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Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)

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Pearls Before Swine/Tom Rapp (4)
Pearls Before Swine? (13)

Phil Cooper 15 Feb 18 - 10:17 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 16 Feb 18 - 08:12 PM
Phil Cooper 16 Feb 18 - 10:16 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 17 Feb 18 - 07:51 PM
Phil Cooper 17 Feb 18 - 10:13 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 18 Feb 18 - 11:35 PM
Phil Cooper 20 Feb 18 - 10:20 PM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 18 - 02:23 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 21 Feb 18 - 09:27 AM
Phil Cooper 21 Feb 18 - 10:29 PM
Thomas Stern 22 Feb 18 - 04:13 PM
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Subject: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 10:17 PM

My friend, Paul Stamler, posted a New York Times Obit on facebook saying that songwriter Tom Rapp has passed away at the age of 70. I had most of the Pearls Before Swine LP's and re-bought many as CD's. As a word oriented person, I loved his songs. I found them thought provoking. I could go on about what I thought was special about the albums. I saw Tom Rapp perform in Evanston, Illinois in 1974 at Amazing Grace Coffeehouse and was enthralled by the performance.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 08:12 PM

Very sad. I have all the PEarls Before Swine albums plus his two wonderful solo albums. And his last one, Journal of the Plague Years, from 1999---a wonderful return! For the last 18 years I was hoping for another comeback album. I guess its not to be.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:16 PM

I thought Plague Years was a great return to music album. The one time I saw him perform, I thought his stories and introductions to the songs were hilarious. Considering how thoughtful the songs were I thought it was a good balance.

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Subject: RE: Obit:Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 07:51 PM


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Subject: RE: Obit:Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 10:13 PM

Thanks for posting the rolling stone link, Larry.

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Subject: RE: Obit:Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 11:35 PM

One of the most powerful and beautiful anti-war songs ever written. Tom Rapp and Pearls Before Swine from what I think was one of the finest records ever released...The Use of Ashes.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 20 Feb 18 - 10:20 PM

I first heard this song the one time I saw Tom perform. On the recording, it's dedicated to the memory of Kurt Cobain, but I heard it in 1974, so I know it's older than that. Not sure if my link skills are up to it, but here it is: hope you can access it.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 18 - 02:23 AM

YouTube has a lot of Pearls Before Swine recordings.

Here's the obituary from the New York Times:

Tom Rapp, Lead of Pearls Before Swine, Dies at 70.


Tom Rapp, who founded Pearls Before Swine, an eclectic band much loved by aficionados of underground music in the 1960s and ’70s, then became a civil rights lawyer, only to take an encore after being out of music for 20 years, died on Sunday at his home in Melbourne, Fla. He was 70.

The cause was cancer, his son, David, said.

Mr. Rapp was not yet 20 in 1966 when, as a lark, he and a few friends sent a demo tape to ESP-Disk, an adventurous record company whose roster included the Fugs, an underground rock band known for humor and bawdiness.

“We said: ‘You have the Fugs. We’re not just like the Fugs, but you might be interested,’ ” he recalled in an interview for Jason Weiss’s book “Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America” (2012). “And they immediately sent a letter or a telegram. ‘Yeah, come sign up with us, do a record!’ It was easier in those days, apparently, to get on a record.”

The result was “One Nation Underground,” released in 1967, which became a favorite on college and underground radio. The album is full of unusual instruments and was recorded in four days, primarily at Impact Sound in New York.

“They recorded all kinds of things,” Mr. Rapp said of Impact Sound, “so there were lots of different instruments at the studio — Middle Eastern groups and everything — so any kind of instrument in the world seemed to be right there, and we were allowed to use them. A lot of it was just impromptu.”

A second album, “Balaklava,” came in 1968, and others followed, Mr. Rapp being the constant in an ever-changing band lineup, writing the songs, singing and playing assorted instruments.

“The Florida-born Swine are not easy to describe,” Paul Nelson wrote in The New York Times in 1968. “Like Country Joe and the Fish, a well-known Berkeley band, they are either so simple they are complex or so complex they are simple.”

