Various Artists
Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From the British Empire and Beyond 1964-1969
Rhino
2001
A

a sequel is never better than the original. Sure, there might be a couple exceptions (Godfather II, Empire Strikes Back, and...umm Evil Dead 2), but more often than not the rule stands. Add Nuggets II to the exceptions. It's an almost perfect collection, absolutely essential for anyone interested in sixties rock and music, in general. An amazing feat considering that most of these bands were either one hit wonders at best in the US, little known greats, or total obscurities. That’s right, no Beatles, no Stones, no Who and it’s still great.


While the first collection focused entirely on the US, Nuggets II wanders around the globe from the UK to Holland (Q’65), Sweden (Tages), Iceland (Thor’s Hammer), Czechoslovakia (The Matadors), Uruguay (Los Shakers), Brazil (Os Mutantes), Peru (We All Together), Australia (The Easybeats), and Japan (The Mops) uncovering obscure beat, psychedelic, and freakbeat classics along the way. As well as some not so obscure classics such as The Creation’s "Making Time", The Easybeats’ "Friday on My Mind", and Status Quo’s "Pictures of Matchstick Men".


There are too many highlights to mention in a single review, so I’ll just mention a few. The Move’s early Who meets Psychedelia "I Can Hear the Grass Grow", The Koobas’ freakbeat deconstruction of Cat Stevens’ "The First Cut is the Deepest", the Small Faces’ angelic "My Mind’s Eye", We All Together’s organ/fuzz bass fueled should have been classic "It’s A Sin to Go Away", Kaleidoscope’s near perfect "A Dream For Julie", The Eyes’ inspired Who rip off "I’m Rowed Out", Q’65’s explosive "Cry in the Night", and let’s not forget Dantalian’s Chariot’s "Madman Running Through the Fields"...I could go on forever.


The collection also gives you a chance to hear early efforts from such future stars as Van Morrison, Ron Wood (The Birds), Marc Bolan (John’s Children), Andy Summers of The Police (Dantalian’s Chariot), Jeff Lynne (The Idle Race), The Guess Who, Steve Howe and Tony Kaye from Yes (Tomorrow and Winston’s Fumbs) and the songwriting team of Lou Reed and John Cale (Downliners Sect’s "Why Don’t You Smile Now").


My only complaint with the collection is that occasionally they pick the right band, but the wrong song. For example: I would have included the Small Faces’ "Sha La La La Lee" instead of "Here Comes the Nice", The Outsiders’ "Prison Song" instead of "Touch", The Creation’s "Nightmares" instead of "Biff! Bang! Pow!". And I would have also figured out a way to include The Move’s "Night of Fear" and The Namelosers’ cover of "Land of 1,000 Dances." Anyway, I’m nitpicking, do yourself a favor and go out and buy this today.


Reviewed by: Matt Golden
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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