SLEEVE: NM- MEDIA: NM YEAR: 1983 ORIGIN: France EXTRAS: Mono
The Charlatans was a critical and commercial flop upon its release. Although the record was the Charlatans' debut album, it was recorded and released relatively late in the band's career, a factor which critic Richie Unterberger has suggested contributed to its commercial failure. Critics have also suggested that a contributing factor to the album's lack of success was the fact that the band's sound had become somewhat outdated by 1969, with their brand of jug band blues and gentle psychedelia being largely eschewed by the public in favour of a heavier rock sound. In his book, The Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock & Roll, Free Love and High Times in the Wild West, author Joel Selvin describes the album as "an unenthusiastic coda to a misspent career."
Other reviewers have been kinder towards the album, with critic Bruce Eder noting that the album "is a rather gorgeous and gently challenging piece of San Francisco rock, incorporating elements of blues and big-band swing, as well as '50s rock & roll and elegant '60s pop."