The group switched to the Reprise label after two records, and Mr. Rapp eventually went solo, on albums like “Sunforest” (1973). But he then changed course radically, leaving music, enrolling in college and in the early 1980s receiving a degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

“I wanted to do something more real, with a more direct effect on people,” he told Knight-Ridder Newspapers in 1987, by which time he was working for a Philadelphia law firm, handling cases involving matters like workplace discrimination.

But he returned to performing in 1997, and he continued to make occasional appearances after that. In 1999 he released a new solo album, “A Journal of the Plague Year.”

“I got into a 12-step program for reclusivity,” he explained to an audience at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan in 1997. “This is my 12th step.”

Thomas Dale Rapp was born on March 8, 1947, in Bottineau, N.D. His parents, Dale and Eileen, were both teachers.

He grew up in North Dakota, Minnesota and Florida, where he graduated from Eau Gallie High School, just north of Melbourne, in 1965.

The songs he wrote for Pearls Before Swine might be antiwar, like “Uncle John” from the first album, released in the midst of the Vietnam War:

With your chamber-of-commerce soul

You talk of war so bold

God is on our side, but

He’s lost in your wallet fold.

Or they could be airy, or humorous, or mysterious. “Space folkies,” one writer called the band, and its sound was variously described as “acid folk,” “hippie folk” and “psychedelic rock.” Mr. Rapp had his own description.

“I like to write about the old things — old myths and legends, Valhalla, elves and dwarfs, magic rings and magic men,” he told The New York Times in 1968. “If you really want to give our particular sound a name, how about ‘transcendental rock’?”

Among Mr. Rapp’s claims to fame is “Rocket Man,” a song from Pearls Before Swine’s 1970 album, “The Use of Ashes.” It is said to have been among the inspirations for the Elton John hit of the same name.

Pearls Before Swine sold a decent number of records for a non-Top 40 group, but Mr. Rapp said he never made any money off the band, for various reasons, including being mishandled by a shady producer. He told The Washington Post that in 1976, figuring any future songwriting and performing would just enrich other people, he quit the music business and got a job in Cambridge, Mass., selling popcorn at a theater.

“I knew at the end of the week, every single week, I would get $85,” he said. “I was insane with joy.”

He eventually enrolled at Brandeis University, graduating in the late 1970s, and then law school.

“I think of myself as doing ’60s law,” he said in the 1987 interview. “The major body of law I do is discrimination. Most of the major statutes in my field come out of the 1960s.”

But thanks to the internet and some album reissues, new fans continued to find his music, and in 1997 he was invited to appear at the Terrastock Festival in Providence, R.I. It was the start of a mini-resurgence. Last year saw a 50th-anniversary reissue of “One Nation Underground.”

Mr. Rapp’s first marriage, to Elisabeth Joosten in 1968, ended in divorce in the mid-1970s. His second marriage, to Susan Hein, also ended in divorce. In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, Lynn Madison, whom he married in 1995; two sisters, Kathy Parks and Patty Lent; and a granddaughter.

Mr. Rapp once told the story of being on the bill at a Philadelphia concert sandwiched between two other acts. He was told that because of a scheduling blunder he would have only one minute to play. The promoter said he could collect his pay and simply leave, but Mr. Rapp claimed his 60 seconds.

“I said, ‘I can do a one-minute show, and I can get a standing ovation,’ ” he recalled in the 1987 interview. He took the stage and played nothing, instead simply saying, “Would you please stand up and applaud if you think he’s guilty?”

It was 1974, when President Richard M. Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate investigation.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 21 Feb 18 - 09:27 AM

Thanks for posting that, Joe. I'm really curious, Phil, about the 1974 version you heard of The Swimmer----as I thought he had written that for Kurt Cobain for his comeback album (Journal of the Plague Years). Where do you think you heard it in 1974?

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Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 21 Feb 18 - 10:29 PM

I heard him sing it at Amazing Grace Coffeehouse in Evanston, Illinois the time I saw him perform in 1974. I was struck by the song and was hoping it would be on his next album. Little thinking that that would be years later. He appeared at Amazing Grace after Sunforest was released. So, I'm pretty sure Cobain was not on his radar back then. It's appropriate for the dedication on Journal of the Plague Years. The first set he played (a bit of thread drift here) only four songs, but had a lot of stories about growing up in Catholic schools and church camps. The songs he played that set were Blind Fish, Rocket Man, Love/Sex, and Star Dancer. The second set, he played more songs because he said some people had asked for some of the older songs. He repeated a couple of the first set songs and also did Amber Lady and I Shall Not Care. Because of the heaviness of the songs, I was surprised at how funny the between song patter was.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine (1947-2018)
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 22 Feb 18 - 04:13 PM

sorry to hear Tom Rapp has died - he wrote some very moving and
insightful songs, enjoyed his recordings for years.

