- Released: August 1, 1996
- Label: Big Beat Uk
Q - 12/96, p.1513 Stars (out of 5)
- "...rescues 23 unreleased examples of economic beat pop, primitive country rock and exploratory psychedelia from their 1965-'68 heyday....Vindication for the Charlatans' legend..."
- 1.Codine Blues
- 2.Alabama Bound
- 3.I Always Wanted a Girl Like You
- 4.I Saw Her
- 5.How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?
- 6.32-20 Blues
- 7.We're Not on the Same Trip
- 9.Sweet Sue, Just You
- 10.East Virginia
- 11.The Shadow Knows
- 12.I Got Mine
- 13.Steppin' in Society
- 14.Devil Got My Man
- 15.By Hook or by Crook
- 16.'Long Come a Viper
- 18.Alabama Bound
- 19.Number One - (previously unreleased)
- 20.Baby Won't You Tell Me - (previously unreleased)
- 21.Jack of Diamonds - (previously unreleased)
- 22.Blues Ain't Nothin' - (previously unreleased)
- 23.Groom N' Clean Ad - (previously unreleased)
The Charlatans: Mike Wilhelm (vocals, guitar); George Hunter (vocals, autoharp); Richard Olsen (vocals, bass); Dan Hicks (vocals, drums); Michael Ferguson (keyboards).
Contains 23 tracks.
Personnel: Lynne Hughes (vocals, guitar); Dan Hicks (vocals); Hank Bradley (violin); Patrick Gogerty (piano).
Liner Note Author: Alec Palao.
Photographer: Herbert Greene.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dan Hicks; Mike Wilhelm.
Arrangers: Dan Hicks; Patrick Gogerty; Mike Wilhelm.
After almost 30 years, there's finally a definitive document of one of the first San Francisco psychedelic groups -- or, at least, as definitive a document as surviving tapes allow. This compilation assembles 23 tracks from their demos for the Kama Sutra and Autumn labels, as well as a couple of later sessions recorded at San Francisco area studios. Much of this material has been bootlegged previously, on both vinyl and tape, but here it appears in its best fidelity to date by far. Those expecting psychedelic fireworks will be surprised. There's some acid-soaked folk-rock here (most notably "We're Not on the Same Trip" and "I Saw Her," the two best cuts), but on the whole, it's much more of a travelog of roots music, with white blues, jug band, folk, country, and music hall influences much more to the fore. Sure, the Charlatans never really got the opportunity to flex their muscles in the studio, but it's also true that they didn't possess either the songwriting or instrumental chops to rival the Jefferson Airplane or Moby Grape. If you gear your expectations to the appropriate level, there's plenty of good-time mid- to late-'60s Bay Area rock to savor here. Big Beat's meticulous packaging and programming also ensures that an important chapter in psychedelic/San Francisco music has been properly presented for the first time. ~ Richie Unterberger