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Former Beat Of The Earth leader Phil Pearlman assembled this band in the early seventies and eventually recorded this magnificent rural rock album in 1975. The Relatively Clean Rivers album stands with the very best albums of the era, possessing a purely American sound and walking confidently past the shadow of its previous incarnation. Amazingly well produced for a private pressing, it is the very antithesis of his earlier releases that could be classified as garage (at a stretch, perhaps - they are not without a certain tangible sophistication). No measurable degree of time or expense was spared in the creation of the Relatively Clean Rivers album, which took over a year to assemble and is the most flawless snapshot of the California seventies underground scene you will ever hear.

While it should be easy to describe the sound the band produced, it most definitely is not. There are moments where they sound like The Grateful Dead at their most ethereal, for example like Box Of Rain from American Beauty; but other tracks on 'Rivers are utterly psychedelic in the Damin Eih way (although this album smells more like thai stick than acid). The Persian Caravan is as Eastern as the title suggests; Pearlman's collection of ethnic instruments used by the band to good effect. The lyrics are both funny and thought-provoking, especially when addressing religion:

"Could I believe if I had nothing to gain?
Would I walk away to paradise,
Or keep on playin' the game?"

Famed poster artist Jim Evans was enlisted for the cover, which must be seen to be believed. Imagine a cross between The Chocolate Watchband's No Way Out and one of those dayglo head shop posters and you'll have some idea. (Some of Evans' other rock-orientated commissions include The Cosmic Travelers LP cover, the movie poster for A Sea For Yourself, and The Allman Brothers' Wipe The Windows LP cover.)

There were two pressings of the album (500 each) and Pearlman hand-distributed them throughout California for a couple of years, even leaving copies on college campuses (under trees; on benches, etc!) and used a special technique that he referred to as "reverse shoplifting" to get them into record shops (use your imagination!).

Of the (known) private pressings that Phil Pearlman was involved with, Relatively Clean Rivers is the easiest one to acquire and is recommended to anyone even remotely interested in seventies music. None of his albums have been reissued as of yet.

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