11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2004
Pearls Before Swine's 1968 epic Balaklava is the brilliant follow-up to One Nation Underground. A defiant condemnation of the Vietnam War, songwriter, Tom Rapp vented his anger through surrealist poetry: Balaklava was the 1854 Crimean War battle that inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson to write his epic The Charge of the Light Brigade; in reality, the "Charge" was a senseless military action that killed scores of British soldiers. Balaklava begins with "Trumpeter Landfrey," an 1880's recording of the voice and bugle charge of the man who sounded the charge at Balaklava. It goes into "Translucent Carriages," a mix of acoustic guitars, vocal and ghostly narration - stunning. "Images of April" continues the mystical feel, combining flutes, cricket chirps, and frog croaks. Rapp cries "I Saw the World," backed by a powerful string arrangement that makes the song even more impassioned. Guardian Angel is sung over a scratchy old 78 record and is suitably haunting. This is superb psychedelic music, successfully merging exotic instruments like marimba, clavinet, French horn and swinehorn with Rapp's unique lisping vocals. Balaklava isn't background music. It's indispensable to any serious '60s rock collection.