With ten tracks from rare 1961-1966 singles, three cuts that only appeared on a compilation, and 13 previously unreleased recordings (one of them a previously unissued alternate take of their single "Bad, Bad Whiskey"), this is a more comprehensive anthology of this obscure group than anyone could have envisioned. As exhaustive as the archivism might be, it's fairly routine early-'60s-styled R&B-rock (even on the mid-'60s recordings), anchored by bluesy riffs and a small combo organ-grounded sound on both vocal and instrumental numbers. In some ways it's similar to the energetic (if oft-unimaginative) grinds churned out by numerous Northwest bands in the same era, though the Merced Blue Notes
leaned perhaps a bit more to the more modern, funkier grooves being opened up by groups like Booker T. & the MG's. Were these guys funky? Sure -- they spin out tough bluesy guitar licks, penetrating organ, occasional blues harmonica, and (on the non-instrumentals) raw vocals. Did they have interesting material? Not so much -- the tunes were often elementary and derivative. They shine brightest when the organ gets most assertive and the singing lets loose in a fashion that many rock and soul labels would have toned down, as heard on the unissued fast shuffle "Greyhound" or the 1966 instrumental "Rufus," where the Booker T resemblance grows. Booker T. & the MG's, however, to take one point of reference, had far better riffs and arrangements, and to be harsh it's not too much of a surprise that these cats didn't break out of their region, as much entertainment as they must have provided at local shows and dances.