A strong debut album by one of the most offbeat folk/country-rock bands of the 1960s, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Apart from the one unabashed classic, "Buy for Me the Rain," which was a modest hit and the group's biggest claim to musical fame for the next three years, the album also contained the delightful banjo-dominated John McEuen/Bill McEuen instrumental "Dismal Swamp" (which was anything but dismal), the Jackson Browne ballad "Holding," the rousing "You're Gonna Get It in the End," and Bruce Kunkel's haunting, ethereal "Song to Jutta" (as fine a song as anything the Byrds were doing at the time, and better played). In those days, the band wasn't too far removed from the sound of the early Grateful Dead or the Charlatans, but as this album reveals, drugs played less of a role in their music-making than humor, and some of the material was a little too comedic -- Rev. Gary Davis's "Candy Man," for example, comes off more upbeat than blues covers were supposed to be in those days, and may have seemed a little too much like a minstrel show interpretation (though one suspects Davis would have loved it), in a time when white versions of such songs were supposed to be either heavily electrified or reverent to the point of being somber.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder