Sounding just as out of time as it did when it was first released over 20 years ago, Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites reminds us of PG Six’s ability to use the album format to craft entire sonic realms by hand.
PG Six’s 4-track odyssey is a dreamlike combination of UK folk, psychedelic rock and musique concrète. PG Six, A.K.A. Pat Gubler, along with producer and drummer Tim Barnes, filled the record with as many instruments as possible to weave together a surreal patchwork soundscape. The range of styles, sounds and textures across this record is still impressively wide to this day. Elegiac harp songs melt into pools of backwards metallic strums, synthesizer drones and wooden flutes, while fingerpicked ballads mutate with electric fuzz and moody keyboards. With hindsight, it seems as though Gubler was attempting to make his very own eclectic psychedelic folk opus with the grandness and sonic variety of Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, but with the hallucinogenic studio experimentation of an album like Sgt. Pepper.
This 23 year old record has the uncommercial adventurousness and homemade feel of many classic private press psych LPs of the 70s, like Relatively Clean Rivers, Stone Harbour’s Emerges and Oliver’s Standing Stone. However, the remastering job pulls you into its sonic universe like a much more modern and professionally recorded album, thanks to its clearer, warm sound.
The bonus disc of live tracks from around the time of the original LP is worth the price of admission alone. Taken from radio and stage performances, these recordings strip away the overdubs and analog tape wizardry to reveal just how gifted of a musician Gubler truly is (especially on his piano-centered take of Pearl Before Swine’s elegant “I Saw The World”). A major highlight is the hazy psych-folk version of X’s “Drunk in My Past,” which within this context, feels more like an old Fairport Convention ballad than an LA punk tune.
If you want to hear for yourself why PG Six is a revered name in certain music circles, then start with this beautiful reissue. Click here to get your copy of this double record today.