Condolences to family, friends and fans.

The DIRTY LINEN No.50, Feb/Mar 1994 interview is available online:
Tom Rapp & Pearls Before Swine by Lahri Bond

Below is a list of the recordings I am aware of. Corrections,
additions much appreciated. Thanks.


ESP-Disk 1054 One Nation Underground                LP 1967
ESP 4554 Morning Song / Drop Out!                   45 1967
ADELPHI 4111 Best of Pearls Before Swine          2-LP 1980
ESP 4003 The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings         2-CD 2005

Another Time
Ballad To An Amber Lady
(Oh Dear) Miss Morse
Drop Out!
Morning Song
Regions Of May
Uncle John
I Shall Not Care
The Surrealist Waltz

ESP-DISK 1075 Balaklava                            LP 1968 Stereo
ESP 4576 I Saw The World / Images of April       45 1968
FONTANA(UK) STL5503 Balaklava                      LP 1968
FONTANA(UK) 279 250 TF   Suzanne / There Was A Man 45 1969
PINK ELEPHANT PE 877.074                            LP 19xx 70's?
ADELPHI 4111 Best of Pearls Before Swine         2-LP 1980
GET BACK(It) GET 1010                               LP 1998 180gram
ESP 4003 The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings       2-CD 2005

Trumpeter Landfrey
Translucent Carriages
Images Of April
There Was A Man
I Saw The World
Guardian Angels
Lepers And Roses
Florence Nightingale
Ring Thing

ESP albums also reissued by BASE(Italy) Lp; ZYX(Germany) CD and others
PLEASE PROVIDE Catalog Numbers, Issue date ???????????????

REPRISE RS 6364 PEARLS BEFORE SWINE These Things Too      LP 1969
REPRISE 0873 These Things Too / If You Don't Want To      45 1969
WATER MUSIC UPC: 0646315720020 Jewels Were The Stars 4-CD Box 2003
Produced by RICHARD ALDERSON with Jim Fairs
A1 Footnote (Rapp-Auden)
A2 Sail Away (Tom Rapp)
A3 Look Into Her Eyes (Tom Rapp)
A4 I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan)
A5 Frog in The Window (Reprise) (Tom Rapp)
A6 I'm Going To City (Tom Rapp)
A7 Man in the Tree (Tom Rapp)
B1 If You Don'T Want To (I Don'T Mind)
B2 Green & Blue
B3 Mon Amour
B4 Wizard Of Is
B5 Frog In The Window
B6. When I Was A Child
B7 These Things Too

REPRISE RS 6405 Pearls Before Swine The Use Of Ashes      LP 1970
REPRISE 0949 The Jeweller / Rocket Man                   45 1970
WATER MUSIC UPC: 0646315720020 Jewels Were The Stars 4-CD Box 2003

the jeweler
from the movie of the same name
rocket man
god save the child
song about a rose
tell me why
the old man
when the war began

REPRISE RS 6442 Pearls Before Swine-City of Gold       LP 1971                            WATER MUSIC UPC: 0646315720020 Jewels Were The Stars 4-CD Box 2003      
Thos. Rapp


REPRISE RS 6467 Beautiful Lies You Could Live In - Pearls Before Swine      LP 1971
WATER MUSIC UPC: 0646315720020   Jewels Were The Stars                   4-CD Box 2003 booklet

A1 Snow Queen
A2 Life
A3 Butterflies
A4 Simple Things
A5 Everybody's Got Pain
B1 Bird On A Wire(Leonard Cohen)
B2 Island Lady (Tom Rapp)
B3 COme To Me (Tom Rapp)
B4 Freedom (Tom Rapp)
B5 She's Gone (Tom Rapp)
B6 EPitaph (E.E.Houseman-Elizabeth Rapp)

