Various Artists

The Best of Strike Records

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The Strike label, and its Go subsidiary, were one of the few pure indie rock and pop labels operating in England in the mid-1960s, issuing about three dozen singles in 1966 and 1967. Putting out a real grab bag of British Invasion groups, girl-group singers, soul vocalists, and even some folk-rock, psychedelia, and instrumental pop, the label only got one British hit, Neil Christian's "That's Nice" (included here). This CD contains a couple dozen of their more noteworthy tracks, among them a couple of previously unissued items, and some cuts that actually appeared on other labels, but were done by the label's production company, Millwick Productions. While the anthology doesn't project a consistent style, it's more musically satisfying than the usual retrospective of a label chiefly noted for its obscurity. "I'll Give You Love," by Millwick A&R producer Miki Dallon, is gloriously tough R&B-flavored British Invasion stomp in the mold of the Sorrows (who covered several Dallon songs, though not this one). There's also the original version of the Dallon-penned Sorrows hit "Take a Heart," by Boys Blue; a pretty good, uncharacteristic Zombies-folk-rock blend on the rare debut single by Roy Harper (from March 1966), the most noted artist on the set; respectable American girl groupish pop from Jacki Bond; soul singer J.J. Jackson's "Come See Me," the same song that was done on a Pretty Things single around the same time; the Deputies' "Given Half a Chance," which sounds much like the Dave Clark Five; and straight '60s soul by Carl Douglas, the same guy who did "Kung Fu Fighting" in the '70s. This anthology is decisively superior to the usual such roundup of British Invasion non-hits, and worth digging into, though some of the tracks are only average.

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