The Charlatans

Most musical histories of the psychedelic era start with the Charlatans, a group whose stretched-out blues tunes were as old-timey as their Western costumes. They were pure living theater, complete with the turn-of-the-century "Edwardian Cowboy" look, which quickly became the fashion in Haight-Ashbury. Their summer-long jam in Virginia City's Red Dog Saloon in 1965 was the first significant gig for a psychedelic band. Among those who journeyed to the Red Dog that summer to help out were several friends who were so impressed they decided to duplicate the experience in San Francisco. They called themselves the Family Dog. Though they were the first band on the scene, they did not release their self-titled debut album until 1969, and by then, founder George Hunter and most of the spirit were gone.

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