WILDCAT WCD0815   LIVE PEARLS 1971               CD 2008, 2010 ???
live at Exit Coffeehouse, Yale University, New Haven, CT., 1971
Recorded by Walter Wagoner
restored, mixed and mastered by Joe Phillips, WildCat Records
Produced by Joe Phillips

1        Introduction        
2        Another Time        
3        Island Lady        
4        Sign On The Window
Written-By – B. Dylan*
5        Freedom
Written-By – N. Young*
6        Margery        
7        Bird On A Wire
Written-By – L. Cohen*
8        I Shall Be Released
Written-By – B. Dylan*
9        The Jeweler        
10        The Riegal        
11        Simple Things        
12        Did You Dream        
13        There Was A Man        
14        Okie From Musgokee
Written-By – M. Haggard*
15        There's A Broken Heart        
16        When The War Began        
17        A Life        
18        Rocket Man        
19        Suzanne
Written-By – L. Cohen*

REPRISE MS 2969    FAMILIAR SONGS                LP 1972
REPRISE                                           CD 2003

Grace Street (3:05)
The Jeweler (3:26)
Rocket Man (3:01)
Snow Queen (3:42)
If You Don't Want To (I Don't Mind) (3:14)
Charley And The Lady (3:19)
Margery (3:08)
Medley: Full Phantom Five; I Shall Not Care (2:54)
These Things Too (3:37)
Sail Away (3:45)

BLUE THUMB BTS-44 Stardancer                            LP 1972
BLUE THUMB 222 Marshall / Why Should I Care?            45 1972
LEMON(CHERRY RED RECORDS, UK) CDLEM 128                  CD 2009
Producer: Peter H. Edmiston

1. Stardancer
2. Marshall
3. Why Should I Care [from the Entertainer]
4. Touch Tripping
5. Ans, Les
6. Fourth Day of July
7. For the Dead in Space
8. Baptist, The
9. Summer of '55
10. Tiny Song

BLUE THUMB BTS-56 Sunforest                   LP 1972
EDSEL (UK) EDCD 548                            CD 1998
LEMON (Cherry Red, UK) CDLEM 129                CD 2009
Tom Rapp - Pearls Before Swine

1. Comin' Back
2. Prayers of Action
3. Forbidden City
4. Love/Sex
5. Harding Street
6. Blind River
7. Someplace to Belong
8. Sunforest
9. Sunshine & Charles

ADELPHI 4111 Best of Pearls Before Swine            2-LP 1980
reissue of ESP 1054, 1075 DETAILS LISTED ABOVE

PTOLEMAIC TERRASCOPE Magazine POT-15                7" EP 1993
The Cowboy Who Ate Vietnam
Ring Thing (alt.)

PTOLEMAIC TERRASCOPT Magazine POT-21             7" EP 1996
"Blind" Master Pete Capitol And His Magic

MAGIC EYE SINGLES MES-012                      CD 1997
For The Dead In Space - V/A Pearls Before Swine TRIBUTE
Interpretations of the work of Tom Rapp and Pearls Before Swine

01 Tono-Bungay - Morning Song Footnote
02 Flying Saucer Attack - Space (The Man Who Fell To Earth)
03 Metronome - Green And Blue
04 Fit & Limo - Surrealist Waltz
05 Carl Edwards - There Was A Man
06 Townies - (Oh Dear) Miss Morse
07 Masaki Batoh - Images Of April
08 Alchemysts - Drop Out!
09 Damon & Naomi - Translucent Carriages
10 Bevis Front - Lepers And Roses
11 Kitchen Cynics - Stardancer
12 Towei Recordings - I Saw The World
13 Shy Camp - Love Sex
14 Mourning Cloak - I Shall Not Care
15 Tom Rapp - Hopelessly Romantic   UNRELEASED 1971
16 Half Calf With Plexorjet - For The Dead In Space
17 Shy Camp - Another Time

BIRDMAN BMR-021                                 CD 1999
Pearls Before Swine ?– Constructive Melancholy - 30 Years Of Pearls Before Swine

