Earth Opera

Two albums by Boston-based duo who subsequently fell in with the Haight-Ashbury crowd

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The name suggested some frightful prog entity, but Earth Opera were essentially Boston bluegrassers Peter Rowan and David Grisman, a pair intent on chucking tradition out of the window in favour of spacey, SF-flavoured psych-folk.

Rowan’s effectless vocals and guitar combine with future Jerry Garcia pal Grisman’s mandolin and mandocello (plus low-key vibes, drums and more) on slow, sometimes ponderous songs.

Neither 1968’s Earth Opera nor 1969’s slightly jollier The Great American Eagle Tragedy-its title track a 10-minute condemnation of the Vietnam war featuring John Cale-have dated awfully well.

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