As usual, it's not only the music but the packaging that distinguishes this compilation. The 109 tracks come in a glossy, laminated box, and the booklet, written by noted record collector Greg Shaw and producers Gary Stewart and Alec Palao, is packed with arcana befitting a collection featuring early David Bowie, Yes guitarist-to-be Steve Howe (in Tomorrow), and T. Rex's Marc Bolan (in John's Children). There are some tunes that made the charts back when the charts weren't so sliced and diced -- the Easybeats' inspired "Friday on My Mind" and the Status Quo's deliciously snarling "Pictures of Matchstick Men." But the underground far outweighs the commercial in this exuberantly packaged, well-annotated collection. It reminds us that the middle and late '60s were days of experimentation, when pop culture went global. Heavily influenced by the Beatles and the Stones (who, respectively, echo clearly in Sweden's Tages and Britain's Pretty Things), Nuggets II speaks of an era when anything went in music, as long as it had melody, harmony, and a rock and roll beat.
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