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Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Various Artists
The British Beat:
The Best of the 60s

The early so-called British Invasion of high-charting songs that began to fill up the airwaves in the US were wonderful songs that many of us old enough to remember them as they spilled, note by note, from radios, will know.  Many of them were Top Ten hits with the bands who played them moving on to multiple hits as well as prolonged success in the US market.  With songs like “Wild Thing” by The Troggs, “Carrie-Anne” by the Hollies, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” by Manfred Mann, and “For Your Love” by The Yardbirds, there was plenty of style to meet every taste.

Even more important was the fact that some of these bands were breeding ground zero for such loved and influential bands like Led Zeppelin/Cream/Blind Faith/Jeff Beck Group/Eric Clapton/Jimmy Page (Yardbirds – talk about greatness), Crosby, Stills, & Nash (Hollies), Faces (Small Faces, which, as they became Faces, eventually gave rise to Rod Stewart as a solo act, and Ron Wood’s natural absorption into the Rolling Stones).

Tied into the continuing live performance series of My Music - PBS genre specials - this 3CD Box set from Shout! Factory represents The British Beat PBS special (aired in early March)  This 3CD Box contains 57 songs from 38 performers that include classics like Dusty Springfield (“Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “I Only Want to Be With You,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “The Look of Love”), Spencer Davis Group (“I’m a Man,” “Gimme Some Lovin’”), The Hollies (“Carrie-Anne,” “Bus Stop”), Small Faces (“Itchycoo Park”), The Kinks (“You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the Night”), Petula Clark (“Downtown,” “I Know a Place”), Donovan (“Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Catch the Wind”), The Zombies (“She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” “Time of the Season”) and others.

This collection is packaged in a Digi-Book format with liner notes from Bill Dahl, a noted,  Illinois-based rock critic who has written a ton of liner notes and was nominated for a Grammy (Album Notes Category – yes, there is one).  There are plenty of photographs to go along with this set.  However, the real winner is the remastering of the songs; they sound great.

There’s a lot of history compiled into this set, an awful lot.  A little research will uncover some of that for you.  Example:  The Zombies’ Rod Argent went on to start a band bearing his last name (Argent) and produced two big hits in “Hold Your Head Up,” and “God Gave Rock and Roll to You.”  Robin Trower, affiliated with Procol Harum (he did not play on “A Whiter Shade of Pale” found in this set but was involved for the largest part of the band years), eventually led to his formation of the popular Robin Trower Band.  And of course, the unfathomable reach of The Yardbirds mentioned earlier cannot be ignored.  Not only is there history, but there are great songs here, simple and pure.  This collector set, The British Beat: Best of the 60s bundles a nice slice of the era, an era that will have you wrapped tightly in a nostalgic blanket.

Release Date: March 27, 2007
Produced by: Richard Foos, Garson Foos, TJ Lubinsky
Format: CD

Track Listing:

CD 1 - Wild Thing (Troggs) / Hippy Hippy Shake (Swinging Blue Jeans) / Black Is Black (Los Bravos) / It's Not Unusual (Tom Jones) / I Only Want to Be With You (Dusty Springfield) / You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (The Silkie) / The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore) (The Walker Brothers) / A Groovy Kind of Love (The Mindbenders) / Bad to Me (Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas) / Game of Love (Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders) / Concrete and Clay (Unit 4+2) / Wishin' and Hopin' (Dusty Springfield) / You've Got Your Troubles (The Fortunes) / A Summer Song (Chad & Jeremy) / Love Is All Around (The Troggs) / I'll Never Find Another You (The Seekers) / Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying (Gerry and The Pacemakers) / The Look of Love (Dusty Springfield) / Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues)

CD 2 - You Really Got Me (The Kinks) / She's Not There (The Zombies) / Gimme Some Lovin' (Spencer Davis Group) / Do Wah Diddy Diddy (Manfred Mann) / Mellow Yellow (Donovan) / Baby, Now That I Found You (The Foundations) Tell Her No (The Zombies) / Sunshine Superman (Donovan) / All Day and All of the Night (The Kinks) / Friday on my Mind (The Easybeats) / Needles and Pins (The Searchers) / How Do You Do It? (Gerry and The Pacemakers) / Love Potion Number Nine (The Searchers) / A World Without Love (Peter & Gordon) / Carrie-Anne (The Hollies) / Telstar (The Tornados) / You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (Dusty Springfield) / Everyone's Gone to the Moon (Jonathan King) / Catch the Wind (Donovan)

CD 3 - Time of the Season (The Zombies) /For Your Love (The Yardbirds) / Here Comes My Baby (The Tremeloes) / A White Shade of Pale (Procol Harun) / Bus Stop (The Hollies) / I'm a Man (Spencer Davis Group) / Build Me Up Buttercup (The Foundations) / Downtown (Petula Clark) / Georgy Girl (The Seekers) / What's New Pussycat (Tom Jones) / Silence is Golden (The Tremeloes) / Ferry Cross the Mersey (Gerry & The Pacemakers) / I Know a Place (Petula Clark) / To Sir With Love (Lulu) / Itchycoo Park (Small Faces) / Winchester Cathedral (The New Vaudeville Band) / (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me (Sandie Shaw) / Make It Easy on Yourself (The Walker Brothers) / Woman (Peter & Gordon).

Various Artists:

See track listings.

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