1968 album remastered. Also available on vinyl.
Released in late 1968, the second Pearls Before Swine record continued to deliver music with a preternatural sense of what the youth of America wanted to hear. ‘One Nation Underground’ had been a surprise hit when released in 1967 by the hipster free jazz indie label ESP, receiving an incredible organic response, with continuous underground radio play and sales. Coming from obscurity in Florida into a position of speaking to people everywhere, Tom Rapp and his bandmates felt emboldened to embark upon an evolved piece of record making.
The music of ‘Balaklava’ strips away the manic, post-garage band diversity of the first album, instead grounding the production around Tom Rapp’s guitar and singing, with the touches of instrumental colour all the more dramatic and striking. Producer Richard Alderson utilized breathy sweeps of reverb, sound effects, tape manipulation and spoken word recordings along with an array of instrumental overdubs including banjo, marimba, organ, clavinet, flute, English horn and strings (played by the band along with New York jazz session players Bill Salter and Al Schackman, plus The Fugs’ Lee Crabree and legendary saxophonist Joe Farrell, with Selwart Clarke and Warren Smith contributing string arrangements) to reach for the universal space sought in Tom Rapp’s meditative, existential songs.
Tom Rapp passed away while this album was being readied for re-release. While he spent the majority of his life working as a lawyer who practiced humanist, equal rights law - “60s law,” as he put it - for the benefit of many under represented people, his name will best be remembered and will forever be synonymous with the music of Pearls Before Swine. We are grateful to help in pushing this music forward toward the eternity it deserves. It goes without saying that this anniversary restoration of ‘Balaklava’ is dedicated to Tom’s memory. May he rest in peacefulness and live in the positivity that Pearls Before Swine bring to all who hear their music.