Monday, 24 October 2016

Pink Floyd: Live/Solo/Compilation Albums Part One 1965-1978





David Gilmour In Joker's Wild "Joker's Wild"

(Private Pressing, '1965')

Why Do Fools Fall In Love?/Walk Like A Man/Don't Ask Me (What I Say)//Big Girls Don't Cry/Beautiful Delilah

"I'm gonna walk like a man, as fast as I can"

Though he won't join our story proper for another three years, David Gilmour is the first Floyd member off the mark with his school band Joker's Wild making a single limited edition self-titled EP. Given that this power trio plus friends features Gilmour's first recordings with the same band he re-hired to back him on his hard-rocking 1978 solo LP, fans expected some raunchy rock and roll, with David letting his hard down back in the days he had lots of it and lots of pre-Floyd raw and ragged sounds. Actually, this is a doo-wop album where the biggest influences is not the Four Beatles like almost every other early AAA release but The Four Seasons and The Four Freshman. Gilmour's guitar is barely brought out the case and when he does he strums more like a rhythm player without any of those stinging guitar solos he's so famous for.  His vocals too are a surprise, a Frankie Valli/Frankie Lymon  falsetto that's only ever been heard on 'Fat Old Sun' in the Floyd pantheon on a series of tracks that already point at his love of harmonies. The end result is a fascinatingly parallel world where David had his own career away from the Floyd, indulging in his favourite groups and styles without being hired to look, sing and sound like his friend Syd Barrett or find his own sound within the context of a band who'd already found theirs.

Surprised by what they find most fans tend to dismiss this EP when and if they ever actually find it - understandably Gilmour has been keen to keep it hidden, although the British Library National Sound Archive has one of only fifty rare copies open to the public for anyone passing in London and unlike most Floyd things on Youtube which get taken down instantly, Gilmour doesn't seem to have fought anyone posting the soundtrack (which fans do from time to time - goodness only knows where they get these near-priceless relics from). However, if you can pout yourselves far back enough in time to a time when singing falsetto love songs was a perfectly respectable thing to be doing and make adjustments for the fact that this is a nervy bunch of teens making their first recording for an album they thought would probably only be bought by their mothers, not pored over by scholars in decades to come, then Joker's Wild is a surprisingly enjoyable album. 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love?' features an impressive mixture of voices (extraordinarily that's Gilmour doing the high pitched lead even higher than the original), 'Walk Like A Man' has a real clapping-enhanced funky beat while the band's 'real' lead singer John Gordon is impressive and full of character (and a lot more confident than Gilmour), Manfredd Mann's 'Don't Ask' adds a burst of R and B with some early Gilmour guitar slashes, while a fast-paced 'Beautiful Delilah' by Chuck Berry has Gilmour already playing a scratchy solo completely at odds with what the rest of the band are doing is at least the equal of the Kinks cover from the year before. Only 'Big Girls Don't Cry' sounds clumsy enough to remind you that this band are just teenage wannabes recording in somebody's living room rather than a 'proper' 60s band. Though it's a long way from being as fully formed as the Floyd's own debut 'Joker's Wild' is more enjoyable than just being a musical time capsule and probably the equal of the even rarer Floyd first recording from the same year, with Syd Barrett sounding far less at home rasping Slim Harpo's blues 'I'm A King Bee'. Better than you might expect and more than deserving of its first CD release.

  

"Tonite Let's All Make Love In London"

(See For Miles, Recorded January 1967, Released July 1968)

Interstellar Overdrive*/Michael Caine/Changing Of The Guard/Marquess Of Kensington/Night Time Girl/Dolly Bird/Out Of Time/Edna O'Brien/Interstellar Overdrive (Reprise)*/Abdrew Loog Oldham/Winter Is Blue/Mick Jagger/Julie Christie/Michael Caine Again/Paint It Black/Alan Aldridge/Paint It Black (Reprise)/David Hockney/Here Comes The Nice/Lee Marvin/Interstellar Overdrive (Second Reprise)*/Tonite Let's All Make Love In London/Nick's Boogie*
* = Pink Floyd Recordings

(CD Edition Track Listing)

"There's no real secret to it, it;s just dpoing the best you can and poutting everything you've got into it and hoping people will like it"

Film-maker Pete Whitehead is one of the few documentary makers who actually realised that the mad scene unfolding around him in the build-up to the Summer of Love might be worth capturing on tape. His take on the Swinging London scene of 1966 came hot on the heels of his originally unreleased Rolling Stones film 'Charlie Is My Darling' and is a similar mix of the primitive and the profound. Understandably the film flopped at the time - why bother going to see the film when you could experience the real thing at a cheaper price? - but most of Whitehead's films have been recognised in the decades since as treasure troves of what it was like to be alive back then. As a casual acquaintance of the Floyd, they were an obvious candidate for Whitehead's most contemporary film, even though the band had yet to make a record and that aside from a half-hearted recording in 1965 (still officially unreleased) this would be the first time anyone had captured the Floyd on tape. Better yet it's the only record ever made of the band in their natural habitat at the London club scene, complete with psychedelic lava lamp show if you own the DVD version. Understandably, given how unknown they were at the time, the Floyd are only seen in part, with a seventeen minute version of 'Interstellar Overdrive' that ranks amongst their best cut in two for the film and edited badly, while a second track tapes for the project - a one-off jam titled 'Nick's Boogie' - doesn't seem to have made it into the original film at all. The original soundtrack LP here rather reflects that, with three bursts of 'Interstellar' cut down to a senseless four minutes between them - the last reprise only lasting a mere 54 seconds. Thankfully the CD re-issues of the album as outlined above are much more interesting, including not just the 'Interstellar' extracts but also the full seventeen minute unedited version at the start and the full twelve minute Nick's Boogie at the end as extra-special bonus tracks. As for the rest of the album, you get a cameo from John Lennon dropping into see what all the fuss is about, Michael Caine pretending he knows something about the youth movement, the soundtrack of Chris Farlowe preparing to tape the Stones song 'Out Of Time' for Decca, a posh-sounding Mick Jagger gets deep by claiming not to want to be a generational spokesperson and The Small Faces, here represented by their cheeky 1867 drug-referencing hit 'Here Come The Nice'. All in all, plenty of evidence that London did swing like a pendulum do and the Floyd might have become big even earlier had the full portion of their performance been used instead of bits.


 "In London 1966-1967"

(See For Miles, Recorded January 1967, Released September 1995)

Interstellar Overdrive/Nick's Boogie

"If you're someone new starting out in pop music they have to know first that you exist"

Sensing that Floyd fans felt short changed by having to sit though interminable lectures and Michael Caine poncing about, See For Miles re-issued the 'Let's Make Love In London' soundtrack featuring just the unedited Pink Floyd tracks. Billed as an 'EP', in actual fact the length of the two songs played meant it ran just fourteen minutes shorter than Floyd debut 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'. With so little footage surviving of the Barrett-era Floyd going at it tooth and nail in a live setting, this is a valuable document with an 'Interstellar' that snakes around like anything before finally coming in for the kill at the end, whilst 'Nick's Boogie' is a nice bit of collection filler. 

"The Man"

(Never Released)

Daybreak (Grantchester Meadows)/Work (Unreleased)/Afternoon (Biding My Time)/Doing It (Up The Khyber)/Sleeping (Quicksilver)/Nightmare (Cymabline)/Daybreak Reprise (Grantchester Meadows)

"Will the tightrope reach the end? Will the final couplet rhyme?"

Though Pink Floyd released two albums that year, 1969 might be better remembered by fans for what the band were doing in concert. Regenerating afresh after the Barrett years this is an equally spacey and improv-led Floyd but one that had less Syd moodswings and more Roger-type structure. Featuring a few new songs from 'More' and 'Ummagumma' and the not-released-till-Relics 'Biding My Time' and a new, rather eccentric instrumental that mainly consists of the band drinking tea (not unlike 'Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast' in parts). The theme of the suite was 'a day in the life of man' (so not at all like The Moody Blues' 'Days Of Future Passed' then) and holds together quite well even if the half hour or so is a little heavy on the instrumentals. You can, perhaps, hear a little of the 'Dark Side Of The Moon' frustration at the repetition and mundanity of life, though mainly what you take away from this suite is how scary even the pretty ballads sound, with Rick's twinkling organ higher in the mix than it was on either record. There are a handful of bootlegs featuring these tracks doing the rounds by the way, though it's the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam set that's the best played and probably in the best sound too, the microphone so close to the stage you can even hear Roger's sibilance (very rare for bootlegs - typically the best gigs are the ones recorded so far away from the stage they're practically in the car park!) At this show, then, 'Grantchester Meadows' has a much folkier and free-flowing feel with Roger and Dave improvising rather than sticking to the repetitive riff of the record, while Rick gets an extended solo in lieu of the sound effects, which is a brgain really. 'Work' rambles on and on, with something happening off-mike to make the crowd laugh, without much happening outside the clunk of tea-cups, the audience coughing (seriously, how virus-infected were they?) and Roger's laughter. 'Biding My Time' has a killer guitar sound and a lot more life about it than the studio take, with Roger outwardly sarcastic rather than drily witty and Nick - whose been missing the last two songs - making up for his absence with a noisy drum part. Rick plays the trombone alone on this version. 'Doing It!' - reportedly Roger's attempts to sum up sex, although if so it seems a rather odd time of the day - is effectively 'Up The Khyber' (nice euphemism there boys) without Rick's parts, segueing into the lengthy solo from 'The Grand Vizier's Garden Party' along the way. 'Sleeping' is a Rick and Dave special, as Wright holds the song together and Gilmour gets weird. It's clearly based around the same notes as 'Quicksilver' but builds up to one intense climax rather than several. Next is 'Nightmare', a slowed down and especially creepy version of 'Cymbaline' with Rick's organ darting out of the song like a shadow. Unlike the album the footsteps really do catch up with the narrator in a scary anything-goes finale that's played really loud and hard. In a sign of concept albums to come, the track ends in a row of ticking clocks (simpler but similar to Alan Parsons' sound effects for 'Dark Side'). Overall, the best Floyd improvisations after the 'Pompeii' gig - why oh why isn't this gig out on CD?!?


