The concept of a Uruguayan band in the mold of the Hard Day's Night-era Beatles may seem absurd, but it did happen in the mid-'60s. What's more, the Shakers (sometimes billed as Los Shakers on their releases) were fairly successful in mimicking the jangle of the early Beatles sound, writing most of their material with a decent grasp of the British Invasion essentials of catchy tunes and enthusiastic harmonies. While the grammar is fairly broken and pidgin, soundwise the Shakers were actually superior to many of the bona fide Mersey groups; if you like the Beatles sound as heard on tracks like "I Should Have Known Better" or "I'll Be Back," you'll like this stuff. Popular in their native land, the Shakers were understandably unable to compete on an international scale, although their 1966 album, Break It All, was actually issued in the States. Today they enjoy respect from hardcore '60s collectors, and much of their material is available on reissues.
The Shakers continued to follow the Beatles' lead through 1968, introducing Revolver-like guitars and backwards effects, and then some Magical Mystery Tour-type psychedelia, as well as some occasional influence of their native South American rhythms and musical styles. While it's usually obvious where the inspiration is coming from, the level of writing, playing, and harmonies remained quite respectable through their third and final album, 1968's La Conferencia Secreta del Toto's Bar. The Shakers broke up toward the end of the 1960s, with the Fatturoso brothers recording an album for Odeon in 1969 before moving to the United States for a few years to work with Airto Moreira, and then forming the Latin rock group Opa. Drummer Caio Vila and bassist Pelin Capobianco, with a couple of Capobianco's brothers, recorded a 1971 album, and in 1981 the Fatturoso brothers did a reunion album with the Otroshakers.
No doubt this will stand as the most definitive single-disc compilation of Uruguay's Shakers (referred to as "the Shakers" on some releases and "Los Shakers" on others, including this one). There are 32 tracks, and 79 minutes, taken from all three of the LPs they issued in South America between 1965-1968, along with three cuts from 1966 singles, almost everything sung in English. It cements their well-deserved reputation as the top Beatlesque 1960s band from South America — as if any further proof were necessary — and indeed one of the most uncannily Beatlesque bands from anywhere, at any time. Does that mean that this is as good as, or nearly as good as, the Beatles themselves? No, but it's good fun all the same, even if much of the disc sounds like inverted, or at times barely altered, ideas from Beatles riffs and arrangements. They were at their best, perhaps, when mimicking the A Hard Day's Night-era Fab Four, as they did on their 1965 debut LP, Los Shakers, most of which is here. They did, however, evolve to some degree artistically, albeit rather in tandem with how the Beatles' own records changed in 1965-1967, adding some (but not much) native rhythmic styles and riffs here and there; putting Revolver-type vocals and meters into cuts like "Picking Up Troubles" and "Got Any Money?"; putting some down-beat, jazzy riffs into the fine "Too Late"; using freaky backwards guitar and drones in "I Hope You'll Like It," their most advanced cut; and adopting the march-beat, mid-tempo, and sunny harmonies of many 1967 Beatles tunes on numbers like "On a Tuesday I Watch Channel 36." This anthology is not, incidentally, the last word on the Shakers' output: there are no tracks from their U.S.-only 1966 LP, Break It All (which featured re-recordings of their early South American sides), and a handful of other numbers show up on the Brazilian EMI CD All the Best.