Relatively Clean Rivers

This album comes out of the mind of Phil Pearlman; a veteran of the American 60’s rock scene and the brains behind such epic psych albums Beat of the Earth and the great Electronic Hole. Relatively Clean Rivers’ only album was released in 1975/76 though it sounds straight out of 1969. This album is extremely rare and has proven to be quite a controversial privately financed release.

Some feel this album is the second coming, with strong apocalyptic acid visions and wonderful musicianship. Others feel that it’s a solid rural rock record with strands of late period psychedelia. It’s important to note that Relatively Clean Rivers was name checked as an influence in a recent interview (via Record Collector magazine) with Wilco concerning their latest release, calling the record a 60’s guitar album that is “economic.” Regardless, RCR may not be the second coming but it’s still a great album from a period in rock (1974-75) that was thought to be void of such hidden country psych gems.

It’s really a quiet, flowing, rural record that has many unsettling, strange moments. At first listen “Hello Sunshine” immediately stands out amongst the crowd sounding like a stoned underground version of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Everything comes off very natural and the music never sounds forced or dishonest. Much of the record is predominately acoustic, though “Journey Through The Valley” has some strong electric guitar acid leads. Other tunes like the effects laden “Babylon” are very spacey and almost veer towards progressive rock. The album closes with the reflective “A Thousand Years.” It’s another strong composition with some eastern influenced acoustic guitar playing, lyrics with bizarre religious overtones and backward cymbals. Relatively Clean Rivers is not bound to be everyone’s cup of tea, though fans of rural rock should investigate this great private press release. words/ j. nardelli

MP3: Relatively Clean Rivers :: Hello Sunshine
MP3: Relatively Clean Rivers :: Easy Ride

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10 thoughts on “Relatively Clean Rivers

  1. So glad this is here. I’ve had “Easy Ride” for a few years now and never knew if I’d ever see or hear anything more about this. Sweet cover. Any chance of getting the whole record?

  2. interesting . . . i was 22 when this came out and listening to a lot of similar music, but this is completely new to me; in those days, if it wasn’t reviewed in rolling stone, it prb wasn’t going to get heard.

    first tune very much in the vein of Cowboy–often lumped into the southern rock movement but actually much more folkish leaning country with a certain flower-power sensitivity; second track sounds like a Dead out-take–not to discount either, since they’re both excellent.


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