Pearls Before Swine

The Wizard of Is

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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

San Francisco's Water Records has certainly done right by Tom Rapp and Pearls Before Swine. Not only has the label reissued its Warner Bros. recordings in their entirety individually and as a box set, it has now come up with this 44-track, two-disc collection of rarities and live recordings from 1967-1976. This is a mighty artifact indeed. The first disc contains all sorts of demos and strange little live recordings. Some were made at home by the first edition of the band with Elisabeth Rapp and Wayne Harley, some are solo (including a stunningly beautiful original recording of "Butterflies"), some are with later incarnations, some are with notable musicians like David Bromberg ("City of Gold" and "Mary, Mary"), and some are Nashville session demos. There is also a slew of cover version demos, including highly original readings of Bob Dylan's "Oh Sister," Randy Newman's "Sail Away," Joni Mitchell's "Real Good for Free," the Spector and Bates classic "There's No Other (Like My Baby)," Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," and even Jacques Brel's "Love, You're Not Alone," along with poems by Shakespeare, W.H. Auden, and Sara Teasdale that Rapp set to music. Disc two features live recordings from a Goddard College show featured in its entirety as well as a Netherlands Radio performance and a performance from the Choate School in 1972. There is also a cut -- "Lesson of the 60s" -- recorded at Terrastock in 1999. Fans will no doubt find a treasure trove of material here; some exists on bootlegs, but it's awesome to have the cleaned-up quality of the material available officially. The sound, given the wildly varying nature of the tapes, is surprisingly good and the music is truly inspired. Rapp gave listeners no dregs here; this is a fascinating and compelling collection of tapes from the catalog of a genuine musical enigma.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Pearls Before Swine 02:24 SpotifyAmazon
2 Pearls Before Swine 02:48 SpotifyAmazon
3 Pearls Before Swine 06:01 SpotifyAmazon
4 Pearls Before Swine 03:44 SpotifyAmazon
5 Pearls Before Swine 03:30 SpotifyAmazon
6 Pearls Before Swine 03:36 SpotifyAmazon
7 Pearls Before Swine 02:03 SpotifyAmazon
8 Pearls Before Swine feat: David Bromberg 02:39 SpotifyAmazon
9 Pearls Before Swine feat: David Bromberg 01:51 SpotifyAmazon
10 Pearls Before Swine 03:08 SpotifyAmazon
11 Pearls Before Swine 01:48 SpotifyAmazon
12 Pearls Before Swine 02:19 SpotifyAmazon
13 Pearls Before Swine 03:10 SpotifyAmazon
14 Pearls Before Swine 02:37 SpotifyAmazon
15 Pearls Before Swine 00:51 SpotifyAmazon
16 Pearls Before Swine 03:22 SpotifyAmazon
17 Pearls Before Swine feat: David Bromberg 01:24 SpotifyAmazon
18 Pearls Before Swine 02:13 SpotifyAmazon
19 Pearls Before Swine 04:05 SpotifyAmazon
20 Pearls Before Swine 03:33 SpotifyAmazon
21 Pearls Before Swine 01:30 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Pearls Before Swine 02:39 SpotifyAmazon
2 Pearls Before Swine 03:52 SpotifyAmazon
3 Pearls Before Swine 01:34 SpotifyAmazon
4 Pearls Before Swine 03:21 SpotifyAmazon
5 Pearls Before Swine 01:54 SpotifyAmazon
6 Pearls Before Swine 01:50
7 Pearls Before Swine 03:47 SpotifyAmazon
8 Pearls Before Swine 01:39 SpotifyAmazon
9 Pearls Before Swine 02:53 SpotifyAmazon
10 Pearls Before Swine 02:47 SpotifyAmazon
11 Pearls Before Swine 02:47 SpotifyAmazon
12 Pearls Before Swine 02:22 SpotifyAmazon
13 Pearls Before Swine 05:26 SpotifyAmazon
14 Pearls Before Swine 01:19 SpotifyAmazon
15 Pearls Before Swine 02:54 SpotifyAmazon
16 Pearls Before Swine 02:53 SpotifyAmazon
17 Pearls Before Swine 01:39 SpotifyAmazon
18 Pearls Before Swine 04:32 SpotifyAmazon
19 Pearls Before Swine 03:54 SpotifyAmazon
20 Pearls Before Swine 00:43 SpotifyAmazon
21 Pearls Before Swine 02:57 SpotifyAmazon
22 Pearls Before Swine 02:30 SpotifyAmazon
23 Pearls Before Swine 03:56 SpotifyAmazon
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