Le Beat Bespoké, Volume 5
Circle Records UK
16 tracks on the LP, 20 tracks on the CD (this review is of the CD version)
Each 60’s reissue compilation series (or any compilation or any curated art event) necessarily reflects the taste and the collection of its curator. The LE BEAT BESPOKE series, curated by Rob Thomas (aka ace 6T’s club DJ “Dr. Robert”), reflects excellent and diverse taste in late 60’s world-beat, with a psych flavor and usually with a dance-able beat (he’s a club DJ, after all). With the sputtering out of the Piccadilly Sunshine series (the volumes since 7 have been spotty), Le Beat Bespoke may well among the strongest ongoing series of its type. Thomas is not afraid to mix obscure US local singles with European singles few outside the home country have heard (a number of Belgian tracks here, all fine) with the one-off track from South Africa or Canada or Australia or the UK expatriate recording in another country. The end result is an eclectic mix that’s always fresh and full of surprises, that reflects the many ways the international psychedelic and beat movements infected and energized every pocket of the under-25 population everywhere, and most importantly, the album is chock full of tracks we’ve never heard before, for the most part…and the BEAT orientation of the material makes the collection totally infectious, but in a trippy way. Yes, 4 or 5 tracks have horns, so if that kills the deal for you, so be it. Give your unwanted copy to me and I’ll give it to a friend.
Some purists have balked at this series—-it’s not solid garage, it’s not solid psych, they say—-and no, it isn’t, because that’s not what it’s trying to do. It’s trying to be the ultimate late 60’s psychedelic discotheque club set—and at that, it is wildly successful.
In many ways it resembles the comps coming out of Spain, although with less of a soul-rock and horn-rock orientation. But it has the open-ears one finds of European comps, where all kinds of variations on the psych-beat formula sit comfortably next to each other, and where the album gets deeper with each play.
That’s what you’ve got here. And since the recordings are usually from places off the beaten path, the mix of elements is a bit off-putting sometimes, but that’s why I’ve played the earlier volumes of this series many times, probably 50+ times each. And you know what? This may be the strongest volume so far in the series, and THAT is saying something.
Every track rocks, there’s nothing fey or twee or pretentious, and every band has a unique sound, a unique mix of elements—there are no clones of any particular band here. For me, who has most every compilation of obscure 60’s material going back to the early days of compilations in the late 70’s, I’d rate this one VERY high. But again, it’s a diverse mix. I can assure you this will be on repeat at my home, and when I travel to Houston or Dallas or whatever, this will be blasting in the car at 2 a.m. on the highway, keeping me awake and fueling my spirit.
I’d heard of Gary Scruggs and Dickie Loader, but I’ll confess most of the other bands are either unknown to me or footnotes where I’ve maybe heard one other record by them…s0 I’m not going to pretend to be knowledgeable about these obscure Belgian bands or whatever. Just get the album if you are into late 60’s comps. And I cannot wait for Volume 6, gentlemen/ladies at New Untouchables.
1. Make Love – Grabbeltons
2. Little Tin Soldier – Billy Joe Young & the Jades
3. Silly Baby – Fun Of It
4. That’s the way life goes – The Deep Set
5. A Better Mind – Maximus
6. Sunset Show – Sense Of Humour
7. Giny – The Hush
8. Ahora Ella Se Fue (Now She’s Gone) – Los Delphines
9. Turn Out The Lights – Sands of Time
10. Gingerbread Man – Dickie Loader
11. Girl – Simon De Sade
12. Automatic Fly – Early Christian
13. Gentle When You Say The Word – Gary Scruggs
14. I’d Like to Know – Tobias
15. One Fine Morning – James Curtis
16. Y’mouille A Sciaux – La Revolution Francaise
17. The Only Thing- Vince Brittan Jnr
18. Come C’mon – Satin Bells
19. I’m Still A Child – Joy & The Hot Kids
20. Loving You Sometimes – The Outcasts