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Balaklava Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 July 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Esp
  • ASIN: B000068FS1
  • Other Editions: Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 675,439 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  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 And Roses
  9. Florence Nightingale...
  10. Ring Thing

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful. Real fine. 4 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a good example of something from a specific musical era that holds up over time. Tom Rapp writes and sings with an unmistakable passion; songs like "Translucent Carriages" and "I Saw A Man" are, quite simply, good SONGS, sung WELL, not just moldy psychedelic-folk relics. PBS even do a pretty decent cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." Their version, if you're old enough to remember a time when everybody and their sister was singing it, is a reminder of how good a song it always was. This album is like those of Nick Drake or Tim Buckley; it comes from someplace private and personal, yet sounds universal when you listen to it. A gem.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly more gimmicky than first, but still good. 7 Aug. 2005
By B. Marold - Published on
Format: Audio CD
`Pearls Before Swine' and `Balaklava', both by the Tom Rapp lead group, Pearls Before Swine, are, like The Doors first two albums, cut from the same `acid folk' cloth and are both responsible for establishing Rapp as a cult artist of the first order.

I `discovered' `Pearls Before Swine' in my Fugs period when I sought out other artists distributed on ESP disk. The item which cemented my devotion to Rapp was the last track on `Balaklava', being the brief J. R. R. Tolkien poem laying out the story of the rings of power from `Lord of the Rings'. This was during the second of three waves of Tolkien popularity when `The Hobbit' and `The Lord of the Rings' were first published in paperback.

On looking at Rapp's biography in the notes to these two disks, I am wondering why Rapp did so poorly in comparison to his near folk singing songwriter contemporary, Bob Dylan. Both are of about the same age and both were born and raised in the far northern central US. And, both latched onto the protest of the 1960s as their primary subject.

It's probably not all that difficult, really. Dylan had an iconic name, his record company was Columbia, his producer was John Hammond, he effectively established himself as the successor to Woody Guthrie, and he performed widely in some of New York City's most famous folk clubs. Against that kind of momentum, it's easy to see how Dylan even outstripped Guthrie's own son in popularity. And that doesn't even touch on the fact that Dylan wrote great songs. Oh, and Dylan didn't sing with a lisp.

Getting back to Rapp, his songwriting is good enough to get early attention, but he and his group also rely on just a few too many gimmicks more at home on ESP disk than on a Columbia release. `Balaklava', for example, has three short tracks dedicated to very old recordings of survivors from the battle of Balaklava which is most famous for the ill-fated charge of the light brigade. Even their performance of Leonard Cohen's `Suzanne' is something of a cliché, as the song was done by just about everyone after Judy Collins' initial performance.

In spite of all these things which detract from these albums, I am very happy to have these 1960's relics on CD so I can preserve my vinyl copies in good condition. I recommend these to anyone interested in the major cult classics from the `60's and early `70's popular music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more like 4 and1/2 19 Aug. 2005
By Henry Charles - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I bought this for the cover back in "68. It turned out to be one my all time favorites. Check out RING THING- it simply oozes Tolkien. Note to Warzog-Balaclava was fought 39 years after Waterloo and Napoleon, albeit the third, was a winner.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's All AA'ight 29 Mar. 2005
By Imogen - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Great Album. Translucent Carriages is a beautiful song with amazingly conceived lyrics. Dreamy atmospherics abound. Good use of your laundry money if you enjoy Syd Barret, Tim Buckley, or Robert Wyatt.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Triumph of its Time 3 April 2005
By Yapper - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Simply a great album. A totally complete work.

Like death, it Triumphs as time moves on.

Kudos to Breughel the Elder, Kudos to Rapp.

The best Pearls Before Swine work without a doubt.
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