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S.F. Sorrow Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Dec. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Snapper Classics
  • ASIN: B00004TJWE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,588 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Released in 1968, S.F. Sorrow was The Pretty Thing's fourth studio album and one of the first ever concept rock records.

Overlooked by the band's label at the time (it was released in the same week as The White Album by The Beatles and the Rolling Stones' Beggar's Banquet), the album has stood the test of time, with several of the tracks still featuring in the band's live setlist. Some critics argue that the album had a great influence over The Who's own concept album Tommy.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Highly recommended. Make sure you buy the STEREO LIMITED EDITION GOLD CD VERSION (Snapper SDPCD 109)released 2000, not the mono one released 1998 on Original Masters.It's only a pound more and well worth it. It's been a personal favourite since I bought the original vinyl in 1968 and played it constantly, alongside Sgt.Pepper, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Axis Bold as Love and Music in a Dolls House(Family). It's been excellently remastered from the original tapes, sounding as fresh and dynamic as it did way back then.
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Format: Audio CD
The Pretty Things' 1968 album "S.F. Sorrow" did not cause much attention when it was originally released.

The band had already shown, with their previous album "Emotions", that they wanted to explore new grounds, and that they felt that the r&b concept was too limited for them.

"Emotions" showed that the band possesed excellent songwriters in Wally Allen, Phil May and Dick Taylor. Unfortunately the production of that album was not too successful; at least at the time it was considered as some kind of a "disaster".

This is not the case with the follow-up album "S.F. Sorrow". The sound is great and Norman Smith's production captured the new psychedelic sounds and trends of the late 1960's perfectly.

"S.F. Sorrow" is a concept album, which tells the sad story of the life of S.F. Sorrow. The idea of doing rock concept album was very new at this time. And Pretty Things were among the very first to come up with a rock album; but in my opinion this is not what makes "S.F. Sorrow" a classic album. The album's strength is clearly the music; though the story is quite interesting too.

The catchy "S.F. Sorrow", driven by great acoustic guitars, gives the album the perfect start. The song almost has hit-record potentials.

The musically more complex "Bracelets" follows. It's a song in the same vein as their great "progressive" 1967 single "Defecting Grey". The song did not make it to the charts, but I remember that it got some airplay here in Denmark in 1967-68. The song is featured here as a bonus-track.

"She Says Good Morning" indicates that the Pretty Things were also inspired by the Beatles' "Revolver" album.

"Private Sorrow" is another great track - the flute and the acoustic guitars almost sounding like Jethro Tull.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
'SF Sorrow', as many have noted is one of the great lost-albums of the era - it deserves to be ranked alongside such albums as 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' & 'Sgt Pepper'- & belongs to a wider range of psychedelic-classics such as 'Odessey & Oracle' (The Zombies),'Surrealistic Pillow' (Jefferson Airplane)& 'Younger Than Yesterday' (The Byrds). It's also one of the first concept-albums - without it, I'm not sure if any of the following would exist: 'Tommy', 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway', 'The Dark Side of the Moon', 'Diamond Dogs', 'The Wall' etc (this may or may not be a good thing for some...).
'SF Sorrow' seems to completely define that British-take on psychedelia - producer Norman Smith ('Arnold Layne', 'See Emily Play') perfectly captures these perfect songs as The Pretty Things psych'd-out!!! The original-thirteen tracks are remastered & blend together wonderfully; while the four-bonus tracks include the bizarre see-sawing-schizo-epic 'Defecting Grey' (drifting from raga to psych to full-on lo-fi punk & off into sinister drones that the Floyd would borrow heavily from) & 'Talkin' About the Good Times'- which sounds like a mellowier-Who...
The album itself is perfect, every track a killer- I wonder why it hasn't been sampled to death by some pioneering electronicartist? It sounds even better than the post-modern sixties stylings of The Dukes of Stratosphear & The Wondermints- possibly as it was the real thing (...just sadly overlooked at the time). 'Baron Saturday' is probably my favourite- having loops that remind me of M83 & DJ Shadow, a percussive-middle that reminds me of Can's 'Halleluwah' & a Lennonesque-vocal that cuts across the Sydesque one!
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Format: Audio CD
I have never understood why this album had so little impact. Its been quoted as Pete Townshend's influence for Tommy etc etc but still gets ignored. Its not a typical Pretty Things album. It was sandwiched between their mid-sixties R&B and the much harder feel of 1968's "Parachute", yet its strongest element is the melodies that light up every song. There's not a weak track on it, its superbly played and sung, and it manages to tell a story without feeling awkward. Many groups have made a fortune out of crud. The Prettys produced a diamond and still haven't made it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought the lp to impress a dwarf and a pair of Siamese trapeze artistes and a strongman and a sword swallower I was tiring to hook up with a couple of seasons ago out by the bluff but it all backfired on me when the sheriff got wind of my moonshine operation after hearing me play the tittle track a little loudly in back of my place. When I get out of this place I swear I'm a gonna get that sonofagun.
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Format: Audio CD
The Pretty Things' "S.F. Sorrow" didn't exactly set the world on fire when it was released and, like a few albums from that era, was only recognised by the world as an important record of its time some decades later. Released the same week as The Beatles' "White" Album and another truly great album which virtually got ignored at the time, The Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society", "S. F. Sorrow" is reputedly the first rock opera, ever. It tells the story of Sebastian F. Sorrow from birth ("S.F. Sorrow Is Born") to his demise, via work, love ("She Says Good Morning"), war ("Private Sorrow"), the death of his fiancée ("Balloon Burning" and "Death"), psychedelic trips ("Baron Saturday"), self-discovery ("The Journey" and "I See You") and depression ("Loneliest Person").

It's certainly a very innovative piece of work and was a ground-breaking album at the time in terms of structure and ambition. Do I actually think it's any good, though? Well, I certainly don't think it's one of the greatest albums of all time, as many people seem to. Musically, it's a little uninspiring and repetitive in places and its real appeal lies in the rich, interesting lyrics, although some songs stand out such as "Private Sorrow" which has a Jethro Tull feel to it, the bouncy "Baron Saturday" has a great hook and "Loneliest Person" has a vulnerable pathos which makes it the easiest song on the whole album to connect with on an emotional level. Oddly enough, the bonus tracks on my CD edition, such as the early Pink Floyd-sounding "Defecting Grey" and the more straight-forward poppy psychedelia of "Walking Through My Dreams" are amongst the most enjoyable tracks on this re-issue.

I suppose, when it comes down to it, there are other albums and groups from the same era I much prefer.
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