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Linda Perhacs

Born Linda Arnold, 1943, Mill Valley, San Francisco, California, this amateur singer-songwriter only released one rare and obscure acid-folk LP (until now!), but its greatness still reverberates around post-hippie circles and subsequently anyone who’s ever heard it.
The album in question, PARALLELOGRAMS (1970) {*8}, now thankfully re-issued on CD with a plethora of bonus tracks, has been compared to JONI MITCHELL’s `Blue’ album. Opening with the fragile and autumnal `Chimacum Rain’ and followed by the GRACE SLICK-like `Paper Mountain Man’, all her eleven originals showcased here have a smoky and spacy appeal to their out-there TIM BUCKLEY-like experimentation. `Call Of The River’, `Morning Colors’, `Dolphin’, `Hey, Who Really Cares?’ (penned with Oliver Nelson) and the title track add extra dimensions, the melodious lyrics having their own inner beauty. It’s a shame it was discarded at the time; maybe her record label, Kapp, wanted live gigs and the whole shebang – who knows? One thing’s for sure, is that a group called God’s Children had a regional hit in New Orleans with her `Hey, Who Really Cares’; “perhaps” they should’ve spelt her name correct in the credits.
Many years down the line, efforts to find her proved fruitless, but perseverance and over a hundred phone calls by Michael Piper (of Wild Places Records) led to her granting permission for the aforementioned CD in 1996. Invitations came thick and fast, two she effectively took up: singing a duet with DEVENDRA BANHART on his 2007 set, `Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon’, while `If You Were My Man’ featured in DAFT PUNK’s Electroma movie. Her job in a healing science clinic in Beverley Hills had to take a back seat for a little while, when Linda the “Hippie Goddess” was persuaded back into the limelight via a prestigious gig at L.A.’s Redcat Theater on October, 7, 2009.
44 years on from its predecessor, 2014’s THE SOUL OF ALL NATURAL THINGS {*8} was worth its weight in gold (or maybe silver). Co-produced by part collaborators Chris Price and Fernando Perdomo at SUFJAN STEVENS’ Asthmatic Kitty label, there was perhaps a fragility to Linda’s voice, but at 70 that was maybe to be expected – it certainly added a warmth and spiritual aspect to each and every song on board this delightful record. From the ghostly `The Soul Of All Natural Things’ and innocence of `Children’, to the heavenly `River Of God’ and Wicker Man-ish `Intensity’, she’d lost none of the touches that first brought her to the fore, whenever, way back. For many, she’d pushed the envelope on the percussive and scatty `Immunity’, whilst the aforesaid `River Of God’ (reminiscent of other lost soul VASHTI BUNYAN) was subsequently selected for the TV ad for the Land’s End campaign. One imagines there might be a faster follow-up in the pipeline.
© MC Strong 2011/GFD2 // rev-up MCS Oct2016

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