"The Journey"

(Never Released)

The Beginning (Green Is The Colour)/Beset By The Creatures Of The Deep (Careful With That Axe Eugene)/The Narrow Way (Part Three)/The Pink Jungle (Pow R Toc H)/The Labryinths Of Auximines ('Interstellar Overdrive' - the quiet bit)/Behold The Temple Of The Light (Unreleased)/The End Of The Beginning (A Saucerful Of Secret's 'Celestial Voices')

"Hazy were the visions overplayed..."

After the break in the 1969 tour, The Floyd usually returned to the stage for a second suite made up of period songs both used and unused. 'The Journey' tended to be a vaguer story than 'The Man' and perhaps the vaguest of all the Floyd's concept pieces: it's effectively a suite that keeps switching from cosy pastoral innocence to nightmarish atonal jazz at the drop of a hat. This is, most likely, meant to represent the Floyd's and perhaps particularly Roger's growing sense of paranoia in this period, that mankind has somehow gone down the wrong path. However it's a less directionless idea than 'Dark Side' 'The Wall' or even 'The Body', using melodies from past Floyd classics that fit but not necessarily the lyrics and ending with four straight instrumentals. However 'The Journey' holds together rather better than 'The Man' as a mood piece, with all the songs (most of them usually extended far past their natural length on record) sounding as if they fit together with no weird drum solos or on-stage tea breaks! 'Green In The Colour' is a case in point, a lovely slow version that swaps the slightly grating tin whistles of 'More' for more of Rick's organ and instead of being a compact sweet love song this live version has a lengthy fade that stretches out across several minutes. Little bit by little bit the peaceful scene falls apart, with Rick's sweetness fading lick by lick and Roger's bass getting more repetitive until suddenly the band have magnicifently manouvred 'Green' into its polar opposite 'Beset By Creatures', which may well be the scariest of all three goes at 'Careful With That Axe Eugene'. The band's telepathy (at least at the Concertgebouw gig - others a bit more tentative) when the band suddenly rush as one before Roger lets out a shriek so loud you'd think he was being murdered is one of the great Floyd moments - the sort of moment no other band would think to try. Though hardly compact, there aren't as many creatures here as you might expect and the band slow down little bit by little bit until coming to the sighing paranoia of' 'The Narrow Way'. Gilmour struggles to sing at the same time as playing a charging pulsating electric guitar part and the song lacks the eerie sound effects of 'Ummagumma', but David's gruff vocal works better than his falsetto. The instrumental at the end of the song is different, being effectively a Nick and Rick duet that slowly sinks into a jazzy and slightly too 'posh' 'Pow R Toc H' (sorry, 'The Pink Jungle'). Roger and Dave swap the vocal sound effect parts (Roger sounding more like a monkey than ever), while Rick shimmers on an organ rather than plinkty-plonks a piano as per the 'Piper' recording. The song is far less intense played like this and it's almost a relief when Gilmour starts using his guitar for some chilling sound effects like the ones from 'Echoes' (minus the ravens), while Roger and Nick play the slowed down just-before-Syd-comes-back-in bits from 'Interstellar Overdrive' behind. We then get a tape of heavy footsteps and heavy breathing (both sounding like Roger's) as a man tries to walk between two heavily locked doors at speed (shades of 'On The Run' here) on the part known as 'Behold The Temple Of The Light'. What's found on the other side of the door? 'Celestial Voices', the last quarter of 'A Saucerful Of Secrets', starting with Gilmour's feedback-drenched guitar before Rick's blissful organ wipes all the tears away and Roger gets to play with his gong again. This leads to the usual full ending with Gilmour singing at the top of his voice into a storm of four instruments played at full power, the result being far more therapeutic than the original record and feeling as if you really have been and gone on a journey. There is no way that only four people came up with this unholy racket from a tiny stage back in 1969 - music has never sounded so...huge!  Even more than 'The Man' this is a terrific lost piece of the Floyd puzzle and at 40 odd minutes each represents a chunky length of the band's set lists at the time. What a shame that the band never recorded a live album in this manner (it would have made more sense than the live disc on 'Ummagumma'!) or recorded it 'properly' for posterity. It would have been fascinating, too, to see updated versions of these suites in years to come: surely there's a great one going from the purity of 'Stay' and 'Burning Bridges' into the abject horror of 'One Of These Days' for instance, with the paranoia of 'If' thrown in, ending up at the absolution of 'Fat Old Sun'. Ah well, too many directions to go in and not enough time - that's the late 1960s Floyd all over. What men. What a journey!



Various Artists "Zabriskie Point" (Original Soundtrack)

(**/Rhino, Recorded November-December 1969, Released May 1970)

Heart Beat Pig Meat*/Brother Mary (Kaliedescope)/Dark Star (Grateful Dead)/Crumbling Land*/Tennessee Waltz (Patti Page)/Sugar Babe (Youngbloods)/Love Scene (Jerry Garcia)/I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again (Rosie Holcomb)/Mickey's Tune (Kaliedescope)/The Dance Of Death (John Fahey)/Come On In Number 51 Your Time Is Up*

CD Re-Issue Bonus Disc (1997): Love Scene Improvisations 1-4 (Jerry Garcia)/Country Song*/Unknown Song*/Love Scene Version Six*/Love Scene Version 4*

* = Pink Floyd Recordings

"In his hand a moving picture of the crumbling land, screaming dealing movie man"

'Zabriskie Point' always gets left behind in the Floyd discographies. Intended as their second full film soundtrack, the band clashed with director Michelangelo Antonioni and were shocked to find some of their better songs being rejected (such as an early version of 'Us and Them') in favour of what they considered their worst efforts. Instead the Floyd were largely replaced by Jerry Garcia and a bunch of stock records, with just three songs to their name on the original album (though the CD re-issue adds another four). Fittingly given the contents of the film, it suffered through mis-communication, the director having a clear vision of what he wanted - something more spacey like 'More' you suspect given what was chosen - without being able to articulate it. Unknown to him, by 1970 Pink Floyd had moved on somewhere towards the 'pastoral beauty' of 'Atom Heart Mother' and, especially when the outtakes are counted too, 'Zabriskie' sounds like their last goodbye to the artier Floyd sound of 1968-1969 before they came back to Earth. Plotwise this  film is one of those generation gap style films, a bigger budget version of 'More' though even more clumsily done for the most part and starring a pair of unknowns in Mark Frachette and Daria Halpin whose acting is ruined by the fact they clearly hate each other (a livewire off and on screen, Frechette was later jailed for armed robbery in 1973 and was far from your normal hippie - Halpin, however, very much was and they clashed badly and regularly off and on set). The film was a mammoth box office flop at the time, already criticised before it came out for its scenes of sex drugs and violence, losing some $6,000,000 at the box office. Understandably the soundtrack album didn't exactly set the charts alight either, making this one of the rarer original Floyd albums, all but impossible to track down until Rhino bought up the rights in 1997 (although that rather pricey two-disc set is rather hard to track down itself now).

