Monday, December 31, 2007

Pearls Before Swine - One Nation Underground (1967) + Balaklava (1968)

A tragically underlooked talent that is only now beginning to receive the renown he/they deserve, Tom Rapp and his Pearls Before Swine emerged from the oversaturated 60's folk-rock scene with a strangely timeless surrealist sound unlike any of their contemporaries. Rapp's echo-drenched lisp winds bittersweetly through a maze of styles and tempos here, from old-timey pieces ('Guardian Angel', see below) and faux-raga ('I Shall Not Care') to rousing garage/folk ('Uncle John'), and the moods achieved across these albums are simply too numerous to count. Located somewhere in the same sonic universe as 'Highway 61'-era Dylan and the 13th Floor Elevators, Pearls Before Swine are simply one-of-a-kind, the work of a bona fide rock'n'roll genius (I am tempted to say 'auteur') and a high watermark in the acid-folk tradition. On a personal note, these two albums - which represent the band's work on independent labels - were among the few I had with me on my journeys in India last fall, earning them an especially special place in my rainbow-colored heart.

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get them here

1 comment:

the oyster said...

Nice post and good to hear this again. I guess your slightly strange description of "underlooked" is a combo of under-rated and overlooked and I'd agree with that. This does sound a little precious at times but it wears well enough in the current freak-folk context.