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Freakbeat is the name for rare and collectible British Invasion records. Freakbeat is the music of some of the hardest rocking British rock bands. Usually, these bands cover rare British blues and garage rock as well as those with a mod following, during the Swinging London period of the mid to late 1960’s.
What is mod?
Mod is a subculture in the United Kingdom from the 1960s and focused on music and fashion. The roots of this subculture are London-based young men from the 1950’s who were termed modernists; they listened to modern jazz. Later on, the subculture included women and spread to other countries.
The criteria for Freakbeat is known properly to collectors who specialize in the style, but it generally is a fairly obscure British Invasion of all types. It’s vague and usually, the bands sound like Rolling Stones or the Bluesbreakers.
The term was coined by English music journalist Phil Smee. Elements of the Freakbeat sound include strong drum beats, loud and frenzied guitar riffs and extreme effects such as: fuzztone or compression on the vocal or drum tracks.
The music was created and released in the garage rock era in the U.S. and elsewhere too, however, English recording artists were influenced by the American blues and R&B musicians. This slowly resulted in the British Invasion and all that time, US was only going in a Rock direction. Psychedelic rock music was prevalent everywhere.
As an example, the English Freakbeat albums include covers of songs by American blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker. These musical activities were a wee bit different from the music prevalent in the USA at that time.
Many times, the Freakbeat bands may not be British. Some of the recordings were never released in the U.K. Additionally, there are songs and recording from albums from Italy, France, Sweden, Hungary, etc. Hence, Freakbeat is a primarily European rock music genre that peaked between 1966 and 1967.