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Pearls Before Swine

Prog Folk

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Pearls Before Swine ... Beautiful Lies You Could Live In. album cover
3.66 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Snow Queen (4:00)
2. A Life (2:57)
3. Butterflies (2:46)
4. Simple Things (2:56)
5. Everybody's Got Pain (2:47)
6. Bird On A Wire (3:34)
7. Island Lady (4:02)
8. Come To Me (2:58)
9. Freedom (3:03)
10. She's Gone (2:12)
11. Epitaph (1:25)

Total time 32:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Elisabeth Rapp / vocals
- Tom Rapp / vocals, guitar

- Jon Tooker / guitar
- Stuart Scharf / guitar
- Amos Garrett / guitar
- Michael Krawitz / piano
- Bob Dorough / piano
- Steve Alan Gramble / piano, organ
- Gordon Hayes / bass
- Morrie E. Brown / bass
- Jerry Jermott / bass
- Billy Mundi / drums
- Grady Tate / drums
- Herbert Lovelle / drums

Releases information

Artwork: John Everett Millais (8 June 1829 ? 13 August 1896) painting "Ophelia"

LP Reprise Records ‎- RS 6467 (1971, US)

CD Water ‎- WATER 114 (2003, US) Part of a box set, Jewels Were The Stars

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PEARLS BEFORE SWINE ... Beautiful Lies You Could Live In. ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE ... Beautiful Lies You Could Live In. reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This is the last album from Pearls Before Swine on which Tm Rapp used the PBS name, as later he would issue his future recordings under his own name and not that much longer after, he would quit the music business altogether. Although the album returns to an ancient Flemish themed artwork, unlike its two predecessors, BLYCLI was recorded in NYC, but the slide towards country music continued

There are still some superb tracks on here, although none would fit on Balaklava or Use Of Ashes (even if Snow Queen comes close to it), and while the plaintive Butterflies (beautiful), the lovely Freedom are folk- rock tracks, they find themselves in a minority in this album, but it's difficult to say that this album is not still rooted in the folk realm, especially knowing that this is Rapp singing all tracks bar the covers). On the other hand, tracks like A Life, the bland Simple Things & Come To Me (with that awfully loud fiddle), the duet with his wife Everybody's Got Pain, the intriguing Island Lady and yet another Leonard Cohen cover Bird On A Wire all have a distinct country flavour, sometimes just a hint of it, at others by the trucl load. Actually the album would've veered country if Tom had not finished it with three pure folk songs, including Freedom and the aptly titled Epitaph.

While BLYCLI is still a fine PBS album, I wouldn't call it essential; it's clear that Rapp is moving away from his classic stuff, but this is a real artiste's choice to keep progressing, even if it isn't in the direction I'd wish.

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Tom Rapp’s sixth studio album ‘....beautiful lies you could live in’ marked the last time he would credit the by-now notional-only band Pearls Before Swine on the cover; the subsequent sporadic releases would be issued as solo recordings. And this record was pretty much a solo release as well, with his wife Elizabeth being the one near-constant in the group’s lineup.

This is a decidedly American-sounding modern folk album, unlike the previous release ‘City of Gold’ which had a more European feel. The list of studio musicians is rather impressive: it includes guitarist Amos Garrett whose impressive credits include the guitar lead on Maria Muldaur’s massive 70s hit “Midnight at the Oasis”; former Mother of Invention Billy Mundi, who appeared on Todd Rundgren’s hit “Hello, It’s Me” of the same period; and pianist Bob Dorough who cashed in during the 70s himself with a series of compositions that ended up being recorded as episodes of the popular Saturday morning cartoon series Schoolhouse Rock. Despite the pop-folk street cred of his guests, Rapp fashioned the album as a remarkably understated electric folk offering that presented some of his more coherent poetry set to music. One of the few knocks on some of the earlier Pearls material was the abstract and occasionally banal tenor of Rapp’s lyrics; here he plays things a bit more conventional, though still manages to display his unique ability to record songs that are multilayered and lyrically complex while retaining their decidedly (and intentional) Dylanesque vibe.

