Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pearls Before Swine - The Use Of Ashes (1970)

Their fourth album (second for Warner/Reprise) released in 1970 continued the tradition of psychedelic dreamy poetic musing and added a small orchestra of strings to add a classical feel. The album features songs written by Tom Rapp whilst living in Holland including the superb "The Jeweler". Subversive, tender, moving, goofy, maddening, and profound PBS and Tom Rapp created some of the best and timeless musical poetry of the '60's and '70's.


1. Jeweler
2. From the Movie of the Same Name
3. Rocket Man
4. God Save the Child
5. Song About a Rose
6. Tell Me Why
7. Margery
8. Old Man
9. Riegal
10.When the War Began

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Horslips - The Tain (1973)

Perhaps the best known of the Irish bands' albums, this 1973 release was a concept album, detailing one of ancient Erin's most famous folk tales. Combining mournful traditional Celtic music with long haired rock was a masterstroke which can be heard to fine effect on this reissue. An album that appeals to folk rock and progressive rock fans alike.

By any standards this album is a masterpiece of quality celtic rock.
Concept albums rarely work, but this does so spectacularly. It tells the ancient legend of a cattle raid in Ulster in prehistoric times, using traditional tunes as the basis of the songs and mixing traditional instruments such as fiddle, pipes and concertina alongside the standard rock format. There is a flow and coherence which is truly marvellous. Even more remarkable is that they repeated the feat with the Book of Invasions a few years later.
It is helped by the fact that the band are musicians of the highest order, but their strength is the magic of the songs and tunes which are constructed quite perfectly. There are no fillers and no tracks which fall below the general standard of excellence. The stand out tracks include Dearg Doom, with its phenomenenal riff which makes it a disco hit 30 years later, Faster Than the Hound and Charolais.
Comparisons have been made with Jethro Tull, largely due to the extensive use of the flute, but Jim Lockhart plays it even better than Ian Anderson, good though he is. (


1. Setanta
2. Maeve's Court
3. Charolais
4. The March
5. You Can't Fool The Beast
6. Dearg Doom
7. Ferdia's Song
8. Gae Bolga (1:23)
9. Cu Chulainn's Lament
10. Faster Than The Hound
11. The Silver Spear
12. More Than You Can Chew
13. The Morrigan's Dream
14. Time To Kill

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Roy Harper - Folkjokeopus (1969)

Eccentric, prolific British singer/songwriter Roy Harper is a legend on the U.K. folk-rock scene. He began recording in the late 1960s, as something of a cross between Bob Dylan's troubadourism and Syd Barrett's freewheeling, wild-eyed visions. Though Harper has had an impact on British rockers who gained greater fame (he's feted in Led Zeppelin's "Hats Off To Roy Harper," sings lead on Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar," and was a major influence on Jethro Tull), his mix of folk and prog-rock has earned him a niche all his own in the pantheon of British songwriters.


1. Sgt.Sunshine
2. She's the one
3. In the time of water
4. Composer of life
5. One for all
6. Exercising some control
7. McGoohan's blues
8. Manana

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hölderlin - Hölderlins Traum (1972)

Hölderlin - Hölderlins Traum (1972)

First album by this German band who started off with progressive folk rock leanings. This is possibly their best album richly textured and with a gorgeous female vocal and stands up with the best of seventies Kraut Rock for its invention and sheer class. A ravishing album, very folk, acoustic and dreamy with nice, abundant female vocals. This is their best and unique highly recommended effort they made. Celestial and floating kraut / folk music whose approach can be compared with Bröselmaschine, Emtidi and others. An eastern flavour is added by the use of the sitar, also a subtle jazzy guitar touch, mainly improvised for long solo interludes. Specials guests as Walter Westrupp, Peter Bursch contribute to make this album an inspired progressive rock item with many acoustic ingredients added in a kind of fusion style. Hölderlins Traum is very fine for every prog folk lovers.

1. Waren Wir
2. Peter
3. Strohhalm
4. Reqiem Für Einen Wicht
5. Erwachen
6. Wetterbericht
7. Traum

Hölderlin - Hölderlins Traum (1972)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Spirit - Spirit (1968)

1968 debut from the US psychedelic rock band. A dark haunting classic album that contains "Fresh Garbage," "Uncle Jack," "Mechcanical World," and "Elijah" all laced with superb guitar work, vocal harmonies and production. Randy California's guitar is always in evidence, but it's the band interplay and sense of space that makes this one of the great debut albums of the genre.

