by Stanton Swihart
The members of Big Lost Rainbow began to come together in 1970 at informal jam sessions put together at Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut. Led by Ridley Pearson (guitar, piano, vocals, sax), the band's main songwriter, the ultimate lineup that came together eventually consisted of Otis Head (guitar, piano, vocals), Robin Pfoutz (cello), Adam Berenson (piano), Tony Morse (flute) and J.P. Bailhe (bass).
At odds with the heaviness of much of rock music at the time, Big Lost Rainbow instead played a beautiful and delicate strand of folk-rock with baroque touches. Starting in 1971 the band began playing in public occasionally, and the following summer they recorded a demo in Los Angeles to help them in their search for a recording contract.
That fall members despersed to attend various colleges around the country, but the pull of the group was strong enough to bring them back together in 1973 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This became their homebase for the next two years.
Late in 1973 they recorded a new demo in Maryland. They had so many requests for the cassette that they decided to make a private pressing of 200 records themselves. This self-titled album became their only release.
The Original Sleeve '73
The album sold out immediately necessitating two subsequent pressings. Big Lost Rainbow performed throughout New England for the next two years, including as support for folk and bluegrass artists that passed through the area, and did two national tours, but despite their grassroots support, success continually eluded the band. When a second push at a recording contract in 1975 garnered no interest from labels, they called it quits. As a song, "Brothers of the Future," from the album promised, the band members have maintained a bond that has kept them in touch with each other, and in 1992 they reunited at the Idaho home of Pearson—who had since become an acclaimed crime novelist-to play and record again. One of those songs and the entirety of the band's sole 1973 album was reissued in 1998 by Gear Fab.