EMI Plus' budget-priced The Story series presents straightforward, no-frills compilations of major rock artists with catalogs in the EMI vaults, accompanied by CD-Rs containing brief biographical information (in English, Dutch, French, and Spanish), discographies consisting of album titles and dates of release, and a photo gallery. The Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas volume contains a chronological selection of the group's singles from the mid-'60s. All of their U.S. and U.K. chart entries are included, among them such hits as "Do You Want to Know a Secret," "Bad to Me," "I'll Keep You Satisfied," and "From a Window" (all written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney), as well as "Little Children" and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Trains and Boats and Planes" (its title misspelled on the cover). Lennon and McCartney also contribute "I'll Be on My Way" and "I Call Your Name," and the set is filled out by two instrumentals performed by the Dakotas without Kramer, one of them, "The Cruel Sea," was a U.K. Top 20 hit, and some failed singles from late in the group's relatively short career. After 19 tracks that date from 1963 to 1966, the final song has a 1983 copyright date; it's a Kramer solo single called "You Can't Live on Memories" (here mistitled "You Can Live on Memories") on which the singer reflects back on his earlier career (chorus: "That was all in my past/You can't live on memories/They don't last"), an appropriate closer to the collection.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann