Linda Perhacs: Parallelograms (1973) / The Soul Of All Natural Things (2014)

Linda Perhacs: Parallelograms (1973) / The Soul Of All Natural Things (2014)

Even the vaunted losers’ history of music is really a gold-medal competition in yet another invented category. Linda Perhacs’ achievement wasn’t codified with the reissue of Parallelograms, or by the outrageous sums that the original copies commanded on the secondhand market. She already triumphed. Having already demonstrated a facility for arrangement in high school, Perhacs chose a career (dentistry) that gave her the time and freedom to just be. Working near Rodeo Drive and living in Topanga Canyon, Perhacs rambled up and down the West Coast with fellow mellow travelers, composing synesthetic tunes. At the behest of client (and film composer) Leonard Rosenman, Perhacs handed over a demo; before she knew it, she was recording at Universal Studios, leading a crack session crew that included Shelly Manne, Milt Holland, and future Neil Diamond bassist Reinie Press. An incredibly intuitive, centered person, Perhacs managed to communicate her vision(s) on her first try. The result, released on Universal subsidiary Kapp Records, is perhaps the closest anyone’s gotten to the loner-folk ethos on a major-label release. As occasionally happens to works of unmediated expression, Parallelograms stiffed. However, one composition — “Hey, Who Really Cares,” a co-write with jazz legend Oliver Nelson — enjoyed a fascinating quarterlife. It was written to be the theme for a one-season television show on ABC. In 1971, it was covered by the Whispers, an LA R&B group; 25 years later, their version was sampled for the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Niggas Bleed.” Two years after that, Perhacs’ album was reissued by the late Michael Piper’s psych label the Wild Places. Shortly afterward, he tracked down Perhacs, who had just recovered from a frightening bout of pneumonia; she gave him the original masters, and in 2003, an expanded, remastered edition set the indie press alight. With the assistance of Julia Holter and Nite Jewel’s Ramona Gonzalez, Perhacs recorded The Soul of All Natural Things. To call the record belated would be inexact; as Pitchfork’s Jayson Greene noted, “Perhacs’ sense of time is looser than ours.”

Hi. It looks like you're using an ad blocker.

As an independent website, we rely on our measly advertising income to keep the lights on. Our ads are not too obtrusive, promise. Would you please disable adblock?