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CD review: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970

The Audiophiliac reviews Rhino's "Love is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965- 1970" new four CD box set.

Hippies in a box!
Rhino Records

Rhino's compilation CD box setsare are not only amazingly consistent; their creative packaging and superb music programming satisfy neophytes and seasoned collectors. Their latest offering from the ever popular Nuggets series, "Love is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-- 1970 " is a trip through the era's psychedelic and ragged glories. You get a healthy dose of greatest hits, gems like the Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," and Santana's "Evil Ways" mixed with less heralded but truly stellar tunes like Kak's "Lemonaide Kid." I swear I've never heard of Kak, but their sweet, easy rollin' epic perfectly evokes the hippy-dippy daze. Blue Cheer's uber-amped classic "Summertime Blues," and The Loading Zone's "The Bells" break free of the the peace and love ooze--that second one's completely over the top wailing and screaming vocal will probably be sampled by a zillion bands. You get 77 tracks spread over four CDs, and while I can't tell you I loved every tune, there were remarkably few clunkers. This is one box set you'll play often; I've already listened through all four discs twice.

Unlike previous Nuggets sets that came with the discs packaged inside boxes this new one tucks the CDs into the back cover of a 9 by 11.25-inch, 120 page book with a gorgeous embossed silver foil cover. Sure, there are lots of rare and groovy photos of the bands, superbly written essays by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine's Ben Fong-Torres, but for me compilation producer Alec Palao's track-by-track commentary mades for the best reading.

Rhino's remastering skills are obvious from the get-go, the sound is cleaner and clearer than you'd expect from 40 year old recordings. Bass goes plenty deep, stereo separation is also excellent. "Love is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970" has a suggested retail price of $64.98.