Sunday, January 22

'i have just come back from the land beyond the mountains, this is not a story i was told' : the music of tom rapp & pearls before swine

Psych / folk / outsider artist Tom Rapp's Pearls Before Swine project started off as a quietly successful cult, and subsequently transferred into first an increasingly ordinary and then obscure solo project, followed by 20+ years of actual obscurity, and a quietly miraculous comeback when the tides of musc shifted in the 90s.

The most successful act on the legendary ESP-Disc label in late 60s New York, Rapp and band released two quite astonishing albums of what at the time was something very hard to classify - and involved being comprehensively ripped off in the process - after a less eccentric, country folk tinged major label career into the mid 1970s, a disillusioned Rapp then quit music to become a civil rights lawyer.

For years he barely picked up his guitar again, convinced that he'd been forgotten, and that all his albums had quietly disappeared. Come the late 90s, and the strange, delicate, defiantly playful and psychedelic music of Rapp and cohorts - somewhere between Michael Hurley and Alastair Galbraith - is absolutely in tune with zeitgeist again.

Triumphant comeback? Well, perhaps. After a few festival performances, notably at legendary English psych fixture Ptolemaic Terrascope, and a new album, then it was back to work, specialising in research into defending clients who are the victims of discrimination.

Avant Gardening brings you selections from Rapp's back catalogue, stretching from Pearls Before Swine to the recent solo material.



1. Pearls Before Swine, 'Another Time' from Radio Pearls
2. Pearls Before Swine, 'Footnote' from These Things Too
3. Pearls Before Swine, 'Sail Away' from These Things Too
4. Pearls Before Swine, '(Oh Dear) Miss Morse' from One Nation Underground
5. Pearls Before Swine, 'Frog in the Window' from These Things Too (1969)
6. Pearls Before Swine, 'Trumpeter Landfrey' from Balaklava (1968)
7. Pearls Before Swine, 'Translucent Carriages' from Balaklava (1968)
8. Pearls Before Swine, 'Images of April' from Balaklava (1968)
9. Pearls Before Swine, 'Playmate' from One Nation Underground (1967)
10. Pearls Before Swine, 'Drop Out!' from One Nation Underground (1967)
11. Pearls Before Swine, 'Ring Thing' from Balaklava (1968)
12. Pearls Before Swine, 'Wizard of Is' from The Wizard of Is (1969)
13. Pearls Before Swine, 'The Jeweller' from The Wizard of Is (1970)
14. Pearls Before Swine, 'Look Into Her Eyes' from These Things Too (1969)
15. Pearls Before Swine, 'When The War Began' from Radio Pearls bootleg (1971)
16. Pearls Before Swine, 'Butterflies' from Beautiful Lies You Could Live In (1971)
17. Pearls Before Swine, 'Rocket Man' from The Wizard of Is (1972)
18. Pearls Before Swine, 'I Shall Be Released' from Live Pearls (1971)
19. Pearls Before Swine, 'Suzanne' from Pearls Before Swine (1968)
20. Pearls Before Swine, 'Bird on a Wire' from Beautiful Lies You Could Live In (1971)
21. Tom Rapp, 'After the Gold Rush' from This Note's For You Too! compilation (1999)
22. Pearls Before Swine, 'Love/ Sex' from The Wizard of Is (1972)
23. Tom Rapp, 'The Old Dope Peddler' live at Ptolemaic Terrascope (1997)
24. Tom Rapp, 'The Riegal' live at Ptolemaic Terrascope (2002)
25. Tom Rapp, 'Lesson of the 60s' from The Wizard of Is (1999)
26. Tom Rapp, 'Silver Apples' (a capella) from Journal of the Plague Year (2000)
27. Tom Rapp, 'The Swimmer (for Kurt Cobain)' from Journal of the Plague Year (2000)
28. Tom Rapp, 'Space' from Journal of the Plague Year (2000)
29. Pearls Before Swine, 'Full Fathom Five / I Shall Not Care' from The Wizard of Is (1971)
30. Pearls Before Swine, 'Crawling Towards Bethlehem' off The Wizard of Is (1972)
31. Pearls Before Swine, 'If You don't Want To (I Don't Mind)' off Radio Pearls (1971)
32. Pearls Before Swine, 'Ballad of an Amber Lady' from One Nation Underground (1967)

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