Exposé Online banner

Pearls Before Swine — Balaklava
(ESP Disk ESP 1075-2, 1968/2002, CD)

Pearls Before Swine — One Nation Underground
(ESP Disk ESP 1054-2, 1967/2002, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1998-07-01

Balaklava Cover artOne Nation Underground Cover art

A slice of the past, but certainly one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Pearls Before Swine was essentially the vehicle of guitarist / composer / poet / singer Tom Rapp, which over the course of six albums (two for ESP Disk, and four for Reprise) devolved from a four-piece band to essentially a solo project with studio musicians helping out (Rapp would release a few more albums under his own name later in the 70s). These first two on jazz label ESP Disk were by far the most interesting and adventurous of the bunch, with more than their share of 60s weirdness and experimentation. Rapp is probably one of the only singers in rock with a lisp (at least the only one this writer can think of...) and at least on these early albums the sound was fairly unique, instrumentation consisting of acoustic guitar, banjo, cello, string bass, organ, light drumming, and other odds and ends (sitar, celeste, autoharp, and other typical 60s-ish embellishments), plus flute (on Balaklava) provided by none other than Joe Farrell. The style is psychedelic folk-rock by any measure, with an extra heavy dose of 60s' eclecticism. Dated, for sure, but not your standard fare by any means.

The second album carries on from the first, even more warped, strange, and diverse. Songs like “Transluscent Carriages” with its other-worldly whispered backing vocal part, or “Guardian Angels” sounding as if taken from an old 78RPM scratches and all, with string quartet backing offer a more tempered vision and better overall production than the first. And one of the best covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” this writer has heard. Good to have these two available again.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 15, 2002 releases, 1968 recordings, 1967 recordings

Related artist(s): Pearls Before Swine / Tom Rapp

Latest news

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cédric Vuille - Faire – Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Vuille may be better known as a founder member of the Swiss Band L’Ensemble Rayé, and Debile Menthol before that. But with little to no recording activity from...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues