Here is an entire thread where we discuss Pearls Before Swine

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Balaklava is the perfect album for sitting outside on a hot evening with friends, drinking whisky and smoking. It's very goddamn eerie, invigorating and uplifting. Beats the hell out of Astral Weeks (even though Astral Weeks is still a good record.)

I still haven't gotten around to hearing Journal Of the Plague Year. Good stuff?

Ian Johnson (orion), Saturday, 22 March 2003 18:34 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Big Pearls Before Swine fan, here. Actually, another band my Dad introduced me too, and I grew up disliking them. He loved One Nation Underground and Balaklava, and would play them frequently. But since I was a teenage male into heavier rock acts, except for "Surrealist Waltz", which I loved, I was mostly like zzzzzzz. But as I grew more mature I discovered the albums' quiet power, and that they were stranger than I had initially given them credit.

Particularly haunting, at least to me, are the Balaklava segments, like "Trumpeter Landfrey"...there's something awesome (in the true sense of the word) about being able to hear the voice of someone who was alive in the 1850s, and hear the exact sound elements of the war they were in literally one-hundred fifty years ago. To be able to hear Florence Nightingale's

I think I posted an inquiry about them on USENET many years ago (actually, it might have been, and Tom Rapp (who is a lawyer in Philadelphia nowadays) not only emailed me back, but sent me a tape of an unreleased version of "Translucent Carriages" and a remix of "Surrealist Waltz" (so that you could more clearly hear the lyrics). Made a great Father's Day present!

Joe (Joe), Saturday, 22 March 2003 18:55 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Tom doesn't actually live in Philly anymore. He moved a little while back. Think he's in Florida or something.Or so sayeth my next door neighbor Lucy, the world's foremost authority on Lady Gregory, who is good pals with him.

Scott Seward, Saturday, 22 March 2003 21:14 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

whiskey and smoking on a hot evening? you sure you're not thinking of jimmy buffet?

_one nation underground_ and _balaklava_ are both genius, and the warner albums, though offering diminished returns, are still pretty good - even the final one, _beautiful lies you could live in_ has some really excellent songs on it ("snow queen" leaps immediately to mind).

i've seen tom rapp live twice now - once at a small club in philly, once at terrastock 5 - and both times were amazing for entirely different reasons.

your null fame (yournullfame), Saturday, 22 March 2003 23:14 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I love the two ESP recs but I never investigated the Warners stuff. I guess I was just apprehensive they'd be as mediocre as their ESP mates the Fugs' Warners recs, which I don't have much use for. Then I got that Constructive Melancholy comp and much of it really blew me away. Not as wasted as the first two but there is some really beautiful music here, like "Look Into Her Eyes" and especially "Everybody's Got Pain" (love the background vox); I also really like the effect of Rapp's voice against some of the more Nashville inflected arrangements. I'm still not sure if this is really the best of that lot or I need to go out and get it all.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Saturday, 22 March 2003 23:57 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Huge fan - just recorded a song for an upcoming sequel to the For The Dead in Space tribute album, using an interview Jeff Lewis and I did with him on the radio a few years ago. He's great - a rare mixture of talent and congeniality.

It's worth noting that his solo albums are EXTREMELY underrated, especially Stadancer, which is one of my favorites. These Things Too is a good Pearls album too, just got that on ebay (one of a few records I've managed to replace after a recent fire).

roger adultery (roger adultery), Sunday, 23 March 2003 00:10 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I used to have a tape of a scratchy copy of One Nation when i was a student 12/13 years back but it eventually drifted to casette limbo until I saw him at Terrastock 5 last year. Before hand Iw as thinking "old hippie with guitar, used to be in a fine group 35 years ago - might be interesting, might not". In fact most fo the people I was with left before he started. And man are they lsoers, for me anyway, it was a revalation and I had to go and get copies of the CDs.

tigerclawskank, Monday, 24 March 2003 10:48 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...
Listening to Sunforest for the first time in a while. There really are some good tracks on here--the title track, Harding Street, Blind River, Sunshine & Charles.

After this I'll probably listen to Beautiful Lies You Could Live In, which I also haven't listened to in ages. I think some of the country/western type tunes on that one bugged me. I'll get back to you.

Ian Johnson (orion), Saturday, 24 January 2004 09:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

How many of you have heard the 2nd & 3rd tribute volumes? I need to order 'em. Really want to hear Bardo Pond's version of "Uncle John", Black Forest/Black Sea's "Wizard of Is" and Watt&Thurston's "Fourth Day Of July."

And if ya don't have the first volume, get all three ppd for $25!

Ian Johnson (orion), Saturday, 31 January 2004 22:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

God, I love Pearls Before Swine, but do they really need three tribute albums?

Broheems (diamond), Saturday, 31 January 2004 22:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

no, probably not... but the first one was really good, and there are lots of good bands on these. and the price is good.

Ian Johnson (orion), Saturday, 31 January 2004 22:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...
the demo of "Grace Street" from Wizard of Is blows my mind.

"Yesterday you threw the pieces of your broken heart at me
Tears are thicker than water but you wouldn't let it be
Sweet and bleeding Jesus
Came to me in a song
But I still don't think I understand
Where he means for me to belong
And I'm going to take a walk on Grace Street
Before I'm dead and gone


But I woke up this morning
And my mouth was full of blood
And I'm going to take a walk on Grace Street
And look at where I was"

Ian John50n (orion), Monday, 1 November 2004 22:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Pearls Before Swine were the first psych-folk group that I got into.
Tom Rapp's Stardancer solo album is really good, probably the best thing he did post PBS. I still don't have some of the mid-period full-lengths, but most of the best tracks from that period were compiled on the Constructive Melancholy cd, which I do have. So, I guess I need Wizard of Is, then?

