Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire & Beyond, 1964-1969
Here's everything you always wanted to know about the '60s but didn't know where to find -- part two. Like the original Nuggets compilations and eventual box set, which chronicled America's mid-'60s garage rock explosion, this 109-track set all but ignores chart hits -- with occasional digressions like the Easybeats' "Friday on my Mind," that is. Instead, the compilers of this box o' rocks dug deep to find buried rock treasure secreted all around the globe. That includes remarkable contributions from unfairly ignored British groundbreakers like the Creation (whose wild-eyed "How Does It Feel to Feel" and "Biff! Bang! Pow!" should be rock radio staples) and the Smoke (wry purveyors of the sneaky, lysergic message of "My Friend Jack"), as well as Brazilian psychedelicists (Os Mutantes) and Dutch guttersnipes (Q 65). While many of the names on this set are unrecognizable, the faces behind them are -- or went on to be -- anything but obscure. John's Children, represented here by the wildly undulating psychedelic suite "A Midsummer Night's Scene," were fronted by none other than future T. Rex leader Marc Bolan, while Merseybeat mavens the Birds (the source of a pair of tunes) counted latter-day Rolling Stone Ron Wood as part of their flock. In all honesty, however, you don't need to know the history of the Idle Race (an early vehicle for ELO's Jeff Lynne) to appreciate the swirling majesty of their "Imposters of Life's Magazine"), nor do you need a fact sheet to grasp the primal ferocity of the Downliners Sect's "Glendora." The expansive, 100-page booklet -- packed with photos, essays, and as many details about the era as you can possibly digest -- does provide some grounding, though.