The album is well worth tracking down, though, because the three Floyd tracks that made the film are amongst some of their most overlooked. 'Heartbeat Pigmeat' is a pulsing drum heartbeat (a clear inspiration for 'Speak To Me' to come) overlaid with dialogue from the film and some nice avant garde organ stabs by Rick, while Roger howls away like the secret werewolf he clearly is. Heard at the start of the film, it's an ear-catching opening spilt only by the tackyness of a bit of the film dialogue ('Teenagers are sometimes so freaked out that they cannot sit up straight in class!') 'Crumbling Land' is a fab song mainly written by Gilmour which is more in keeping with 'Atom Heart Mother's mellowness and an early example of Gilmour's love of the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter harmony-drenched sound. Gloriously sung by Dave and Rick over a brilliant quick-stepping riff and one of the best Floyd band performances, it also features some sudden jarring changes of speed that sound more like Roger's work, the glorious bright happy hippie future seemingly run off the road by a noisy motorcar. Finally, 'Come In Number 51' is a re-make of 'Careful With That Axe Eugene' (supposedly Antonioni's favourite Floyd song) that's longer and even creepier, but not quite so intense with the sudden acceleration more clearly signposted. It's still more than creepy enough, though, and works well near the end of the film when Halpin tries to leave her boyfriend and her hippie past behind, her old house exploding into flames in her imagination (at least I think that's what's happening - heck it's 'Zabriskie Point', anything could be happening). The four outtakes included on the CD meanwhile, are a mixed bag with a nice Rick piano piece intended for the film's most famous scene in the desert (the pair of 'heroes' making love in the desert despite the glares they give each other when they think the camera's not looking, replaced by some Jerry Garcia acoustic picking) and 'Country Song', a Gilmour-led rock song about chess or something like that, along with a couple of doodles. Better songs still exist in the vaults, available only on bootleg so far.

Syd Barrett "Barrett"

(EMI/Harvest, November 1970)

Baby Lemonade/Love Song/Dominoes/It Is Obvious/Rats/Maisie//Gigolo Aunt/Waving My Arms In The Air/I Never Lied To You/Wined and Dined/Wolfpack/Effervescing Elephant

"You shouldn't try to be what you can't be!"

Those who were surprised that Syd got it together for his debut album were even more astonished when he got it together for a sequel. 'Barrett' is at once more together and more ramshackle than 'Madcap Laughs'. Produced by Dave and Rick rather than Dave and Roger, it features less Syd and more overdubs which is both a blessing and a curse, adding more melody and structure to Syd's songs while papering over the cracks which on this album are on more display than ever. Syd seems to spend the whole album pleading to someone for something, wracked by guilt and frustration whilst also hinting at his impatience with a world still thinking 'straight', who aren't zipping through at the same speeds as his mind. Syd's 'Waving My Arms In The Air' is about drowning, not waving, segueing uncomfortably into a song of guilt in 'I Never Lied To You' pleading for redemption - from his girlfriend, his band, the world. 'Dominoes', meanwhile, is Syd back to his 'Jugband Blues' eerieness, apparently about being better off in his lonely inner world un-connected to people who harm him, though the lyric is just that bit further away from literal meaning to grasp hold of. 'Rats' and 'Wolfpack' meanwhile are Syd having a go at the Roger Waters paranoia style, damning the world who've abandoned him with a snarl.

And yet that's not what most fans hear when they play this album, most commenting something along the lines of 'doesn't Syd sound well?' or 'gosh this song actually has a tune!' At heart 'Barrett' is an album more tortured and less playful than 'Madcap Laughs', but the fuller production sound featuring both Dave (largely on bass) and Rick a lot and Jerry Shirley bravely returning on drums soothe a lot of those troubles away, while the album ends with a pre-Floyd joke that may or may not be Syd's first song (it's certainly an early one anyway) which is Syd's most Floyd-like recording across the two albums. Recorded within six months, more or less together, it was felt that Syd copes with this format more than the scattered 'Madcap Laughs' sessions with three different producers across eighteen months, although the writing seems to have been less smooth. Syd himself is caught between extremes - at times he seems happy to go along with the idea, mellowed out for 'Love Song' and audibly having fun on overlooked solo highlight 'Maisie' (in which two Syds attempt to out-improvise and pun each other while trying not to get the giggles!) However you sense that the 'real' Syd that bares his teeth on the ragged and painful medley 'Waving My Arms In The Air' and 'I Never Lied To You' is closer to the truth (the line 'I call to you but what do you do?!?' sung with the closest thing approaching real emotion across the album is an exhilarating spine-tingling moment). 'Barrett' is a much more rounded and finished sounding album than its predecessor, for which we have to thank the patience of his two former buddies who do Syd proud by wrapping his alien performances with something closer to the band sound. You sense the pair are working the way the Barrett era Floyd did anyway, letting Syd take off into his own world while providing the tether back to Earth. There's a moment at the end of 'Dominoes' where the band even busk together, coaxing lots of extra unwieldy and unworldly slide guitar out of Syd, which would have been unthinkable on 'Madcap Laughs'. That predecessor is clearly the better album, but 'Barrett' is the easier listen by far - you only need to hear the original 'Barrett tapes' releases in part as bonus parts on the CD to hear how similar this album would have sounded to 'Madcap'.

This has made more than a few fans uncomfortable though. 'Madcap Laughs' is the pure sound of a man lost in whatever dark cavern he's found himself in, giving one last update before getting lost into the darkness forever. Being as simple as it is, you have the feeling that it's close to how Syd wanted it, in as much as he had ideas of arrangements and production at all. He did offer ideas to the other performers, but there were on the lines of 'I'd like the middle eight a bit more after-noonish', which mainly left the trio nodding their head and going 'yes Syd' before playing what they were going to do anyway. 'Barrett' the album sounds like Syd's been given tranquiliser pills, made to straighten up and sound more 'normal' thanks to the piano and guitar contributions, as if everyone is 'ashamed' of who he's become. Several lines sound as if Syd is desperately trying to do inane pop instead of expressing what's on his mind ('Spot knock inside a spider - that's love yeah yeah ye-e-eah!') It doesn't help that Syd sings on auto-pilot throughout (though some fans prefer that to hearing Syd audibly distressed it has to be said). It doesn't help that some of these songs aren't anywhere near his best, with 'Barrett' a far more inconsistent record than its predecessor: 'Rats' tails off into a made-up word association game unworthy of the Barrett past ('Splashotee Moxy, very smelly, table table, splintra chanel'), while 'It Is Obvious' isn't far behind ('Mote to a grog - the star a white chalk') although this song at least has come classic Barrett lines too ('Braver and braver, a handkerchief waver, the louder your lips to a loud hailer'), written around some 'obvious' chords. 'Wined and Dined' too is an uncomfortable love song written to order by someone who can no longer remember what love is, while the pre-fame 'Effervescing Elephant' is funny until you realise that it's still a song about murder, the elephant's worst crime being to frighten the narrating mouse a bit (it ends with the sound of an animal roaring in pain, which doesn't exactly help the laughs). You have to wonder what on earth Gilmour and Wright were thinking using either ahead of the best of the songs released on 'Opel' which could have turned this from a good LP into a great one. Syd himself said that he preferred the first album and that this second one featured only an 'echo' of what he had in his head.

Even so, I can't help but think that fans are missing out on a treat when they say they don't like this album. 'Maisie' is the best fun you can have with your record player on, a slow blues played for laughs as two Syds in different time zones play 'tag' with a daft improvised lyric that proves Syd was a lot happier creating than he was remembering or tidying his work up ('Her luminous grin put her in a spin'!) 'Baby Lemonade' and 'Gigolo Aunt' would in another world have been prime candidates for Floyd single releases, with the slightly darker but still catchy charm of 'Apples and Oranges', the overdubs at their best here. 'Dominoes', like 'Terrapin' on the last album, is the album's 'hidden' message that sounds as if it matters more than all the others here, even if Syd has failed to provide us with a key to unlock it. 'Waving > Lied To You' is devastating in all the right and wrong ways, Syd taking pride in getting out ('Because you shouldn't try to be what you can't be!') while worrying that he's brought all his problems on himself. The song's manic exaggerated limp only emphasises how lame a once bright spark has become, almost unbearably poignant.

The end result is an album that has more highs than 'Madcap Laughs', but also more lows. Though the music has been tidied up a bit, lyrically it feels as if we're more of a 'fly on the wall' of Syd's mind without him quite realising than ever (hence, perhaps, Syd's cover display of twelve insects, reportedly drawn when he was still an art student and it's use here has been much debated since the album's release - has Syd gone from an effervescing elephant to an insect squished underfoot by an ignorant world? Or is this a 'random' cover in line with the Floyd's own mooing 'Atom Heart Mother' that year?) Interestingly animals are a big theme of this album as Syd, like the rest of his band as it happened, gets back to nature. Only this is no pretty 'Grantchester Meadows' journey into the countryside but a world of rats, wolves, bulls and tigers eating elephants, perhaps symbolic of a world where everything is out to get you. Or is the 'real' Syd here the playful one of 'Gigolo Aunt' and 'Effervesing Elephant' where the world's a joke? 'Barrett', like 'Madcap Laughs' deepens an extends rather than solves the enigma of Syd Barrett - which is, perhaps a good thing, Syd's secrets safe with him until the end. Though Syd will try a third album in 1974, apparently while desperate for money, these will be his last productive recording sessions (a post-'Dark Side' re-issue frenzy helping him out financially), with only the drum track 'Rhamadan' ever given a release beyond this date. As epitaphs go there are worse ones to have than 'Barrett', which has all the charm and wide-eyed wonder as well as bursts of pure creativity of our much missed crazy diamond that falls perhaps that tiny bit shorter of what Syd was once capable of. But not, perhaps, as far as this album's detractors have always made out.