Trip Maker (Sean Witzman), Monday, 1 November 2004 22:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Well, it's pretty damn good. It's got lots of demos from those Reprise albums (reissued last year, I think, on Water.) I guess it's worth getting if you're really into the band, like I am. I also haven't heard all of the post-ESP stuff; just Beautiful Lies..., which has some great great songs ("The Snow Queen" and "Butterflies" for example.) I kept patrolling ebay for the LPs, though, and they're getting a bit easier to find now that they've been resissued; I'm the high bidder on a copy of These Things Too, ending today, so maybe I'll get that one. I can hope.

Incidentally, they were the first psych/folk group I got into as well. At the tender age of thirteen my uncle played me Balaklava; he's got all of their records, was a huge fan back in the day, etc.

Also, "Grace Street" is available in a different version on the Familiar Songs LP, which I notice at the store but don't really want to spend $15 on. Oh well. Great, beautiful song. The liner notes of Wizard of Is express Tom Rapp's desire to have a gospel choir in there--wow.

Ian John50n (orion), Monday, 1 November 2004 22:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

wiz came out this year, around the same time as patty waters' disc (on water as well). wrote a little bit about them both at city pages, and wound up getting an email of appreciation from mrs. patti smith. was pretty chuffed at that.
the reprise records are unjustly underappreciated, me thinks.

Beta (abeta), Monday, 1 November 2004 22:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Rapp on "Prisoner of War" in Wiz's liner notes:

"In 1972, a church in Vermont rand its bell once each minute for each American killed in Vietnam. It rang for forty days and forty nights. Is that biblical, or what? That's why, when you hold a seashell to your ear, you can hear Nixon screaming in hell. I hate it when songs like this become relevant again. It's dedicated to George W. Bush who is continuing Nixon's work of writing messages in the blood of others."

Ian John50n (orion), Monday, 1 November 2004 23:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...
After much consideration, I've come to the conclusion that Sean is OTM upthread when he claims that "Stardancer is prob. the best post-PBS thing he did." I'd also venture to say that it's a more consistent album than all of the Reprise albums. Damn this is some good shit.

I ate mushrooms last winter in my loft (which was stupid) and began to freak out cuz there was no weed to smoke and my apartment/roommates at the time made me really anxious. I listened to this album, then I didn't listen to it for a long time. But yeah. Good stuff. Nay, great stuff.

Ian John50n (orion), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 12:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm curious about the Astral Weeks comparison. I've never listened to Pearls Before Swine (was ho hum about the Fugs and relate the two I suppose). Yet I love Astral Weeks like a brother.

mcd (mcd), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 13:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Pearls Before Swine are way better/different sounding than the Fugs, so don't worry about that putting you off.

Zack Richardson (teenagequiet), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 13:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Somewhat gradiose, uniquely arranged psychedelic folk/pop.

Ian John50n (orion), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 13:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

grandiose, make that. and that's re: pbs & astral weeks, not pbs & the fugs.

i'm not into the fugs that much. belle on avenue a is supposed to be one of the better ones, right?

Ian John50n (orion), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 13:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...
Somehow I missed this thread. I like how Ian keeps reviving it. :-) It must be Terrastock time, I'm listening to Constructive Melancholy right now. Remembering Tom Rapp's take on "Rocket Man" at Terrastock 2 as the start of his set is such a pleasure.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 5 April 2006 15:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Seeing Tom play is definitely a treat.

Tripmaker (SDWitzm), Wednesday, 5 April 2006 15:27 (twelve years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

the lack of pearls footage on youtube is truly disappointing! mr. rapp's been in heavy rotation around my house these past few weeks. must be that time of the year.

ian, Monday, 30 November 2009 17:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

slight wtf moment watching fassbinder's rio das mortes for the first time yesterday: opening scene soundtracked by 'morning song' complete with bosch poster from the lp up on the schygulla character's apartment wall

no lime tangier, Wednesday, 20 January 2016 11:57 (two years ago) Permalink

Pearls before swine, feelin' fine. Swine before pearls, gives me the hurls.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Wednesday, 20 January 2016 16:56 (two years ago) Permalink

(xp) I mentioned this before, but not on this thread it seems, fuck knows where then.

The Return of the Thin White Pope (Tom D.), Wednesday, 20 January 2016 18:15 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

noticed this recent(ish) addition to the pbs corpus: anyone heard?

no lime tangier, Friday, 14 April 2017 00:41 (one year ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

Sad news from Damon Krukowski

We have lost the great singer, songwriter and human being Tom Rapp...

— Damon K (@dada_drummer) February 12, 2018

Ned Raggett, Monday, 12 February 2018 16:47 (nine months ago) Permalink

oh, fuck

Simon H., Monday, 12 February 2018 16:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

damn, RIP. was just playing one nation underground last week ...

tylerw, Monday, 12 February 2018 17:21 (nine months ago) Permalink

Lovely post from his daughter in law.

Tom, my husband's dad, passed away yesterday. Seeing how much he meant to people and how much they loved his work is really a light in our lives during a dark time, thank you.

— Kristen Bonardi Rapp (@kristenrapp) February 12, 2018

Ned Raggett, Monday, 12 February 2018 17:37 (nine months ago) Permalink

Oh no, not Tom Rapp now. Loved that guy + band. RIP Tom.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Monday, 12 February 2018 17:54 (nine months ago) Permalink

Goodnight Tom Rapp and thank you sincerely for your music

faust apes (NickB), Monday, 12 February 2018 20:25 (nine months ago) Permalink

Crazy that Tom's career was over in his mid-twenties - some people don't even get started till then - and he's put out NINE albums by then...

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 00:34 (nine months ago) Permalink

rip :-(

no lime tangier, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 01:00 (nine months ago) Permalink

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