And speaking of The Charlatans, these three posters by Rick Griffin stand out for me for the way they show the name of the headline group running across the set when placed together. Serial prints weren’t unusual among the San Francisco artists but this is the only example I’ve seen that works in this manner. The posters were promoting three concert sessions at the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, from May to July 1967. The photography by Herb Greene adds to the attraction of this series; the combination of lighting, sepia tint, and the group’s apparel gives a more convincingly antique effect than similar attempts by other bands. For a taste of The Charlatans’ music, Alabama Bound is featured on my fourth psychedelic mix.
I was so overworked during the summer months that late in June I missed the 50th anniversary of the birth of the psychedelic poster, something of a regrettable oversight considering I had an article about psychedelic art in print throughout that month.
This weathered item from June 1965 is generally credited as the first example of a type of poster whose influence—diluted or not—would be global during the next few years, hence the nickname given to it by collectors: “The Seed”. George Hunter and Michael Ferguson were the artists, and the antiquated drawing style is partly an attempt to complement the persona of The Charlatans, a San Francisco group who adopted 19th-century clothing styles. The Seed may appear naive in light of all that was happening a year later but Hunter & Ferguson’s florid graphics were something new in 1965; the poster for the Jefferson Airplane’s first show at the Fillmore in February 1966 is more restrained in comparison, as were other concert posters from around the same time. The most surprising thing about The Seed as a cultural landmark is that it was promoting a series of concerts over the state border in Virginia City, Nevada, not San Francisco as you might expect.