Occasionally an album will come along that is worth celebrating even before you have heard a note. When Brian Wilson finally released an official version of Smile back in 2004 (arguably the most famous “album that never was”), its very existence was a triumph. This week sees the release of The Soul Of All Natural Things, the second album from Topanga Canyon folk artist Linda Perhacs, and the album belongs to that select group.
The reason is that Linda’s first album, Parallelograms, was released back in 1970 to little commercial success, only to then slide into obscurity. Its creator would go back to her job as a dental technician. It would be decades later that the album got its dues, rediscovered by the likes of Devendra Banhart and Sufjan Stevens, who became somewhat evangelical in their praise of the record. Now the follow-up has arrived, 44 years after the debut album. And yes, we do believe that might be a world record.
Last night The Soul Of All Natural Things album launch party took place at the Dilettante Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. The revelers were treated to performances from the new record, with the now 70-year-old Perhacs backed by her co-producers Chris Price and Fernando Perdomo, who were charged with providing the textured backdrop to the harmonies. As well as songs off the new album (some of which are frankly gorgeous), we were treated to performances of “Chimacum Rain” and “Parallelograms” by a woman who seems to be thrilled and overwhelmed to be performing again for a young and eager crowd.
For the uninitiated, a listen to Parallelograms will be eye-opening. I only gave it a listen for the first time recently and was blown away by the reality that music history is dotted with extraordinary albums that have been lost in the sands of time. That Perhacs is now receiving her deserved acclaim is a testament to the power that word of mouth (not to mention the internet, which makes music more readily available for discovery) can have on an album. Her return is one of the year’s best music stories.
Tickets to Linda Perhacs’ show at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever on March 27th are now available.
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