Baroques ever released, with the exception of their final B-side, 1968's "Pardon Me, I Think I'm Falling in Love." It should stand as the definitive record of one of Holland's best 1960s bands, but is marred by some imperfections. First, there's no getting around the fact that the material comprising disc two -- all recorded after the departure of original lead singer Gary O'Shannon -- is far inferior to the first half of the set. Second, there are no liner notes whatsoever (in Dutch or English), although at least there's a discography and a listing of the personnel in the three lineups the band went through between 1965 and 1968. In addition, some of the mixes are different from those heard on vinyl releases, and not necessarily better; the Them-like "She's Mine," their finest song, is missing the horns for some reason, for instance. Nonetheless, disc one, covering the era in which O'Shannon was lead singer and principal songwriter, is a standout in the annals of Continental 1960s rock, with its twisted, somber variations of the organ-R&B-pop sound of Them and the Animals. Other than the singles "Working on a Tsing-Tsang" and "Bottle Party," disc two could be the work of a different band, as Les Baroques plod through mediocre blue-eyed soul, pleasantly unmemorable flower-power tunes, and sub-British pop/rock variations.