Relatively Clean Rivers (self-titled)

Relatively Clean Rivers

This album comes out of the mind of Phil Pearlman. Pearlman is a veteran of the American 60’s rock scene, being the brains behind such epic psych albums Beat of the Earth and the great Electronic Hole. Relatively Clean Rivers’ only album was released in 1975/76 though it sounds straight out of 1969. This album is extremely rare and has proven to be quite a controversial privately financed release.

Some feel this album is the second coming, with strong apocalyptic acid visions and wonderful musicianship. Others feel that it’s a solid rural rock record with strands of late period psychedelia. It’s important to note that Relatively Clean Rivers was name checked as an influence in a recent interview (via Record Collector magazine) with a Wilco band member concerning their latest album release. This Wilco band member called the record a 60’s guitar album that is “economic.” Regardless, RCR may not be the second coming but it’s still a great album from a period in rock (1974-75) that was thought to be void of such hidden country psych gems.

It’s really a quiet, flowing rural record that has many unsettling, strange moments. At first listen Hello Sunshine immediately stands out amongst the crowd. This song is pretty great, sounding like a stoned underground version of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Everything comes off very natural and the music never sounds forced or dishonest. Much of the record is predominately acoustic, though Journey Through The Valley has some strong electric guitar acid leads. Other tunes like the effects laden Babylon are very spacey and almost veer towards progressive rock. The album closes with the reflective A Thousand Years. It’s another strong composition with some eastern influenced acoustic guitar playing, lyrics with bizarre religious overtones and backward cymbals. Relatively Clean Rivers is not bound to be everyone’s cup of tea, though fans of rural rock should investigate this great private press release.

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“Hello Sunshine”

NOTE: Please avoid purchasing this album from the Radioactive label. Radioactive and related label, Fallout are pirate operations, meaning they do not pay the original artists or copyright holders when they sell bootleg vinyl rips on CD. Read more about it at

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  • mark

    First heard these guys on Pandora radio. Album is good because it is refreshingly new despite its age.

  • Nik

    man, this is one of my favorite fucking records of all time! so honest, so far out, so beautiful.

  • Marc Morial

    This is one of the most amazing albums of its kind. Totally unique, amazing, beautiful and pure. It’s blown my mind every time I’ve cued it up.

  • Andrew

    Is the Phoenix Records 2008 re-issue legit, or also a bootleg?

  • Jason

    Hi Andrew,

    No, it’s not a legit reissue. I believe this is another Fallout/Radioactive operation….

  • David Sandelld

    I have an absolute original first print of “Relatively Clean Rivers” with insert in great conditon. I wonder if I should hold on to it or throw it on ebay. Beyond the rareity hype..who wants it and what should I ask for it?

  • Brendan

    Here are previous ebay listings via popsike. Looks like $700-900!

  • Jeremy

    I just picked up this album as a brand new reissue on Phoenix Records. Really amazing and this for sure isn’t my normal genre of choice but I love it.

  • John

    I heard Easy Ride on Aquarium Drunkard and I so wanted to find out that this was some current band influenced by circa ’68 Dead. But it was cool to find out it was this obscurity thing from the mid ’70’s. It just put me in that space. You know that space.

  • Shitbeard

    Love this record. An amazing progression from the completely anarchic acid-induced freakouts of his previous projects between the late 60’s to the dawn of the 70’s [The Beat Of The Earth/The Electronic Hole] to this exquisite collection of psych-flavoured country rock/americana masterpiece. Phil Pearlman was some criminally underrated freak. His body of work deserved much more visibility. Well time to re-discover…

  • Just worked out Hello Sunshine has the same intro as Matty Groves by Fairport Convention! When John Lydon said ‘Never trust a hippy’ he obviously hadn’t heard this wondrousness. One of the best 35 minutes you will ever get to spend in your puff.

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