'Baby Lemonade' starts with a guitar riff so together many have assumed that it's Gilmour playing in Barrett's signature style. But Dave says no - this was Syd warming up when he thought they weren't recording, captured in a hurry from the start of another take which is why it rolls away mid-note like that, hanging in the air like a question mark. Lyrically, this is 'Octopus' territory again, everyone laughing at the funny little narrator whose pleading with the world to - well - what does he plead? Syd gets cut short every time he sings 'please' while the persona of 'Baby Lemonade' (a typically un-rhymeable Barrett name) is indecipherable. Though Syd is 'screaming' he's not entirely sure why - the people are 'nice' to him, though their words also feel like 'ice', while the songs heaves almost a sigh of relief as the mad world goes away and leaves Syd 'so alone'. At least now the 'rain falls on grey' not here but 'far away', on a land much stronger than Syd is now. A nice Paul McCartney style melody, full of rounded peaks and troughs, is nicely enhanced by the band performance.

'Love Song' sounds like the most 'normal' of Syd's solo songs, thanks to Rick's accordion style organ and a lyric about trust that could almost be on top 40 radio. Syd may have had his old girlfriend Jenny in mind here, Syd perhaps imagining her turning up again in his life after 'nodding off' and dreaming that he's woken up to a 'big surprise'. A bit of wish fulfilment, Syd even speaks hip again ('Ok baby tell me what do you see?'), sadly this song never has the dream resolution it longs for and simply chases its own tail going round in circles, a dream that could never become real.

'Dominoes' is the album song that 'reads' best, the most daring attempt yet to sum up how trapped Syd feels in his own little world. He no longer plays the 'dominoes' game where so many waste their own time, trying to find compatible pairs, but what does he fill his time with instead? Every day feels the same and days go by with nothing to show for them. A glorious performance features Rick especially understanding this song (so close to his own style, actually), his washed-out organ chords acting as a brake on the song as if holding Syd in place, while some gorgeous backwards guitar beats at a different speed to the rest of the song (including a 'solo' that's quite extraordinary). Only Syd's only flat and expressionless double-tracked vocal isn't quite there, hinting rather than living the sentiments in the song. This track's animal/bird: a lark.

'It Is Obvious' is Syd's equivalent of 'High Hopes', a trip back to Cambridge as it used to be taken in his mind because his legs won't take him there. Syd was always looking back to his childhood, but this sounds like a most recent memory, perhaps of his last walk round familiar places. However the whole song has been put through a blender, full of surrealisms 'found on another plane' that may also feature a nod of the head to C S Lewis (about the only Victorian children's author not mentioned on 'Piper') in that Syd goes to sleep in a cupboard and wakes up back in his home town.  The title, which lyrically doesn't appear to fit, might refer more to the music, which by Syd's standards is obvious indeed, switching between two simple C Major chords for the most part, whipped up by Rick's organ into something of a sea shanty.

Though many fans rate 'Rats' as one of Syd's greatest songs, I've never been one of them. This is the song where the overdubs fall down the most, with everyone so caught out by Syd's switching rhythms that four people are playing different songs by the end. Syd switches between his most pop-star lyrics since 1967 and the oppressive symbol of a noose around his neck with Syd poised about to fall. The 'rats' then are presumably the music world who keep wanting more and more, sending Syd away with a dismissal for being honest rather than commercial ('If you think you're unloved - well we know about that!') The song then ends in the scariest word association game ever which gradually makes less and less sense as Syd makes his words up ('Seething wet we meeting fleck'). Syd is at his most deranged on this song, building up to a rare scream on the second half as if this song is bringing up bad memories, which makes it feel like something we shouldn't really be listening to.

'Maisie', though, I'm sure, is a bit of the old Syd peeping through, goofing off and having fun. Trust Syd to get most of his kicks out of a blues song, with a slow moody guitar riff quickly picked up by Gilmour and Shirley while two Syd's try to outdo each other on the lyrics. Unlike most songs recently which have all been about or through the eyes of Syd or someone like him, this is a real 'character' driven song, perhaps a cousin of 'See Emily Play'. Maisie is a rich girl so drunk she's still lying in the hall with her emeralds and diamond brooch ('beyond reproach'). Syd is punning and rhyming like he's at the top of his game, while all the time using the 'Maisie' refrain as his tether to earth, passing the buck to the 'other' Syd while he has a bit of a think about his next line. This is perhaps how the Syd albums should have been made, the band taking one of Syd's ideas and running with it, allowing him to come back at a later date and add things over the top. Definitely my favourite solo Syd song.

'Gigolo Aunt' is another of the album's better ideas, with a great cooking beat that's born for the ad hoc band to strut their stuff on (Rick being the harmonic cushion, just like the old days) with Syd getting so far into the guitar solo he very much sounds like the Syd of old. Syd's words, though, are perhaps his most peculiar yet - one minute he's down the beach where 'everything's rosy and it's a beautiful; day' and the next he's backing away in alarm, having seen though his companion as a 'gigolo aunt'. Syd is pleased enough to 'almost want you back' by the end of the song though - perhaps the 'aunt' is his former way of life, always trying to lure him back with its big promises and its mixture of prudity and promiscuity, both of which make Syd feel a little ill. The song winds down quite naturally but the band are having so much fun they spontaneously burst into gear again, the song sadly being forced to a stop after just one note of the re-cap (easily the worst engineering decisions on the record).

Another triumph, of sorts, is 'Waving My Arms In The Air', which sounds more like a 'Madcaps' song the way it trips over it'=s own time signatures. Syd starts the song fully in control, sounding as if he's directing a giant crowd, but slowly things fall apart - the pretty girl gets a 'slinky look' and though Syd 'calls to you - what do you do?!' Suddenly even the crowds feel distant from him, seeing 'no one in the land' in a Strawberry Fields-style statement of uniqueness ('You shouldn't try to be what you can't be!' is his message to himself). By the end Syd is waving for help not for fun, while a 'stormy day' blows around him.

Suddenly the song collapses, leaving Syd soggily telling us that he tried to be authentic - that through his problems 'I Never Lied To You'. A girl who used to see Syd as her one and only is now giving him competition - 'shoulders pressing in the hall' - with Syd not even sure where his girl is or whether she's in to see him. The theme seems to be that Syd once considered himself special because other people did - but now he's been reduced to the status of a nobody and he's not entirely sure why. he figures he must be guilty of something so pleads for our forgiveness, but what comes over most is Syd's puzzlement and his excuse that he gave his 'everything' - 'and to you everything was never easy'. The song ends with Syd realising that his love probably isn't going to come back and asking, Waters style, 'Why am I Here? What's meant to be?' Powerful stuff, with Syd the most self-aware he's been since 'Jugband Blues'.

After all that emotion  the sleepy 'Wined and Dined', on which Syd sleepwalks his way through the song, seems liked an anticlimax. There's a nice tune though, with Rick earmarking the chord changes with his customary care, while what sounds like a quacking duck but is probably a guitar adds some wacky sound effects on the right speaker. Lyrically I've always wondered if this, too, is another song of Syd looking back on his short time in the limelight with a bemused smile - it felt like a 'dream' as everyone looks after him and treats him as the golden boy. Though Syd reflects that it was 'only last summer', it seems an eternity ago already.

'Wolfpack' is another 'Madcap' style song with multi-tracked Barretts all howling out their pain at once on a noisy paranoid track where everything seems to be about to get you: the rough relentless acoustic guitar, the pounding drums, the other-worldly organ and Syd's bubbling desperate-sounding electric. A tale of gang warfare, it's about mob mentality and, perhaps, Syd's desperate need to belong to a group of people. Perhaps 'the life that was ours...the electricity eyes' even refers to the Floyd themselves, flying 'in formation' in tune with Barrett's mind, now another distant memory. Rick still remembers, though and rises to the occasion as Syd plays one of the most bonkers guitar solos in history. It's all a little uncomfortably un-numb for comfort, though.

Must admit I've never shared the fans' love for 'Effervescing Elephant' either, with what should be a cute little ditty from the days when life seemed to be working out for Syd sounding downright scary surrounded by the jungle sound effects. In a tale worthy of the Gruffalo, an elephant scares a mouse into hiding from the tiger, 'running for all the day and night' but the tiger chooses something 'less scant' and eats the elephant instead. A precautionary tale with an unhappy ending, you can't help but feel that Syd's the hunted here, desperately trying to come up with his earlier self's quick-stepping rhymes. The album then ends on some uncomfortable whistling, as if Syd's forgotten we're listening in.

