Four discs -61,64,69,71 minutes each approximately. The sound is uniformly fine. These songs sound about as good as they ever will. The discs are slipped-bare-into half-cardboard sleeves in the back of the hardback book. Not the best. I put my discs into separate jewel cases for protection. The book itself is well done. Information on the era when this great music was first coming out is informative and fun to read. There is a track by track listing of the various groups,with info on who was in the band,when it was recorded,and any listings on Billboard,etc. There are pictures of the bands,along with reproductions of advertising for various clubs and related items,that were seemingly essential (leather goods) during that time. There are also two pages listing clubs of the era,along with info on various groups that played these venues. The radio stations of the day are also listed,along with a brief description of the music they played. There's also a time line of musical and related events during this time period. All of this adds up to be a very well done collection,and helps set the scene for this great music. One of the more interesting items is a letter from THE BYRDS to the group THE RISING SONS,hoping their album flops and they rot in the Columbia Records basement,along with Terry Melcher,and then they wish the band good luck in the future. At Ciro's Le Disc,for $4.95,you can have dinner,dancing and two drinks,in a "special" called the "Early Byrd Delight". Definitely a different era.
The music itself is a good overview of Los Angeles "rock" during the mid to late sixties. Some groups will be well known to listeners (THE STANDELLS,THE BYRDS,LOVE IRON BUTTERFLY etc) familiar with this era's music. However,even the groups that most listeners know, they probably haven't heard a number of these early tracks. That's the beauty of this collection. It isn't a collection of "hits" from the era. This is an alternative collection of music by people/groups,some who went on to fame and fortune,while others disappeared. The discs are,roughly,thematically done,covering areas like pop sounds,groups who primarily played in the clubs,more rock oriented groups,and even Top 40 groups. Along the way you'll hear rock,folk,folk-rock,country (L.A. style),studio productions,and the beginnings of psychedelic music.
There are groups who "made it" and some groups who were literally "one shot wonders". But that's the beauty of this set. Together this overview will show listeners that there was much more than the "known" groups coming out of L.A. The treasures found in this collection are to numerous to list. Virtually every track is worthwhile,if for nothing else than putting a smile on your face. However,there are a number of groups who sound so good,you'll wonder why they didn't make it. The early tracks by many well known groups will be a revelation to listeners only familiar with the usual stuff we've heard over and over again. There's early songs from Van Dyke Parks,Nilsson,Peter Fonda(!),P.F. Sloan,THE RISING SONS (with Taj Mahal),THE SEEDS,HEARTS AND FLOWERS,Sonny and Cher,and so on.
This is one of Rhino Records better releases in their Nuggets series. There is so much good,important,fun music here,that this collection bears listening to many times over. And every time you'll hear something new and probably great. For those who grew up in the late sixties,this will be a time machine back to an era long past. For those who weren't around then,this set will go a long way in explaining the beginnings of the sixties music sound. Either way,this is a great collection of the sounds that came out of Los Angeles during a relatively short,but important,period of time .