According to Wikipedia, The Pretty Things 1968 album "S.F. Sorrow was released in the same week as The Beatles White Album, The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet, and The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society. The album was barely promoted by EMI." Produced by former Beatles former engineer Norman "Hurricane" Smith, it was a concept album sometimes referred to as the first rock opera. For me, its narrative of a man's descent into melancholy madness holds together better that Tommy.
Musically, Sorrow is a product of its time with psychedelic flourishes throughout. Mr. Smith's production adds odd instruments along with layered vocals. Pandora's box was opened with Sgt. Pepper the previous year and Sorrow takes advantage of the giant leap forward. Unlike the musical kaleidoscope, the story is quite grim. In fact it may well contain the most depressing story arc in the history of pop music. Before side one has ended, Sebastian F. Sorrow - the protagonist - as a young man has taken a job as a scab worker at a factory where his father had previously been employed. He goes off to war, witnesses atrocities, returns home only to witness his fiance's death in a Zeppelin disaster.
Later in the story Sorrow has been shown the dark side of life by the wicked Baron Saturday, and comes to the conclusion that the world is devoid of people of honor and trust. The song Trust finds him barely holding on to the last of his sanity. The loping melody, syncopated bass line and gorgeous vocal harmonies stab at a sharp angle with the hopelessness of the lyrics. This is truly one of the lost treasures of the sixties.
Excuse me please as I wipe a tear
Away from an eye that sees there's nothing left to trust
Finding that their minds are grey
And there's no sorrow in the world that's left to trust.
Programming Notes From All Over
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