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S.F. SORROW

The Pretty Things

Proto-Prog


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The Pretty Things S.F. Sorrow album cover
4.00 | 67 ratings | 4 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. S.F. Sorrow is Born (3:12)
2. Bracelets of Fingers (3:41)
3. She Says Good Morning (3:23)
4. Private Sorrow (3:51)
5. Balloon Burning (3:51)
6. Death (3:05)
7. Baron Saturday (4:01)
8. The Journey (2:46)
9. I See You (3:56)
10. Well of Destiny (1:46)
11. Trust (2:49)
12. Old Man Going (3:09)
13. Loneliest Person (1:29)

Total time 40:59

Bonus tracks on 1998 & 2002 remasters:
14. Defecting Grey (single 1967) (4:31)
15. Mr. Evasion (single 1967) (3:31)
16. Talkin' About the Good Times (single 1968) (3:46)
17. Walking Through My Dreams (single 1968) (3:47)

Extra bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
18. Private Sorrow (single version 1968) (3:52)
19. Balloon Burning (single version 1968) (3:47)
20. Defecting Grey (original acetate)* (5:10)

Tracks 14-20 recorded in Mono audio
* Alternate version, previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil May / vocals, story author
- Dick Taylor / lead guitar, vocals
- John Povey / organ, sitar, percussion, vocals
- Alan "Wally" Waller / bass, guitar, piano, wind instruments, vocals
- Twink (John Charles Alder) / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Phil May

LP Columbia ‎- SX 6306 (1968, UK) Mono audio
LP Columbia ‎- SCX 6306 (1968, UK)

CD Edsel Records ‎- ED CD 236 (1990, UK)
CD Snapper Music ‎- 155652 (1998, UK) Remaster by Andy Pearce & Mark St. John w/ 4 bonus tracks
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 4930 (2002, Europe) Remastered by Eroc with 7 bonus tracks

Thanks to exitthelemming for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

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The Pretty Things: S.F. Sorrow Live at Abbey RoadThe Pretty Things: S.F. Sorrow Live at Abbey Road
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THE PRETTY THINGS S.F. Sorrow ratings distribution


4.00
(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(38%)
38%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

THE PRETTY THINGS S.F. Sorrow reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. This is a very significant and influencial album that was released in 1968. Regarded as the first Rock Opera, it's a concept album about one S.F. Sorrow and his life from the cradle to the grave. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios and produced by Norman Smith who by then was working with PINK FLOYD but previously was with THE BEATLES. The music has a Psychedelic flavour but is often quite poppy as well, or maybe commercial sounding is a better way to put it. The songs I like the least are the commercial ones which sound way too much like THE BEATLES. In fact after just a few listens of this cd I was skipping certain tracks because I was already tired of them. Too bad because there's a lot on here that I do enjoy.

"SF Sorrow Is Born" opens with strummed guitar then it settles in with vocals quickly. Backing vocals on the chorus. Not a fan of this one. "Bracelets Of Fingers" is very BEATLES-like just before a minute. I do like the short instrumental section a minute later. An okay tune. "She Says Good Morning" is a catchy BEATLES-like song. Quite poppy and a real toe-tapper. Some nice distorted guitar before 2 minutes. "Private Sorrow" is different. Acid soaked psychedelia. A calm with spoken words after 3 minutes with marching styled drums. "Balloon Buring" is my favourite. I like the repeated guitar line with those dreamy vocals. It becomes an uptempo burner.

"Death" is mealncholic with vocals and an interesting soundscape. "Baron Saturday" is maybe my least favourite. Catchy and very BEATLES-like. "The Journey" is laid back but it then picks up. It's more aggressive before 2 minutes to the end. "I See You" is my other favourite tune. It's that Psychedelic flavour including the lyrics and I love the guitar late to end it. Great track. "Well Of Destiny" is a short piece that builds to the end. "Trust" is a vocal track with harmonies. "Old Man Going" has some excellent guitar and the vocals are softer in the chorus. "Loneliest Person" is the ballad-like closer.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a slew of 5 star reviews for this one. There's something about Proto-Prog and concept albums that I generally don't like. Combine the two and it's a tough sell. Still I recognize the influence of this release.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars Glad to see this album finally added, a concept album of epic proportions, at times better than even Tommy whom it is said gained alot of influence from good ol' S.F. Sorrow.

The Pretty Things truly but the rock in rock opera and made the practice a regularity in rock music. While some look down upon this album because "Sgt Pepper was the first rock opera" (puhlease, it's hardly got a concept) S.F. Sorrow is an emotional journey that absolutely stuns the listener, psychedelic greatness with a story behind it. Isn't that pretty progressive?

Either way, Sorrow's tale of losing everything and eventually become the "Loneliest Person" is one of those where you know there's a personal metaphor and it makes the listener have to make up his own, for me, that's one of the best things a rock opera can do. Each song is well crafted and song transitions (you have no idea how important those are to me) are flawless. After maybe three listens every song on this record will be stuck in your head. No exaggeration, it happened to me.

I think I'll give this five stars because, honestly, it started something great when it itself was an amazing record that had a large part in starting the progressive rock era of music.

The live version they did awhile later with David Gilmour is also a top notch record with story interludes to further explain the action of the rock opera. Very cool stuff.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Ranking amongst the first narrative concept albums, S.F. Sorrow might not have a very well- explained plot, but musically it's downright fantastic, taking the most psychedelic moments of the Beatles (think Tomorrow Never Knows and the like) and bringing them to the next level. At some points the pulsating percussion on the album seems to offer a precedent for later drum and bass, whilst the acoustic closer Loneliest Person is downright haunting. At points a Kinks- and-Beatles-inspired product of its time, at other point years ahead of the rest of the pack, it's a fascinating musical trip and deserves its reputation as one of the keystone psychedelic albums of its era.

Latest members reviews

2 stars S.F. Sorrow? More like S.F. Borrow! The Pretty Things' cult hit, originally released in December 1968, has drawn increased attention in the last 10 years with the belated availability of the group's discography. With that attention has come a bit of revisionist history, perhaps overstating ... (read more)

Report this review (#926204) | Posted by coasterzombie | Thursday, March 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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