At a time when bands like the Byrds and the Jefferson Airplane were trying to find a balance between folk, rock, blues, country, and psychedelia, the Youngbloods cut a masterpiece of a debut that made it all look easy. The melodies poured out, and the members' relaxed, laid-back approach to playing across the genres, from blues to country to folk, gave the music an accessibility that was extraordinary. The group is often compared to the Lovin' Spoonful, but the playing and singing, and just about everything else about this album, have a degree of spontaneity that was usually lacking in the Spoonful's work -- a lot like comparing the Band to the Beatles. The tracks off of Elephant Mountain are more laid-back and smoother, and seemed more of an achievement at the time, although they come off as less ambitious in this setting. Those cuts were as polished as the group got, and marked their artistic high point, but some of their luster may dim in close proximity to the excitement on the experimentation of the debut album's tracks.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder