The Beat of the Earth
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1966-67)
- Ron Collins Jr. -- keyboards
- Karen Darby -- vocals, percussion, guitar
- James (J.R.) Nichols -- guitar
- Phil Pearlman -- vocals, guitar
- Phil Phillips --
- Sherry Phillips --
- Morgan Chapman -- roadie, electrician
- Brotherhood (Ron Collins Jr.)
- Drainpipe (J.R. Nichols)
- The Electronic Hole (Phil Pearlman)
- Friendsound (Ron Collins Jr.)
- Phil & the Flakes (Phil Pearlman)
- The Jayhawk Band (J.R. Nichols)
- The Quirk (J.R. Nichols)
- Relatively Clean Rivers (Phil Pearlman)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: This Record Is an Artistic Statement
Country/State: Orange Beach, California
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Catalog ID: 2819
This rare psychedelic era relic isn't going to appeal to everyone. In fact there's a good chance that some psych fans are going to find the album too one sided and plodding for their tastes.
For anyone interested in learning more about the band, I have one suggestion - the Late Patrick Lundborg (aka The Lama), was a Swedish writer with a life long fascination in psychedelic culture. One of his favorite bands happened to be The Beat f the Earth. Lundborg undertook extensive research on the band and even tracked down former band member Karen Darby for an extended interview. His work can be found at: http://www.lysergia.com/LamaWorkshop/Bote/lamaBeatOfTheEarth.htm
For anyone who doesn't want to take the time to read Lundborg's fascinating article, here's the executive summary version of their bio.
In late 1966, University of Southern California, Irvine art student Phil Pearlman was earning pocket change playing music at local bars. As part of an art school project he recruited a bunch of friends and acquaintances to form The Beat of the Earth. With a line-up featuring Pearlman on vocals and guitar, Morgan Chapman providing technical/ and roadie support, Ron Collins Jr. on keyboards (the group's most accomplished musician), Darby on vocals and percussion, J.R. Nichols on electric guitar, Phil and Sherry Phillips (nobody seems to recall their contributions to the line-up), the band went into a Hollywood studio to record an album. The record was completed over two sessions; Darby missing the second session due to illness. Fronted by Pearlman, 1967's "This Record Is an Artistic Statement" was clearly a low-tech vanity project. Released on Pearlman's own AS label, only 500 copies were originally pressed. Back to Lundborg's website for a minute - band member Darby provided what's probably the best description of the two, sidelong compositions that make up the album:
"The music was free-form, original, and unrehearsable [sic], since it was all spontaneous. I remarked to Phil that it was the steady thrum one experienced when you went to a Love-In. All these small groups of musicians playing guitars, tambourines, flutes, auto-harps, bongos, anything that made sound, all simultaneously, created a type of orderly orchestral sound. The combined beats were primitive, primal, the beat of the earth..."
Record Is an Artistic Statement" track listing:
1.) The Beat of the Earth - 21:30 rating: *** stars
Darby's description of the music was perfectly apt. Side one provided an extended, free form, hippy jam that seemed to incorporate every conceivable musical element including surf instrumentals, raga, circus sounds, Dylan-styled harmonica breaks, "B" film soundtracks, bagpipes, and even Ray Manzarek-styled organ fills. As a singer Pearlman wasn't much to listen to. Mixed way in the background, his incense-tinged vocals recalling a totally out-of-it Jim Morrison. Like some of the other reviewers, I actually hear a bit of a Doors vibe here, though it wasn't The Doors you've heard on record. Imagine Morrison and company having been dosed to a point where they were barely functioning and told they won't be allowed to use the bathroom until they finish an album's worth of music ... The jam was certainly interesting given the early timeframe, and while the 21 minutes when by quickly, it wasn't something most folks were going to want hear on a regular basis.
1.) The Beat of the Earth - 20:52 rating: *** stars
The flip side wasn't a major change in musical direction; the first nine minutes basically a continuation of side one. The goofy, train-of-thought lyrics and Pearlman's arch delivery have always reminded me of Fred Schneider and The B-52s. Around the nine minute mark the first jam seemingly came to an end with the follow-on track revealing a dark, somewhat hypnotic Doors vibe. Think along 'The End', or 'Riders In the Night' but without a real melody.
Maybe the best thing you can say is that the two extended jams were very much cutting edge for 1967, exemplifying what we see as that particular zeitgeist (always wanted to use that word). As you can imagine, original copies are super rare and super expensive.
Following the recording sessions Pearlman pressed 500 copies of the album, selling them to friends and people he picked up in his Volkswagen van, or giving them away. The band played a couple of local happenings before running out of gas and calling it quits
Apparently aware the album had become a sought after, high-priced collectable, in 1994 Pearlman re-mastered and reissued the album. In the process he found enough material to produce and release a second The Beat of the Earth album - "Our Standard Three Minute Tune" (A.S. catalog number 0001 1/2)
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