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Pearls Before Swine - Tom Rapp: Stardancer CD (album) cover


Pearls Before Swine


Prog Folk

2.62 | 7 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Although released under his own name, Stardancer deserves the PBS moniker (it was his new Blue Thumb label that decided against it), if only for the logical musical continuity of what came before. Of course it had been a while since the bnd had stopped having a stable studio line-up, even if its touring version had a semblance of stability. Sure, by this time, the superb psych/prog folk of the first two albums and Use Of Ashes was long-gone, but we can still find a few trace in the course of Stardancer, well hidden under the fairly wide-ranging songs that grace this album. Strangely enough, it appears that the Cherry Red CD reissue reverses the side playing order as opposed to the original vinyl, so I will tell you I reviewed the album in its CD form

Among the better prog-folk songs is the opening title track, which grows out of chimes into a soft guitar and a very personal complaint. Sweet flutes, hypnotizing cellos, windy cymbals and haunting melodies are what make this song magic. However the spell is broken with the awkward Marshall ditty filled with Caribbean percussions. The following Why Should I Care sounds like a goofy 40's Music Hall thing with an insufferable twangy/country/jazz feel. Touch Tripping and the French-sung Las Ans (sounding like n Eleanor Rigby version) closes the A/B side. The flipside opens on the poignant (and album- proggiest) Fourth Day Of July with plenty or eeriness and dramatics to boot. The Dylan-esque For The Dead In Space is present a semi-folk ambiance in its first part and a semi-country feel in its second half. The country-esque Baptist is definitely not up my alley, but I can understand why this song might gather a lot of support, but it overstays its welcome to my ears. Summer Of 55 features some rapid- fire percussions and some sax and other horns, while the closing goofy Tiny Song goes nuts.

Although SD is hardly as good as an early PBS album, there are a few outstanding tracks (three actually) that make it investigable and certainly worth considering investing in it. But I would consider not doing so either, because the album lacks a clear musical direction, because of its all-too-wide spectrum and therefore the hole lacks cohesion.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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