Various Artists

Syde Tryps Six

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This volume of the ultra-specialized Syde Tryps series of British late-'60s obscurities focuses on rarities that fall toward the harder, beatier side of late-'60s U.K. harmony pop/rock, though not light or sunny enough to qualify as what American listeners in particular might think of as sunshine pop. Not only were none of these 15 tracks anything close to hits, but most of them were plucked from unreleased acetates; likewise, none of the groups became popular, although two members of the Flames (Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin) joined the Beach Boys for a while in the 1970s. Hats should sincerely go off to the Tenth Planet label for making obscenely rare '60s British music such as this available to collectors. But at the same time, it should be said that this isn't of such high quality that it demands a hearing by general '60s British pop-psych fans, or even by everyone who collects the style. The performances are actually rather remarkably tight, well arranged, and decently produced considering that a good number of them never saw the light of day (though the sound quality on some of the tracks is dull). Yet those outstanding songs or personality-laden traits that might make some of the material or artists stand out from a very crowded field are lacking, though it's all agreeable enough. Some cuts do stand out in this particular leveled field, however, like the Phoenix's "Live for the Sun," which is a little like the Beach Boys meet the Who; the two songs by the Name, which are extremely reminiscent of the 1967-era Hollies; and the Longboatmen's "Trouble and Tea," which borrows liberally from the Beatles' "Day Tripper."