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Pearls Before Swine / Tom Rapp - Balaklava CD (album) cover

BALAKLAVA

Pearls Before Swine / Tom Rapp

 

Prog Folk

3.96 | 19 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava (1968)

PBS has recently become one of my favorite bands. Led by song-writer Tom Rapp this band had it's psychedelic folk debut in '67. Inspired by Leonard Cohen's sincere song-writing, the psychedelic vibes of the time and probably by Rapp's own majestic voice the group managed to make psychedelic, slightly progressive folk-rock that is unique in sound and performance. The thought of PBS covering songs didn't quite impress me at first, but I must say that the way they rearranged - perhaps recreated - the song Suzanne isn't anything to be ashamed for. I can highly recommend to listen to it on youtube.

The debut had it's experimental tracks on which PBS freely evolved their own music (such as Morning Song, Uncle John and Surrealistic Waltz). Balaklava has even more to offer in this particular early stage of development of the progressive genre. With Tom Rapp's song- writing and a cover (Suzanne from Cohen) as a basis, the band manages to make all songs a unique experience. A wide array of sound-effects was used (shores, 'old recording sound', psychedelic breathing, birds, etc) to make the songs as organic as can be. In combination with already utterly brilliant, majestic performance the group already had, the result is just wonderful. Furthermore, there are lot's of great arrangements like the string- section on 'I Saw the World'. Balaklava is easily the most psychedelic and innovative record by Pearls Before Swine and the record is atmospheric throughout, with the dark Lord of the Rings influenced 'Ring Thing' as a good ending track. The opening and closing section with an historic recording of war trumpeter Landfrey is a great way to point out the madness of this historic war blunder, Balaklava is said to have been a pointless field battle.

Conclusion. This record shows Pears Before Swine at their absolute zenith, combining majestic folk with very psychedelic atmospheres/sound-scapes. The voice of Rapp is always convincing, but in this setting his voice is more part of a great group-effort, which I can't always say about later efforts of the band. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite records and it's quality and early appearance on the time-scale of development of the progressive genre is to be noticed by every-one. Five stars for this unique psychedelic folk record. Should be in our PA top 100 IMHO.

friso | 5/5 |

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