Overall, then, 'Barrett' is an album of contradictions - even more fitting, in it's own way, for Syd's life at the time than the more focussed (but more revealing) 'Madcap Laughs'. Both are fine, though very different, albums - both to each other and to any other record that's ever existed (apart from outtakes set 'Opel', obviously, which sounds a little like both).

Syd Barrett "The Radio One Sessions"

(Strange Fruit, Recorded February 1970 and February 1971, Released 1987)

'Top Gear' 1970: Terrapin/Gigolo Aunt/Baby Lemonade/Effervescing Elephant/Two Of A Kind
'Sounds Of The Seventies' 1971: Baby Lemonade/Dominoes/Love Song

"Life that comes of no harm, you and I and dominoes..."

Who on earth booked fragile genius Syd Barrett into a radio studio to record some as-live recordings for near-immediate recordings, with all the pressures and rawness that entails? Because, against all odds, they deserve a medal. Syd doesn't speak (that might perhaps have been an intrusion too far) but he's on top form for both these shows recorded a year apart, bright and sparky and full of ideas the way he used to be. Though 'Madcap' and 'Barrett' both had sudden moments of inspiration, it's probably fair to say that making these records was hard work for Syd, with the daunting thought of filling up a whole album on his own suddenly a very difficult task. These radio sessions sound closer to fun than work, with Syd having fun re-shaping the songs he's just recorded and doing them with a ragged energy the albums might have benefitted from too. Though most acts on both John Peel's 'Top Gear' and Bob Harris' 'Sounds Of The Seventies' tended to do one or two songs, thankfully Syd gets to do a few for both shows.

On the Peel show - a famous bootleg before it found its first official release - a solo 'Terrapin' is faster and more 'dramatic' with an overdubbed 'aaah' making it sound more like a 1980s pop tune. 'Gigolo Aunt' lacks the full-on onslaught of the album version but still features a certain charm as two Syds (thanks to the wonders of overdubbing) compete for our attention. A lovely 'Baby Lemonade' may well be the highlight of the set, with a pretty organ part added on top and a folkier rather than a poppy vibe. 'Elephant' sounds much like the album version, perhaps with a bit less bounce. The most interesting song is surely 'Two Of A Kind', a track exclusive to this set which has confused more than a few Floyd scholars down the years (it's been accredited to both Syd and Rick and sounds at different times like both men's work). A cute charming Beatley pop song about soulmates, it also has a bit of that Barrett darkness hidden at the centre. Though less well regarded, the Harris show may be even more important. Dated February 1971, a few months after the release of 'Barrett', it's the last real recording of Syd we have (there are a few hastily abandoned backing tracks still in the vaults from an aborted third album, mind). A slightly slower and sadder 'Baby Lemonade' gains from both the lack of double tracking and a mystery guest bassist, with more of the usual Barrett melancholy making this sound like an entirely different song. A wonderfully claustrophobic 'Dominoes' is taken at one heck of a lick as if Syd can't wait to get out of the studios, but it's still a great version, Syd still together enough to nail the tricky vocal line. 'Love Song' is perhaps the most disappointing, reduced to a 90 second run that's only as pale shadow of its studio self.

These are, clearly, important tapes: it's not as if Syd did any other real promotion for his two albums and the fact that these tapes exist at all (radio one sessions surely being part of the 'pop star game' Syd so desperately wanted to escape) is a minor miracle. Typically, the BBC didn't think to keep them and fans are eternally grateful to the Floyd bootlegger who tapes these songs back in the day (possibly two for the different shows - that's all been lost in the mists of time). However the reviews for this CD were scathing on release, mainly because Strange Fruit sourced an inferior quality copy of the album than that owned by most bootleggers in regards to the 'Peel' session, while the Harris show sounds even worse. To be fair to the company, it's not as is they could do a lot to clear this tape up as so many reviewers claimed - it's from a cassette not a master-tape - while they also sensibly leave the 20 minute set alone without adding any extras (by the way the Peel sessions are also available alone, released a few months earlier, on an even shorter CD of just fourteen minutes!) It's a shame that they didn't spend a bit longer on the packaging, though, which simply consists of  a scary looking close-up of Syd and the track listing with nothing else here. For all the problems, though, this is an important set that every Syd-ophile should own, throwing at least as much light on Barrett's inner mind as 'Opel' and the CD bonus tracks, with the un-regarded Harris sessions particularly one last great message from one of the greatest talents of our times.

Roger Waters/Ron Geesin "Music From The Body" (Original Soundtrack)

(Harvest, November 1970)

Our Song/Sea Shell and Stone*/Red Stuff Writhe/A Gentle Breeze Blew Through Life/Lick Your Partner/Bridge Passage For Three Plastic Teeth/Chain Of Life/The Womb Bit/Embryo Thought/March Past Of The Embryos/More Than Seven Dwarfs In Penis Land/Dance Of The Red Corpuscles/Body Transport/Hand Dance - Full Evening Dress/Breathe*/Old Folks Ascension/Bedtime Dream-Clime/Piddle In Perspex/Embryonic Womb Walk/Mrs Throat Goes Walking/Sea Shell And Soft Stone*/Give Birth To A Smile*

* = Roger Waters Song

"The sunshine is not to blame - could be the insane inhumane games we play"

Hot on the heels of Syd's debut album comes Roger Waters' first solo work, an overlooked gem that finds Roger at his mellowest and proves that it wasn't just David Gilmour bringing the 'pastoral' vibe to the Floyd's releases around 1970. Typically for someone as visual as Roger, his first commission away from the band is for a film soundtrack, an oddball biology documentary which is nowadays even rarer to track down than the soundtrack album and - astonishingly - even more weird. This is, you see, not a true solo album but a collaboration with 'Atom Heart Mother' collaborator Ron Geesin, who gets to show what sort of weird things he can do successfully when not being interrupted by dodgy rhythm tracks, brass bands and album covers featuring cows. In some ways it's the true psychedelic heir to 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' full of bizarre bodily sound effects and creepy spoken word pieces that make the human body sound like a weirder place than any amount of Syd landscapes full of gnomes and scarecrows and Lucifer Sams. Though Roger's game for his usual 'Careful With That Axe Eugene' creepy whispers, oddly enough he's mostly the 'straight' man to Geesin's joker across this LP, performing three actual songs on the album alone with acoustic guitar 'Grantchester Meadows' style and a fourth 'Give Birth To A Smile' with a guesting Pink Floyd. Roger, not yet at the height of his creativity, effectively writes the same song four times with different words but no matter - they/it are/is a good one!

'The Body' also sounds far closer in feel and theme to 'Dark Side Of The Moon' than any of the albums the Floyd did together before this. Though the passage of mankind from birth to death via all manner of odd things happening in between brings out the dafter side of Geesin's box of tricks, it clearly touched a nerve with Roger (who, funnily enough, gets thinking about the mind rather than the body). For the first time he's thinking deeply about what it means to be a human being, what the point of any of this puzzling existence is and a fear that the human body cycle is too brief to give him time for all the things he needs to say. Though most of the songs reflect the message of 'Time' best, the song 'Breathe In The Air' is a dead ringer for 'Breathe' itself and even starts with the same opening line ('Breathe in the air...') though the next lines 'Make for the meadow and savour the grass while it lasts' make it clear that Roger's still in his 'mother nature's son' phase here. Elsewhere 'Sea Shell and Stone' is a gloriously descriptive song about mankind's journey out of the primordial soup that's done with a characteristic mixture of humour and awe that will become Roger's trademarks ('Hillock and hump, Hummock and clump and mound, I feel a lump, here a bump, see a low bulbous sound!') The track is later given an string quartet reading which is rather lovely  and demonstrates that Roger was a great melodicist as well as lyricist (it's re-named 'Sea Shell And Soft Stone' even though the tune's identical to 'Breathe' and similar to the others anyway). 'Give Birth To A Smile', meanwhile, mixes the Floyd's rather heavy handed performance with gospel singers for the first time, with a lyric that sounds more like 'River Deep Mountain High' and tries hard to end the record on a positive life-affirming note with a similar rush of energy to 'Eclipse', only it doesn't quite come off as heard here.

That leaves 'Chain Of Life' as the album's overlooked gem, as a baby ages through childhood in the space of a song with Roger the stern yet proud parent looking on through all the major milestones. Though a list song, as so often happens with Roger, this cavalcade of images is most effective, with Roger's nostalgic vocal sighing that 'childhood years are floating by'. The song stops in the teenage years, with the shy narrator trying to work up the courage to ask for a date, before Roger gets cosmic, imagining a higher power watching all this at speed just as he is on the camera: 'Good time, lifetime, good line, lifeline' - throwing in 'his future is your past' for parents reminded of their own childhood along the way. By the end of the song Roger has aged as many years himself, wheezing to us from his rocking chair, telling his grandchildren 'gathered round my chair' about memories of his own generation: 'carriages open to the breeze, muffin boys and trams and trees', summing up a disappearing world with some aplomb given how few of these things are left now. The song ends with Roger sighing that when he was young 'the world was not so small', old long before his time. Leading in to some scary Geesin passages that are meant to represent birth ('The Womb Bit', credited to both Ron and Roger which sounds like 'Atom Heart Mother's central riff to boot) it's highly effective and startling, adding pathos to what till now has been a sneezing flatulent comedy of sound effects.

Admittedly you won't want to play the rest of the album that much - of Ron's solo tracks only 'March Past Of The Embryos' is all that striking, sounding like a psychedelic King's Singers on acid. The other two Ron/Roger collaborations are two art college students messing around really. 'Our Song' does feature an inventive use of sound effects similar to 'Money' as a baby's laugh, slapped thighs and flatulence combine into the daftest rhythm track ever. 'Body Transport', though, is simply Roger trying to make Ron laugh while he tries to record some snoring sound effects, rounding off with a loud peal of giggles and return of Roger's raving lunatic Scotsmen ('Save us all!' he cries, even though he's the one what started the chaos!) 'The Body' isn't really an album made for easy listening and was probably never intended to last past the lifetime of the film - which really wasn't very long at all. However the strength of Roger's core songs actually makes this his best and most realised project outside 'Amused To Death', revealing a lovely simple folky side we never got to hear anywhere near enough of and hinting at the depths in Roger's psyche that till now have only really been heard on Syd-style psychedelic space epics and a song about clouds. 'The Body' was a huge boost for Roger's confidence and it's ripples will be felt long into his concept works, with this set ong overdue for another CD release. By the way, the film soundtrack differs slightly from the album, with rougher versions of  'Breathe' (with the 'Cirrus Minor' bird sound effect yet again!), 'Sea Shell and Stone' and 'Give Birth To A Smile'.

"Relics"

(Starline, May 1971)

Arnold Layne/Interstellar Overdrive/See Emily Play/Remember A Day/Paintbox/Julie Dream/Careful With That Axe Eugene/Cirrus Minor/The Nile Song/Biding My Time/Bike

"Why can't we blow the years away?"

Relics, a reminder of what Floyd used to be at just the moment when they'd finally worked out who they can become, is a real fan favourite and for good reason - it's one of my favourite AAA compilations in fact, offering a combination of hits and rarities and album tracks that offer a breadth of character a mere singles compilation could never have managed along with a typically early Floyd cheeky grin. Subtitled ‘a bizarre collection of antiques, rarities and curios’, it even comes with the band's only Nick Mason-drawn front cover on an equally bizarre retro-technological object, using his draughtsmanship/architect skills to good measure (Mike Leonard would have been proud). Gloriously Floyd (its big and its bold and its slightly silly, though made up of practical elements and using several musical instruments to make up a...whatever it is) it's one of the band's best album covers and was even made for 'real' and photographed for the CD release (the model was then auctioned off to fans for charity; it's pretty big so goodness only knows what the winners did with it; I still prefer the charming drawing though).

As for the music, this is the last time on a band release that Syd Barrett is very much the driving force, perhaps as a belated attempt to 'push' his two solo albums as the band become increasingly concerned for his welfare now that their own careers are much more stable. His influence is firmly felt on side one which mixes the band's only two hits at this point in time making their first appearance on a longer-lasting long-playing record, a boon to any compilation. Arnold Layne, the debut single about a cross-dressing weirdo who stole clothes from washing lines (no other band would have gotten away with this...) and the psychedelic splendour of ‘See Emily Play'. There's also album classic 'Interstellar Overdrive' (Syd's best guitar workout)  and two Rick songs that are both enhanced enormously by his distinctive slide guitar playing ('Paintbox' and the superb 'Remember A Day').Meanwhile over on side two many of these songs are 'about' Syd: the creepy 'Julia Dream' (Gilmour's first vocal) is a Waters B-side that may refer to madness and ends with the creepy Waters cry 'Save me...Syd!' or words to that effect); 'Cirrus Minor' from 'More' re-creates the hazy surreal feel of the Barrett era Floyd and the Waters B-side 'Careful With That Axe Eugene' is the single creepiest song in the AAA canon - I'd stake Battersea Power Station on the fact that Roger at least partly had his disintegrating friend in mind when he came up with that eerie riff and all the screams. The set even ends with 'Bike', because where on earth can you go after this surreal journey that takes us from earthly cycles to a mad room full of clockwork toys?

The album nearly-ends, thoughm, with a taste of what's to come. Gilmour's screams on Waters' 'The Nile Song' (also from 'More') represent the first track the Syd-era Floyd would never have dared to tackle, a cod heavy metal rocker that's as tough and brittle as Syd's songs were fragile and (largely) playful. There's also the one song exclusive to this set, a 1969 Waters outtake 'Biding My Time' in which Roger takes an early lead vocal over a jazzy backing that features the rest of the band playing unusual instruments (most notable for Rick's unhinged trombone). The song worked well when used as part of the Floyd's 1970 suite 'The Man' (where this song represented pointless work and often came after a bit of on-stage malarkey featuring carpentry) and slightly well less well here, falling apart in a chaotic ending that leaves the sound throbbing through the speakers in a Who-style manner long after the main noise has ended. You doubt too whether the Syd-era Floyd would have been quite so dark or quite so jazzy, with Waters' finding his voice on one of his earliest bitingly cynical songs more based in the real world than the Syd-style trips into space on 'Saucerful Of Secrets'.

Overall 'Relics' is a great taster of what had been and what's to come, released at just the right time to remind new comers where the Floyd had been and where they still have to go, while giving overlooked songs a new lease of life and giving house room to a couple of leftovers. What stops this compilation being perfect is what’s missing – several singles from the period aren’t here and are fabulous (Point Me At The Sky, Candy And A Currant Bun, Syd’s forgotten and under-rated ‘farewell’ song ‘Apples and Oranges’) and oddly there's nothing from the revebtly released 'Atom Heart Mother' here either. While in the vinyl age that would have meant either making this a pricier set or leaving something good out, there's no excuse for not adding these tracks in the CD age, many of which have only been made available since as part of a pricey £100+ box set. What are you trying to do to collectors, Floyd? Turn us into ageing relics too?!

"A Nice Pair"


(EMI/Harvest, '1974')

Disc One: 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'

Disc Two: 'A Saucerful Of Secrets'

"Whyat exactly is a dream? And what exactly is a joke?"

Realising that Pink Floyd were going to take their time to release a full follow-up to 'Dark Side Of The Moon', EMI did the sensible thing by leaving the compilations to the pretty comprehensive 'Relics' and instead decided on a full re-issue of the band's first two records. It was a sort of 'and this, children, is where the story all began' moment that if nothing else helped to explain the cryptic questions of 'whose this Syd geezer the band keep talking about in interviews?' Syd is of course the star of these two albums and hearing them back to back makes the sudden rise and fall seem even sharper, with the thrilling opening notes of 'Astronomy Domine' giving way to the bittersweet coda 'Jugband Blues' a little more than an hour later. Though straight repeats, many fans are fond of these sets as their 'introduction' to the older Floyd and especially for the witty Hipgnosis covers, which gave the art department the chance to go all out and design not just one idea but dozens! The saucy title was named by Roger partly because he knew it would tickle the Hipgnosis team, while it also gave them a chance to use up several old ideas floating around with not one image on this sleeve but dozens. Highlights includes the literal frog in the throat, the giant fork in the middle of a rugby pitch, a literal kettle of fish, a woman whose coat is there but whose limbs aren't (this will be embellished for next album 'Wish You Were Here') and the scariest football team you'll ever see (actually the Floyd themselves and some showbiz pals: Roger and Dave look the part; Rick and Nick less so). Inevitably with a name like this Hipgnosis got into trouble for the copious nudity seen on the sleeve and had to censor the back cover image of a naked girl eating jelly. Even more controversially in my view, Hipgnosis covered the inner sleeve shots of some great unseen pictures of the early Floyd with coffee cup stains, making part of it un-viewable! (Do you mind, some of those shots are priceless!) Look out, top right middle, for the only photographic session for the five-man Floyd. In the wake of 'Dark Side' the band could have released anything - erm, even an album made out of the sounds of household objects - and it would have been a hit, with this double-priced double-album set of previously released material doing staggeringly well to make #21 in the UK album charts. The record did so well there was a sequel combining Syd's two solo albums which didn't do too badly either and best of all helped bring Syd in some more royalty money at just the point where he was struggling financially. The verdict? A nice pair of albums. What else could we put really?!



"Syd Barrett"

(EMI/Harvest, '1974')

The Madcap Laughs: Terrapin/No Good Trying/Love You/No Man’s Land/Dark Globe/Here I Go//Octopus (Clowns and Jugglers)/Golden Hair/Long Gone/She Took A Long Cold Look At Me/Feel/If It’s In You/Late Night

Barrett: Baby Lemonade/Love Song/Dominoes/It Is Obvious/Rats/Maisie//Gigolo Aunt/ Waving My Arms In The Air/I Never Lied To You/Wined and Dined/Wolfpack/Effervescing Elephant

Following on from the success of the 'Nice Pair' record, EMI decided to have another bash at promoting flop albums and as Syd had been such a key part of the first two records decided to re-package his two albums together in a new cover (one featuring a matchbox, a plum and an orange - all key elements to 'Syd's first trip' allegedly, where they all started looking like planets). The record sold well - #166 in the Us Charts, which is pretty good for a re-release without the artist around to re-promote it. The success even led to Abbey Road asking Syd to try some more sessions, but alas Syd was too far gone by then and the resulting 20 minutes (available on bootleg but never released officially) are painful indeed. Much better to remember Syd this way.


"Masters Of Rock" aka "The Best Of Pink Floyd"

(Harvest, 1970/1974)

Chapter 24/Matilda Mother/Arnold Layne/Candy And A Currant Bun/The Scarecrow/Apples and Oranges/It Would Be So Nice/Paint Box/Julia Dream/See Emily Play

"Everybody lives beneath the ceiling, living out aq dream that sends them reeling"

Pink Floyd weren't exactly rock stars and would never claim to have mastered the art - but at the same time didn't release enough hit singles for a 'best of', which means that the first Floyd compilation has two names, both of them 'wrong'! The reason this album has two names is that it was released twice. The first 'Best Of' issue back in 1970 got almost no attention and very few sales considering it was released by a band who had their first number one album that year; the second, named 'Masters' and released as part of an entire series of EMI artists using that name in 1974, created bigger ripples thanks mainly to the fact that there was a sudden influx of new fans after 'Dark Side Of The Moon' eager to find out what the band used to sound like. Both sets are identical apart from the names and front covers ('Best Of' features a bored looking band posing in 1970; 'Masters' goes for some horrible lettering over a gold background) and the fact that the 1970 model is only in mono while the 1974 LP adds a few mock-stereo songs into the bargain (it's still the source for most stereo mixes of 'Apples and Oranges' to this day). Both sets make an intriguing counterpart to 'Relics', rounding up even rarer flop singles and album tracks with only the two bona fide 'hits' plus B-sides 'Julia Dream' and 'Paintbox' in common. It's a welcome chance to hear career highlights like 'Chapter 24' and 'Matilda Mother' again alongside what was back in 1970 and 1974 increasingly pricey singles like 'Apples and Oranges' and 'It Would Be So Nice' (the latter with the 'revised' lyrics 'Daily Standard' sadly, so the original single is still worth a fortune). With nothing here dating later than 1968, though, this has almost nothing in common with the sound of the Floyd in either 1970 or 1974 and must have confused more than a few fans who bought this expecting another 'Atom Heart Mother' or 'Dark Side Of The Moon'. Be warned that both records are now rather expensive and slightly rare. Some bootleggers down the years have taken advantage of the fact and used the titles for their own compilations: if your copy has a different track-listing to the one given here then you probably have an illicit copy I'm afraid.

Rick Wright "Wet Dream"

(EMI, May 1978)

Mediterranean C/Against The Odds/Cat Cruise/Summer Elegy/Waves//Holiday/Mad Yannis Dance/Drop In From The Top/Pink's Song/Funky Deux

"It was meant to be a holiday, building castles by the sea..time to pause and consider what we've done"

The sound of 'Wet Dream' is effectively of someone trying to take a long unwinding holiday to forget about things, but who keeps waking up in the middle of the night full of doubts about what to do when they get back home. Part relaxing travelogue, part dark teatime of the soul, 'Wet Dream' is an album that tries to very hard to unwind with the laidback groove that was always one of Rick's trademarks, but which ends up sounding at times more like the person that inspired most of it: Roger Waters. Rick was never the sort of person to rant and moan - he was never going to make an album like 'The Wall' or 'Final Cut' for instance - but in his own way 'Wet Dream' is the equivalent. By 1978 Rick was facing the end of his first marriage (and it had been a long marriage that had lasted longer than Pink Floyd), a new life in a new continent (for tax purposes), financial worries (Pink Floyd had been given some very dodgy financial advice and Rick felt it more than Roger and Dave who continued to earn a nice songwriting boost from 'Animals') and the possible end of the band that had been his life for the past fifteen or so years. Too old to really be able to start again with a whole new career (at least in the pop music business), but too young to retire Rick was facing a real crossroads in his life. After the frenetic sessions for 'Animals', where Rick felt belittled and stressed almost all the way through, taking a long writing holiday and recording a first solo album must have seemed like a great idea: a long resting unwind in Rick's beloved Greek Islands and a long period working on a record in his new adopted home in France, safe in the knowledge that it would be years before Pink Floyd ever got round to making anything else. But much as Rick tries to focus on having fun in the short-term, those long-term problems aren't going away and this sounds like someone having a rotten time on the quiet, dreading the moment when he picks up the phone to be told the Floyd are heading back into the studio...

In retrospect Rick might have found it far easier had he written this album but not recorded it. One of Roger's big problems was that Rick was a far slower writer than himself and in Waters' eyes the reason Wright's contributions grew less and less over the years was because he wasn't providing anything - oblivious of whether it was good or bad or not. With Gilmour in similar writing decline, in Roger's head he was doing the band a favour by providing all their material because otherwise there'd have been no albums at all and if it came together in a big concept then so be it - that was the way he worked. If Rick and Dave had saved the cream of their dual albums released in 1978 (and kept the rest back for release after) the health of the Floyd might have been very different, with Roger at least given a choice over having material to work with. Though Roger might have scowled at some of the lyrics and he'd no doubt have hated the overly poppy instrumentals, you hope that he'd have appreciated Rick's honesty and open-ness across this album, so similar to his own. Rick was always the passive melancholic yin to Roger's aggressive well-let's-change-it-then yang and the two contrasts were a powerful combination. 'Wet Dream' too is in its way as powerful a statement as anything Roger was making under the band name and this first solo record is one of the most overlooked Floyd solo albums of them all - but there is one major obstacle. Rick can't fill a whole album himself, he's just been attacked by Roger for not having any ideas after all, so in true Pink Floyd solo album style this is an album of instrumentals with the odd proper song scattered within it rather than a truly groundbreaking piece of art. Rick might have been better to have balanced these songs out a bit, to have a first side of 'holiday music' and a second side of soul searching but instead it's all thrown together in a jumble so that 'Wet Dream' never quite gains the momentum it deserves. Every-time the album does something great, you know with a sinking feeling that it's about to do something ghastly again in a minute.

Still, at the album's best - on about an EP's worth of songs - that doesn't really matter. More revealing than even Roger's  'Pros and Cons', never mind 'David Gilmour' and even Rick's later 'Broken China' (the supposedly revealing Rick album, or so we've always been told) there's a certain power about 'Wet Dream', which can go from being as bubbly as a Jacuzzi to as torrential as a waterfall in the time it takes to get your speedos on. 'Against The Odds' is Rick's self-deprecating comment that he isn't supposed to be able to do this and has almost forgotten how, while reflecting Lulu's 'I Don't Want To Fight No More' hit from decades later. 'Summer Elegy' is a superior Elton John style ballad about being stuck, effectively written to Roger as an open letter trying to understand him (and characteristically it's much kinder than anything Roger wrote about Rick). 'Holiday' tries so hard to forget the old life 'for another way to live' but can't help going back over old ground. 'Pink's Song', actually written for the tutor of Wright's children who was taking on more and more of the parenting work in Rick's absence, suggests by name alone that Roger was paying more attention than he pretended while busy scribbling 'The Wall' on a holiday of his own. Unlike Gilmour and Mason on their early solo albums, Rick's content to stick with the old Floyd sound rather than try something new, but naturally goes for a far more keyboard and especially piano based sound than normal, with Rick's sad sighing vocals unadorned by stinging Gilmour solos, big productions or harmony parts, which in itself is a 'new' style. For the most part it's a good one, as 'humble' a Pink Floyd album as any in the canon. This record only really goes wrong on the sappy poppy instrumentals, where Rick breaks with his usual sound for a bunch of upbeat faceless pop - which must have sounded pretty groundbreaking back in 1978 but forty years later hasn't aged as well as what the Floyd were up to under the band name. Still even these bits are better played than the more celebrated and supposedly 'atmospheric' instrumentals on Gilmour's later albums which got all the credit in later years and feature first contact with many of the musicians who'll be key on later albums, including sax player Mel Collins and Gilmour sound-alike guitarist Snowy White. Though ignored and dismissed both then and since as a self-indulgent oddity, with some of the worst sales of any Floyd-related album on release, 'Wet Dream' is proof that Rick was far more capable of writing, performing and producing top quality material than the rest of the band were prepared to give him credit for. Not for the first or last time, Wright was proved to be right, but no one was listening.

