November 1968 – A Sneaky Classic by the Pretty Things

The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow

S.F. Sorrow is the fourth album by English group the Pretty Things, formed in 1963 and still going today. It is a concept album based on the life of main character Sebastian F. Sorrow, from birth to relationships, to war and the disillusionment of old age.  As I’ve learned, there’s also a debate as to whether or not it’s the first rock opera, which would’ve precluded the Who’s Tommy.  One major difference between this album and Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Wall is that the main narrative is shared through small paragraphs printed between the song lyrics in the liner notes, as opposed to within the songs themselves.

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“Sneaky,” of course, is relative to one’s own journey as a music fan. For me, S.F. Sorrow is perhaps the best example so far this year of the joy of discovering music I was previously unfamiliar with as a result of this blog.  I knew the song Baron Saturday, and had read maybe a blurb or three about this album, released in November 1968 (the same week, actually, as The White Album and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, but my head would’ve exploded had I tried to write about all three that week), but didn’t pick up a copy and dive in until earlier this year. I’m glad I did, and if you aren’t familiar with it and like the musical vibe of 1968, I recommend giving it a spin (or click, as it were).  It is, as Alexis Petridis wrote in the Guardian, “one of the few consistently brilliant British psych albums…”

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Tracklist:

Side One:

  1. S.F. Sorrow is Born
  2. Bracelets of Fingers
  3. She Says Good Morning
  4. Private Sorrow
  5. Balloon Burning
  6. Death

Side Two:

  1. Baron Saturday
  2. The Journey
  3. I See You
  4. Well of Destiny
  5. Trust
  6. Old Man Going
  7. Loneliest Person

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.F._Sorrow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Things

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/may/06/pretty-things-sf-sorrow-cd-review

https://www.allmusic.com/album/sf-sorrow-mw0000308955