The original lineup of the group was Randy California (guitars), Jay Ferguson (vocals), Mark Andess (bass), California's stepfather, drummer Ed Cassidy, and keyboard player John Locke. The new band was originally named the Spirits Rebellious (after a book by Khalil Gibran) but was soon shortened simply to Spirit. All but Locke had been part of the band The Red Roosters in 1965. California (then still known by his birth name of Randy Wolfe) had also played with Jimi Hendrix (then known as Jimmy James) in Jimmy James and the Blue Flames for three months in 1966.
Ed Cassidy is notable as one of the most accomplished drummers in rock and was instantly recognizable by his shaven head and proclivity to wear black. He was considerably older than the rest of the group (he was born in 1923). His earlier career was primarily in jazz and included stints with Cannonball Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Roland Kirk and Lee Konitz prior to joining Spirit, he was a founder member of Rising Sons with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder.
Following a period of gigging around Los Angeles, the group attained quite a reputation. Brian Berry, the brother of Jan Berry (of Jan & Dean), heard the group and made arrangements for them to record a demo. The demo eventually made its way into the hands of Lou Adler, who was in the process of forming a new record label, Ode Records, which was distributed by Epic Records.
The group's first album, Spirit, was released in 1968. Though it didn't spawn any hit singles (the track Mechanical World was released as a single [with a humorous label on the 45 which lists the playing time as merely being "very long", despite the fact that it is prematurely faded in order to shorten its length a bit], but it missed the Top 100), it was a substantial underground hit, making it to #31 on the charts and staying on the charts for over 8 months.

Following the relative success of their first album, they capitalized on it with a single, I Got A Line On You. Released slightly before their second album, The Family That Plays Together (which came out in November of 1968), it became their biggest hit single. They also went on tour that year, with Led Zeppelin opening for them (who were obviously listening to the headliners, as they were known to cover Fresh Garbage in concert, used the Theremin after seeing Randy use a model that he had mounted to his guitar, and would later appropriate the Spirit instrumental Taurus for their Stairway To Heaven.

Taken from Wikipedia


1. Fresh-Garbage
2. Uncle Jack
3. Mechanical World
4. Taurus
5. Girl In Your Eye
6. Straight Arrow
7. Topanga Windows
8. Gramophone Man
9. Water Woman
10. The Great Canyon Fire In General
11. Elijah
12. Veruska [Bonus]
13. Free Spirit [Bonus]
14. If I Had A Woman [Bonus]
15. Elijah [Alternate Take - Bonus]



Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava (1968)

Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava (1968)

Balaklava is one of the most extraordinary, sublime and sophisticated protest albums of 1968. To many, this album represents Tom Rapp's surrealist song-craft in perfection. Not a foot-stamping anti-Vietnam war album but a complex and psychedelic masterwork that touches on Tennyson and Tolkien in a sublime metaphorical fashion. Tom Rapp is among the most erudite, intellectual songwriters of the American '60s era.

The psychedelic folk band Pearls Before Swine was the brainchild of singer, composer and cult icon Tom Rapp, born in Bottineau, ND in 1947; after writing his first song at age six, he later began performing at local talent shows, and as a teen bested a young Bob Dylan at one such event. Upon relocating to Melbourne, FL, Rapp formed Pearls Before Swine in 1965, recruiting high school friends Wayne Harley, Lane Lederer and Roger Crissinger to record a demo which he then sent to the ESP-Disk label; the company quickly signed the group, and they soon travelled to New York to record their superb 1967 debut One Nation Underground, which went on to sell some 250,000 copies. The explicitly anti-war Balaklava, widely regarded as Pearls Before Swine's finest work, followed in 1968; the group -- by this time essentially comprising Rapp and whoever else was in the studio at the moment -- moved to Reprise for 1969's These Things Too, mounting their first-ever tour in the wake of releasing The Use of Ashes a year later. Two more albums, City of Gold and Beautiful Lies You Could Live In, followed in 1971; moving to Blue Thumb, Rapp resurfaced as a solo artist with 1972's Stardancer, but upon the release of Sunforest a year later he then retired from music, subsequently becoming a civil rights attorney. Frequently cited as a key influence by the likes of Damon & Naomi, the Bevis Frond and the Japanese psych band Ghost, Rapp made an unexpected return to live performance in mid-1998 when he appeared at the Terrastock festival in Providence, RI, joining son Dave and his indie-pop band Shy Camp; he soon began work on 1999's A Journal of the Plague Year, his first new LP in over two decades. Constructive Melancholy, a retrospective of Pearls Before Swine's tenure on Reprise, also appeared that same year. This sparked renewed interest in the band, with Water music releasing a box set of the Reprise material in 2003 (Jewels Were the Stars) as well as a set of unreleased demo and live recordings entitled The Wizard of Is. ESP also remastered and combined their first two albums as The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings in 2005.

Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide


1. Trumpeter Landfrey
2. Translucent Carriages
3. Images Of April
4. There Was A Man
5. I Saw The World
6. Guardian Angels
7. Suzanne
8. Lepers & Roses
9. Florence Nightingale
10. Ring Thing

Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava (1968)