1        I Saw The World/Another Time        4:56
2        Rocket Man        3:03
3        The Jeweler        2:47
4        From The Movie Of The Same Name        2:17
5        Raindrops        2:02
6        Love/Sex (Radio Show 1972)        2:30
7        Look Into Her Eyes        4:34
8        Sail Away        3:07
9        The Old Man        3:16
10        The Wizard Of Is        3:34
11        Once Upon A Time        2:35
12        Sonnet 65        0:44
13        Casablanca        2:26
14        City Of Gold        3:00
15        Miss Morse Update        0:41
16        Froggle        1:21
17        Everybody´s Got Pain        2:46
18        Song About A Rose        2:20
19        She´s Gone        2:12
20        The Wedding        1:41
21        Margery        2:58
22        Snow Queen        3:56
23        If You Don´t Want To, I Don´t Mind        3:19
24        The Riegal        3:10
25        These Things Too        3:30
26        Green & Blue        0:26

RUBRIC RU 04                               CD 1999
WORONZOW(UK) WOO 35                         LP, CD 2000
A Journal Of The Plague Year

Silver Apples (A Cappella)        
The Swimmer (For Kurt Cobain)        
Hopelessly Romantic        
Running In My Dream        
Wedding Song        
Silver Apples II (For Simeon)

SECRET EYE                            2-CD 2003
For The Dead In Space, Vols. 2 & 3
1. Ballad to an Amber Lady - Marissa Nadler
2. Suojelusenkeli - Kemialliset Ystavat
3. Blind River - The Olivetree
4. Uncle John - Bardo Pond
5. From the Movie of the Same Name - Aquarium Poppers
6. Snow Queen - Gentle Tasaday
7. Regions of May - Noxagt
8. When I Was a Child - Makoto Kawabata
9. Sail Away - Oren Ambarchi
10. Prayers of Action - Prydwyn
11. Epitaph - Fursaxa
12. Wizard of Is - Black Forest/Black Sea
13. Les Ans - Kitchen Cynics
14. City of Gold - James Jackson Toth

1. Frog in the Window - David Rapp
2. These Things Too - Aspera
3. Look Into Her Eyes - Bevel
4. Riegal - Monster Island
5. Rocket Man - Ron Chelsvig
6. Mars - Adrian Shaw
7. Fourth Day of July - Thurston Moore/Mike Watt
8. Everybody's Got Pain - Alastair Galbraith
9. Raindrops - Green Crown
10. Song About a Rose - Dead Raven Choir
11. Rign Thing - Stone Breath
12. Man in the Tree - Cauldron
13. Forbidden City - Mutter
14. Translucent Carriages - Pearls Before Swine

WATER MUSIC UPC: 0646315720020   Jewels Were The Stars             4-CD Box 2003 booklet
reissue of REPRISE albums 1969-1971, 'These Things Too','The Use Of Ashes','City Of Gold', 'Beautiful Lies You Could Live In'.
book of photos, posters and liner notes by Lenny Kaye, Savage Pencil, Byron Coley, Joe Phillips, Mitch Myers and interviews with Tom Rapp and Elisabeth.
includes 70p booklet, 20p booklet in each CD.

WATER MUSIC UPC: 64631 57136 26   The Wizard Of Is       2-CD 2004
rarities and live recordings from 1967-1976
Disc 1
1. Where Is Love
2. Butterflies
3. Love, You Are Not Alone
4. Grace Street
5. Translucent Carriages
6. Space
7. Sail Away
8. City of Gold
9. Song About a Rose
10. For Free
11. Roadside Hotel
12. Prisoner of War
13. Wizard of Is
14. Oh Sister
15. Lincoln Dream, The
16. Can't Go Back
17. Mary Mary
18. Going to the City
19. Rocket Man
20. Riegal
21. Just Let the Grass Grow

Disc 2
1. Everybody's Got Pain
2. Amber Lady / I Saw The World
3. Crawling Towards Bethlehem
4. Translucent Carriages
5. Miss Morse
6. There's No Other
7. Island Lady
8. Frog in the Window
9. Morning
10. Riegal
11. Full Fathom Five / I Shall Not Care
12. Marshall
13. Footnote / When War Began
14. Jesus
15. Anothertyme
16. Rocket Man
17. Crewman
18. Suzanne
19. Prayers Of Action / Candle
20. Lesson of the 60s
21. Rocket Man
22. Jeweler, The
23. If You Don't Want to (I Don't Mind)

WILDCAT WCD0815                              CD 2008, 2010 ???
Live Pearls
live at Exit Coffeehouse, Yale University, New Haven, CT., 1971

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