At the time this was issued, before Sundazed put out their 4-disc "Sessions" box, this was by far the best 'Brummels collection around. In some ways, for its conciseness at the very least, it's still the best for some fans. Although it's missing the standard issue solid gold pop hits ("Laugh Laugh" and "Just a Little"), it features interesting alternate demo versions of them, plus a ton of incredible other tracks.
This issue of "Nuggets From the Golden State" is the first of several volumes that mine the wealth of the Autumn Records tape archives. What's been dug up here are 26 stunning Beau Brummels tracks, 16 never before issued, and some available only on an out-of-print Rhino Records comp. Even those tracks previously available on the Rhino "From the Vaults" disc (Rhino RNLP 104) sound much better here - the mastering (from original analog multitrack masters) is amazing, sounding as if a thick layer of gauze has been removed. At least one of the Rhino tracks ("I Grow Old") is featured here with an instrumental break that was, apparently, edited out on the Rhino issue. Another of the Rhino tracks appears here for the first time in true stereo.
If you don't already know the 'Brummels brand of British Invasion influenced pop, this is probably as good as any place to start. As I mentioned, it doesn't carry the standard studio versions of their gig hits - and, true, the demo versions on this disc don't match up with the stellar singles releases - but you can pick those up easily enough. What you get here is a treasure trove of previously unknown pop masterpieces, including some great singer-songwriter demos: Ron Elliot's "Tomorrow is Another Day", the wonderful double- tracked harmonies of "Til the Day", Sal Valentino's folky "Stay With Me Awhile", and Elliot's double-tracked 12-string blues "Coming Home", plus some pleasantly ragged tracks recorded live in the studio by the band.
The liner notes state, "Collections of unissued material quite often scrape the barrel of an artists career, but there is little amongst the substantial number of Brummels tapes in the Autumn vault that is not worthy of the ears of a larger public." This reads as a not-too-thinly-veiled swipe at the Sundazed box, which is too bad, as both the box and this single disc have their audience. The 'Brummels fanatic will want the box, with all its variations. Those enamored of the band's sound, and wanting just a bit more than found on their original studio discs, will enjoy this single-disc collection.