Don & the Goodtimes

The Original Northwest Sound of Don & the Goodtimes

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Although Don & the Goodtimes continued to record until 1968 or so, this 25-song anthology focuses exclusively on what most fans would agree was their prime era, 1964-1966. The group might be remembered fondly, particularly in their native Northwest, but on the basis of what's here they were really an average, unmemorable band. For much of these early recordings, they played the generic grinding, heavily R&B-influenced frat rock that was very typical of Northwest bands in the early to mid-'60s, such as the Kingsmen, the Wailers, the Sonics, and Paul Revere & the Raiders. It's played with commendable energy but little originality, and it doesn't help that a good number of the songs are much-covered tunes that showed up in the repertoire of many groups from the time, especially in the Northwest: "Louie, Louie" (a five-minute version), "High Heel Sneakers," "Money," and "Little Latin Lupe Lu." "Little Sally Tease," a regional Northwest hit penned by future Raider Jim "Harpo" Valley, is about the best of those tracks in that style, adding a little more contemporary garage raunch to the elementary riff-based approach. About half-a-dozen of the later tracks (most of them originals from Ron "Buzz" Overman) show them moving into a more California pop/rock-aligned sound. These display a greater range and certainly a Paul Revere & the Raiders influence in two of the better tracks ("You Were Just a Child" and "You Did It Before"), yet remain rather anonymously competent. The good-time "I Could Be So Good to You," their sole (and moderate) national hit, closes out the collection, which is well-annotated but could have used some notes in the track listings detailing the original release dates of each song.

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