Though would come and go as a group, PfR progressed over time from the epitome of a sunny college band to a more serious rock group to a trio of eclectic tastes. The members admit being influenced by the Beatles which can be seen in their willingness to experiment with humorous tunes (“Goldie’s Last Day”) and unique layers of guitar and string arrangements. The guys had moved on to their own solo careers at one point, but, after coming back together for a special session to make the song “Kingdom Come” on the Roaring Lambs CD, they decided to release a few more albums together. Their last album The Bookhouse Recordings went back and reinvented a number of their older songs with an updated sound. For a good (but not complete) overview of their work, check out their greatest hits album The Late Great PFR.
Them: “And the band marches on and on and on without slowing. And their leader leads them on and on and on without knowing—never looking back to see the mess that they have left behind. And the media mediates between the masses and the myth it creates but it never knows the damage grows the more it bends the truth.”
Pray for Rain (1992)
Their first album which contains the beginnings of this group’s playful approach to songs and their guitar driven sound.
Goldie’s Last Day (1993)
The breakthrough album for the band and the height of their humorous and light, sunny sound.
Great Lengths (1994)
This album marked a turn towards a somewhat more serious music with richer production and heavier lyrical themes. The vocals on this album are given a lot more weight and fit well with the overall tone of the album.
Lyrically one of the group’s best albums, this record continued the trend towards a richer, more sober sound and harder guitar. This album contains many more full out rock songs with driving bass and percussion.
The Late Great PFR (1997)
What was to have originally been the final album of the group, it contains a mix of songs from their previous albums. Three new songs also appear: “Name”, “Forever”, and “Fare Thee Well”.
The return of the group after a five year hiatus, this album has a somewhat different sound from their previous work with slicker production and more abstract lyrics. Nevertheless, many of the key PfR sounds and styles are there.
The Bookhouse Recordings (2004)
I was quite excited to discover a new addition to the PfR catalog. The new album contains updated versions of a number of old PfR songs, most recast in new and interesting ways. There are also three new songs reflecting the individual styles of the group members which bring some new sound to their work; my favorite is “In the Middle” whose is reflective of current keyboard focused British bands.
SELECTED SONGS AND COLLABORATIONS:
“Kingdom Come” – The popularity of this song made after the group reunited to record it for the various artists Roaring Lambs project led the group deciding to get together and record once again. It is one of their own brand of thoughtful ballads with rich orchestration and engaging lyrics.
w/ Phil Keaggy: “We Can Work It Out” – A cover of the Lennon/McCartney song from the band’s early days which appeared on the little known album America Salutes the Beatles. It is the only non-country song on the entire album and showcases the fun style of the group at that time, a very good modern rendering of the song.