In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava (1968 us, psych folk gem, japan remaster issue)

A record that virtually defies categorization, Pearls Before Swine's 1968 epic Balaklava is the near-brilliant follow-up to One Nation Underground. Intended as a defiant condemnation of the Vietnam War, it doesn't offer anthemic, fist-pounding protest songs. Instead, Rapp vented his anger through surrealist poetry, irony, and historical reference: Balaklava was the 1854 Crimean War battle that inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson to write his epic The Charge of the Light Brigade; in reality, the "Charge" was a senseless military action that killed scores of British soldiers.

Balaklava begins with "Trumpeter Landfrey," an 1880's recording of the actual voice and bugle charge of the man who sounded the charge at Balaklava. It makes the transition into "Translucent Carriages," a mix of acoustic guitars, a basic vocal, and ghostly narration ("Jesus raised the dead...but who will raise the living?"), all the more stunning. "Images of April" continues the mystical feel, combining flutes, cricket chirps, and frog croaks for a nether-worldly effect. Rapp virtually cries "I Saw the World," backed by a powerful string arrangement that makes the song even more impassioned.

Like One Nation Underground, Balaklava is somewhat unfocused: "There Was a Man" is a little too Dylan-esque, and Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" detracts from Rapp's compositions. Unfortunately, the record closes with "Ring Thing," a morbid piece that refers to Tolkien's famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. Still, this is superb psychedelic music, successfully merging exotic instruments like marimba, clavinet, French horn, and swinehorn with Rapp's unique lisping vocals.

But Balaklava isn't just acid-trip background music. It's probably the best example of what Rapp calls "constructive melancholy" (also the name of a recent CD collection of Pearls songs), a combination of the real with the surreal, and it's indispensable to any serious '60s rock collection.
by Peter Kurtz


1. Trumpeter Landfrey - 0:35
2. Translucent Carriages (Herodotus, Harley, Rapp) - 4:00
3. Images of April - 2:44
4. There Was a Man - 2:59
5. I Saw the World - 3:28
6. Guardian Angels - 3:02
7. Suzanne (Cohen) - 5:01
8. Lepers And Roses - 5:23
9. Florence Nightingale - 0:17
10.Ring Thing (Tolkien, Rapp) - 2:20
All songs by Tom Rapp except otherwise stated.

Pearls Before Swine
*Tom Rapp - Guitar, Vocals, Breathing
*Jim Bohannon - Organ, Piano, Clavinette, Marimba
*Wayne Harley - Banjo, Harmony
*Lane Lederer - Bass, Guitar, Swinehorn
Guest Musicians 
*Joe Farrell - Flute, English Horn 
*Lee Crabtree - Piano, Organ, 
*Bill Salter - Bass
*Al Shackman - Guitar
*Warren Smith - String Arrangements
*Selwart Clarke - String Arrangements


danilo said...

Thanks for sharing.

Mobb_Solo said...

Marios, want to thank you again for turning my onto this Pearls Before Swine, I think from the PHROCK village.

Amazing sh*t brother. .

aldo said...

Weird...I tried downloadind it, I first bought this record in the mid-80s and I'm a big fan of this first LP in particular...but, while I got all the artwork I never got the music...when unzipping it asked uncorrect password?

which wasn't, otherwise nothing would have appeared...


Marios said...

Maybe the file isn't completed,
there are more than 250 d/ls and no one so far has not indicated any problems,
that happens on both hosters?

mf76 said...

So cool. Thank You!

Marios said...

Well, it isn't exactly so, they were commercial sites, anyway I replace it and bypassed.
Thank you

Marcos Beatles said...

Muito obrigado!!!

Psychfan said...

Thank you for this classic!

Psychfan said...

Marios, all links point to One Nation Underground. Can you check on this? Thanks!

Marios said...

Psychfan, Balaklava ...fixed....

Psychfan said...

Thank you Marios!

Anonymous said...

καλησπερα , γινεται να ανεβει παλι στο 'free text';; ευχαριστώ,χρόνια πολλά.

Marios said...

Anonymous Anonymous, "Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava" updated... Χρόνια Πολλά!!