There were no hits resulting from this record, and no singles even that I’m aware of. Instead Rapp seemed content to craft his personal thoughts into beautiful, unassuming vignettes without strong regard for popular acceptance. This is easily one of my personal favorites, along with the aforementioned ‘City of Gold’.

Despite his own considerable songwriting talent, Rapp never shied away from covering songs and poetry of artists he respected, and this album is no exception. His rendition of Leonard Cohen’s "Bird On A Wire" ranks only behind the original of the many versions of this song that I’ve heard over the years. And the brief but poignant acoustic rendering of A.E. Housman’s "Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries" is a luxurious thing to behold, particularly since the vocals are delivered by the underused Elizabeth Rapp herself.

Its unfortunate Reprise Records never managed to provide the kind of promotion that could have given Pearls Before Swine a better chance to establish themselves in the early 70s. Rapp didn’t help by avoiding touring for much of his career, and his irregular recording tempo probably didn’t help much either. But he did manage to get out six very good records before sliding permanently into obscurity, and this is one of the two or three best of those. Four stars are quite appropriate, especially if you are a fan of modern folk in the vein of Dylan, Van Morrison or even Randy Newman. Well recommended if that’s the sort of stuff you’re interested in.


Review by friso
4 stars Pearls Before Swine - ...Beautiful lies you could live in (1972)

PBS is an English slightly psychedelic folk rock band headed by vocalist/songwriter extraordinaire Tom Rapp. With two beautiful psych folk records (Balaklava being one of my all-time favorites) in the late sixties their appearance on progarchives is well earned. In the seventies the band, now more a project around Tom Rapp that changed it's line-up for every album, the band reinvented itself as a powerhouse producing great acoustic, melodic, folksy and bluesy song-writing with some of the best arrangements. The voice of Rapp has an amazing appeal and gives the music a magic touch. 'Beautiful lies you live in' is the last album of 'Pearls Before Swine', after this Tom Rapp would drop the band-name altogether and went on to record three albums as a solo-artist.

On 'Beautiful lies' the band sounds significantly different then on 'City of gold' (1971). On all other PBS albums the emphasis would lie on Rapp's vocals and arrangements having lot's of reverbs in order to create a magic and atmospheric sound. On 'Beautiful lies' there hardly any reverbs to be found and the record has a very down-to-earth sound, more like on a Bob Dylan record. At first this made me feel uncomfortable, being a fan of his the mystical sound of late sixties PBS, but time has proven to be a healing factor in this regard. This album still has some of the amazing song-writing of Rapp an his vocals are still great (albeit with a dry, direct sound). On some songs Rapp is joined by his wife Elizabeth with her pure vocal sound. The arrangements have evolved in a way that there's a real rhythmical section and surprisingly heavy use of the bass-guitar. The PBS magic can still be found in some great songs and harmonic findings that give Rapp the possibility to exploit his gift for making songs work. The atmospheres are recognizable after a few spins; that rare form of quality happiness expressed through emotional, often sad songs. On other songs PBS explores a more mainstream sound with slightly optimistic song-writing, but the depth that the band has to offer remains a blessing. On some songs the fan of progressive music will find interesting harmonies and original findings, but I wouldn't compare this to your typical prog folk.

Conclusion. This is the last PBS album and it's a great last offering for a band that has become one of my favorites. The progressive psych-folk influences of the first two albums are long gone, but the intricate and perfected performances of Tom Rapp and crew are simply unique. It has been hard to find music in the same vein, and if any-one does have a good suggestion your welcome to send me a message. If you would like to have a relaxing, folksy song-writing album with depth this might be a good pick for you. For progressive folk head in the direction of older Pearls Before Swines albums (One Nation Under Ground & Balaklava). Four stars, for I'm simply not willing to deny the quality of this album.

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