It's hard to wax nostalgic about the '60s anymore, with all the '60s compilation albums coming out, the "classic rock" radio format thriving, and countless '60s bands reviving. As the title of the old Dan Hicks song put it, "How Can I Miss You (When You Won't Go Away)?"
But for those who have somehow forgotten just how many great soul and R&B records that decade produced, the San Francisco-based group Big Bang Beat reminded a small but vociferous audience Tuesday at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano what a musical gold mine the '60s were. Even though the group's stance casts no new light on familiar and available songs, Big Bang Beat virtually defies you not to get caught up in them.
The five-woman, nine-man band churned out gloriously infectious renditions of more than two dozen signature hits of Aretha Franklin, Jr. Walker, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, the Phil Spector girl groups and several other Motown/Memphis rock-soul acts.
While such records may seem indestructible, it's astonishing how infrequently their spirit is reproduced live, even by the original artists. The band's cover versions were rounded out by only a couple of its own '60s-styled originals.