This 1967 album kicked around cutout bins well into the 1970s, enticing, confusing, and ultimately frustrating fans of the better-known British band of the same name. It deserved a lot better than that curio status -- the fact is, it's a lost psychedelic-era treasure, and an unusual one as well, coming from an L.A.-based band that generated a version of the "San Francisco sound" perfectly and naturally, maybe better than some of the originals. Much of In the Beginning could pass for the work of the Jefferson Airplane in their heyday, singer/rhythm guitarist Jack Ttanna and vocalist Sue Richman harmonizing beautifully but with a hard, gritty sound when they needed it. Based on the evidence here, Bob "Crusher" Metke and Fred "Foxey" Rivera might not have been Spencer Dryden and Jack Casady, but their playing was solid enough. At other times, the album is a throwback to the softer folk-rock sounds of 1966-1967, yet Kent Henry's angular lead guitar manages to intersect -- at different moments -- with the kind of work one more expected out of Quicksilver Messenger Service or the late-'60s jam-friendly incarnation of the Byrds. There are lots of highlights here, including "Angeline" (a failed single), a beautifully subtle electric cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," the hauntingly lyrical "Gloomy Sunday" (a Sue Richman tour de force), and the spaced-out ballad "Ten Second Song." But for all of that, the album saves its best for last, the Jack Ttanna-authored "World Without You," which starts out (and finishes) like a Spanky & Our Gang pop-folk number but soars into orbit for much of its length on Henry's guitar, in one of the most successful in-studio psychedelic jams ever to make it onto vinyl. Mercury Records had a real jewel with this album, yet they could never find a single to give the band a wedge onto AM radio playlists -- 40 years after its release, it's still worth tracking down.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder