The Pearls Before Swine, a late 1960s studio group, was basically one man called Tom Rapp, born in 1947 in Bottineau, North Dakota. He learned to play guitar from a countrysinger. The story goes that he once came second in a talent contest in Minnesota where a certain Robert Zimmerman was fifth. In the early sixties Tom Rapp lived in Melbourne, Florida. With some high school friends he recorded some songs which they send to the obscure avant-garde ESP DISK label in New York. To their own surprise the demo tape was found interesting, and they were invited to come to New York to make a recording. The first album recorded (One Nation Underground)was with the aid of various session musicians. The songs were about war, Vietnam, flower power, love and all those other things that made the sixties as we all know it. The second album 'Balaklava' became even more philosophic and mysterious. Tom Rapp's later work, although still inventive, embraced more conventional styles and showed a marked interest in country styles. In a six-year period (1967-1972) nine albums has been released with mystical lyrics and arrangements. Tom Rapp retired from music in 1975 and has since become a successful lawyer.
Few figures in the history of popular music are as deserving of the epithet "cult hero" as Thomas D. Rapp. His muse has been invoked in hushed tones whenever advocates of underground folkrock are gathered peacefully together for nigh-on thirty years now, for few things separate the wheat from the chaff as quickly as dropping the name Pearls Before Swine into a conversation amongst the supposedly knowledgeable.
Their mystical, innovative arrangements centred around Tom Rapp's politically acute, surreal lyrical observations of blood-letting, space travel, lepers and the abstract masquerading as love themes have long endeared them to adherents of the psychedelic, and yet until relatively recently - in 1992 in fact, when a small English magazine called The Ptolemaic Terrascope proudly published the first all-encompassing interview with Tom Rapp in twenty odd years - little was known about an artist who has either directly or indirectly influenced a whole lot more of what's gone down in today's music than you'd scarcely give him credit for, including innumerable figures as David Bowie, and the Velvet Underground.
Forgotten, overlooked, or just plain criminally ignored, the recorded legacy of Pearls Before Swine remains, and it's the objective of this site to restore interest in these folk-rock nuggets in order to get the original albums released from the vaults.