From the Vault...


Shocking Blue
"20 Greatest Hits"

© Repertoire Records

Year of Release: 1990

track listing
  • Venus
  • Mighty Joe
  • Never Marry A
    Railroad Man
  • Hello Darkness
  • Shocking You
  • Blossom Lady
  • Ink Pot
  • Rock In The Sea
  • Send Me A Postcard
  • Long And Lonesome Road
  • Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
  • Oh Lord
  • This America
  • Good Times
  • Gonna Sing Me A Song
  • Love Is In The Air
  • Lucy Brown Is
    Back In Town
  • Eve And The Apple
  • Let Me Carry Your Bag
  • Dream On Dreamer

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    Shocking Blue
    "20 Greatest Hits"

    Many may think of Shocking Blue as a "one-hit wonder" with their #1 hit "Venus" from 1970. The song would return in 1981 as part of a "Stars On 45" medley. The group Bananamara would remake the tune in 1986. Like Shocking Blue's version, all three hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Never mind how this song became a staple in the 1970s decade of music, after listening to the Shocking Blue's 20 Greatest Hits, I was amazingly impressed in how this band did not become popular in the U.S. as they did in the Netherlands.

    Shocking Blue consisted of Mariska Veres (lead vocal), Robbie Van Leeuwen (guitar, sitar), Klaasje Van Der Wal (bass), Cornelis Van Der Beek (drums). Mariska Veres was the lead singer, and her voice was well remembered on "Venus." Although known best for only one song, they released 11 albums, from 1968 to 1974. 20 tracks from these albums are on this Greatest Hits, and as mentioned, this band probably never achieved as much recognition as they should have.

    At first, I would think that many of their songs would be in the same style vein as "Venus." Oh, was I dead wrong. "Venus" leads off this 20 greatest hits compilation, and as the remaining 19 tracks are heard, you can easily hear many musical styles, all completely different than the Pop sounding "Venus." There's a bit of Country, Southern Rock, late-1960s/1970s Rock, blues, and a bit of both Psychedelia and Punk.

    For the Country and/or Southern Rock styles (that would later become more famous in the 1970s decade), there are "Mighty Joe" and "Never Marry A Railroad Man." The basic 1960s to 1970s Rock easily defines the next 3 tracks -- "Hello Darkness," "Shocking You," "Blossom Lady." On that note, the next track, "Inkpot" starts out like a Canned Heat tune, yet its the Rock sound from the late 1960s, leading into the 1970s.

    "Rock In The Sea" takes a bit of a different turn, its rock, yet its a little punkish (more songs like this to follow...) "Send Me A Postcard" is most definitely an impressive rocker.

    "Long And Lonesome Road" and "Out Of Sight Out Of Mind" are two songs that could easily fit in today's Pop/Rock music. (Again, the impressive meter is still running high...) "Oh Lord" is another very good rock tune, and catchy.

    Now the impressive meter is going full tilt, as the next three songs are like "discovering true gems in music" -- "This America" and "Good Times" fall into the Punking phase, as heard from Joan Jett/The Runaways. "Gonna Sing Me A Song" continues the finding of more musical gems. "Love Is In The Air" is an instrumental, and a very impressive track, with a blues/rock feel.

    "Lucy Brown Is Back In Town" was a sign of things to come in music; having the common Pop Rock sound of many bands that would surface in the the upcoming decade, 1970s. Brownsville Station comes to mind, as they would be just one of those bands to surface popularity in the 1970s. "Eve And And The Apple" is another impressive good rocker. Another gem is found in "Let Me Carry Your Bag," as this song would be compared to another artist that would become popular in the 1970s Punk phase, Patti Smith. The same for Patti is also heard on the last track, "Dream On Dreamer."

    If you're thinking all of these 20 tracks are in the style of "Venus," you will be terribly mistaken. This is an album that easily get repeated listens, and discovering a band's natural talent in different styles of music: Country, Rock, Blues, Punk. Shocking Blue will turn heads as many would say, "Wow, why didn't I know more of this band back in their heyday?" For those in the Netherlands, the Shocking Blue was a popular band. Lead by lead vocalist Mariska Veres until 1974, she would leave to pursue a solo career. She only released a few singles, as they are hard gems to find. Shocking Blue had their share of comeback/reunions in the late 1970s and 1980s. Yet sad to say, Mariska Veres passed away at the age of 59 in 2006, of cancer.

    The impressive meters go full tilt on Shocking Blue's 20 Greatest Hits. For the ultimate fans of Country, Southern Rock, (most specifically) 1960s/1970s Rock, and blues, discover the music of Shocking Blue with this great compilation. "Venus" will sound like a "lame tune" after hearing what the band accomplished after their so-called most remembered "one-hit wonder" tune.

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    Previous Review: #1361
    Next Review: #1363
    Guns 'N Roses--Use Your Illusion I