Many of the instrumentals are arranged around the sea - something that would later inspire the 'final' Pink Floyd album 'Endless River' in 2014 (actually a bunch of outtakes from 1993). 'Mediterranean C' sets the scene for the album with a geographic location that's the sunniest on the album, with Rick's synth sounding like the sun playing on the decks as the rhythm section puts the boat into a slow chug. Charming, if disposable.

'Against The Odds', though, is powerful, seemingly equally written about Rick's fading marriage and fading band. He keeps telling himself things will get better, but 'each time we return to this crazy place we break the promise made face to face'. The song switches from a confrontational major key for a timid minor key middle eight sighing 'I don't know why we go on so'. Trapped, Rick asks if there's a way out because he can't find one - he doesn't want to leave something that's brought him so much joy across his life, but when there's no joy to be had now is it kinder to make a clean break? Sung to a slow unfolding pattern of chords, with Rick's voice sounding small against such a big backdrop (barely heard above the piano chords and Snowy's flamenco guitar - again Roger was clearly listening given the similarities with his own 'Is There Anybody Out There?' written in the same period). A lovely mournful song, right in the Floyd tradition, this song is perhaps an extra verse away from greatness but it's an overlooked gem all the same.

'Cat Cruise' sounds like a period Pete Townshend solo instrumental, trying hard to be upbeat and poppy but never quite shaking off the nagging feeling of doubt and panic the contemporary sounds are trying so hard to overshadow. A twinkling rolling Rick part sounds like the waves, while some heavy drumming adds drama and a sax part sounds like a faster, more urgent 'Us and Them'.

'Summer Elegy' finds Rick confronting his demons again: 'Something's got to give - we can't carry on like this'. Having given himself time to think, Rick realises he'll never actually know what to do as 'one year more and I'm still unsure'. He's tried hard to escape his problems, given himself every opportunity to escape and have fun, but after another 'sleepless night and wasted day', he's got too many conflicting thoughts and fears this 'song' will never end. He sounds, in short, uncomfortably numb, with a last verse coming close to Roger style sarcasm as he drinks to 'absent friends' on the condition they remain absent! Returning to the watery theme, he ends the song by comparing himself to a boat about to sink if he doesn't do something fast: 'Time's running out' he sighs, 'and I'm about to go down'. Of course, this being Rick there's little urgency in this song's music, which is his usual sad slowly unfolding drama at a similar pace to 'Us and Them'.

The noisy 'Waves' is a sax heavy jazz song that must have reminded Rick of his early days at the start of the Floyd when he was looking round for a jazz band to join, not a rock one. Sax player Mel Collins' lovely warm rich tones are the highlight of this sleepy instrumental, which sounds more like a slowly building storm than simply 'waves'.

Over on side two Rick tells us that he's been looking forward to this 'Holiday', but it's all gone wrong and he needs another one, fast. Rick sounds as if he's fallen in love again (though he won't marry his second wife until 1984) but is nervous of revealing too much about himself, aware that he's coming across as 'a man who doesn't know where he stands'. Rick's fantasies about what might be hit reality head on as he tries to work out where one ends and another begins and gets confused about which way to go. Returning home he finds himself 'shut in, only half alive' so he takes off for another holiday, agreeing to 'sail on' wherever life takes him. Though lacking the same memorable melody as the other three actual songs on the album, this one is another delight with a very Floydian theme of escape and absence.

'Mad Yannis Dance' is an interesting instrumental. Needless to say for Rick, it's not a dance at all, too slow to even be a romantic waltz and with an eerie, claustrophobic feel that's about the closest he came to putting the Waters brand of paranoia in song. Played on what must back then have been a very modern sound, it's one of the more convincing songs without words on this album.

Alas 'Drop In From The Top' is probably the worst - a clunky Floyd soundalike that misses their breadth and passion and sounds like a backing track from 'Momentary Lapse'. Though usually I rate Snowy White highly he comes off as a very second rate Gilmour here, while Rick seems to have forgotten how to play the funky grooves that were once second nature in the early 70s. Usually the word 'slow' is a complement when describing Rick's slowly unfolding beauty, but this track needs to played about ten times faster to get any swing at all.

Luckily 'Pink's Song' is another highlight and a rare song of friendship and love from Rick. Written in honour of Pink, a family friend particularly close to Rick's children, this song is half tribute and half apology to someone 'thrown into our lives' who quickly realised the tension between the couple and 'saw through our disguise'. Rick tributes Pink with 'giving me time to breathe', taking the daily pressures away so Rick could find himself again and supportive even as Rick makes the hard decision to go 'because I can no longer stay'. Though infused with the sorrow of the rest of the album, you can tell this quiet song has a warm heart and Rick means every praising word. The addition of flutes is a nice and unusual touch too, making this song sound more folky than most.

The album should have ended there, but no - we get more lumpy modern jazz in the form of 'Funky Deux', which might well be named for the most 'Rick' section of the 'Atom Heart Mother' named 'Funky Dung'. This one however swings even less convincingly and feels suspiciously like the musicians are clock watching until they've vamped long enough to fill out the rest of the album. A real shame that the album had to end on one of its two poorest tracks.

Overall, though, 'Wet Dream' has a lot of things going for it. Pretty without being empty, sad without being saccharine and relentlessly modern without it being in a dear-God-please-remix-this-now kind of a way like 'Momentary Lapse Of Reason', it's an album that's far more convincing than any of the other Floyd's debut albums ('The Madcap Laughs' being an understandable example). The four actual songs could easily have sat side by side with the best songs from 'The Wall' and 'David Gilmour' (three albums all about regret and failure, they would have fitted together better than you might expect; David's 'There's No Way Out Of Here' would have slotted onto this album perfectly with its tale of entrapment and fear of the future). Sadly what should have re-energised Rick only made things worse and left him without even half-ideas to work on when the band reconvened the following year. That brave new world Rick dreamt of only really began coming together a decade or so after this album and you get the sense that secretly he rather realised it here too. The poor sales for this album rather put him off making another too - though Rick will play around with being part of a synth double act in the 1980s he won't make another actual solo album for eighteen years. Hard to find, full of instrumental filler and released by the band member everyone always dismisses, there are several good reasons why 'Wet Dream' has been ignored by fans for so long. But the real fans long ago learnt that 'Wet Dream' might well be the most Pink Floyd album of all the solo records - humble, sad, shy and full of amazing beauty if only you're prepared to work at finding it. And working at finding the hidden beauty in forgotten records really is my kind of a holiday. Much under-rated and second only to 'Amused To death' in the solo Floyd stakes.





"David Gilmour"

(EMI, May 1978)

Milhalis/There's No Way Out Of Here/Cry From The Street/So Far Away/Short and Sweet//Raise My Rent/No Way/Deafinitely/I Can't Breathe Anymore

"The boat we're sailing might have a leak or two, but I know it's sound - just like me and you"

Released the same month as Rick's 'Wet Dream', the self-titled Gilmour debut was similarly overlooked at the time, though in this case fans have tended to go back and claim this album as a lost classic. It isn't quite - the album plays it safe a little too often and features more cover songs than you might be expecting - but it is fair to say that Roger's claims that the rest of the band never had any decent material to offer him might have been quite different if both Dave and Rick had kept back the stronger of this batch of songs for him to work with, Actually, Gilmour did: the melody for what will become 'Comfortably Numb' was taped for this album but left unused, pounced on by Roger as the perfect innocent platform for his counterpart terror. The rest of 'David Gilmour' sounds like it could have done with a quick going over by Roger too: there are several great bits to this album and songs like the Floydian Claustrophobic/death epic 'I Can't Breathe Anymore' rank alongside Gilmour's very best. However much of it seems to be lacking that last 10% to make it shine, a middle eight here or an intriguing lyrics here, while Gilmour seems all too comfortable to stick with what he's got forming in his brain rather than risk it all for something that never comes. Even by Floyd standards, this is a very repetitive LP. Like Rick there are too many instrumentals here compared to songs, though again like Rick they are rather good ones, if lacking something to make them great. 'Deafinitely' for instance is like a dry run for 'Run Like Hell' crossed with the riff from 'Sheep', but lacks the impact of both thanks to a sluggish tempo and a lack of anything else added to the mix.

Where Gilmour gains, though, is in the wonderful down to earth performance (this record was made in a month - it took the Floyd that long to get the drum sound and argue over the biscuits) and production that makes such a refreshing change after hearing so many polished LPs (although the angry swagger does recall 'Animals' in parts). This record is effectively made by a power trio, with Gilmour matched nicely by his old pals from Joker's Wild: bassist Rick Wills and drummer Willie Wilson, who had to take a sabbatical from his day job in The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver to make the record (there's a great shot in the inner sleeve of the trio looking ridiculously young, especially a be-quiffed Gilmour). It's remarkable to me that, thirteen years after their EP together, Gilmour was still friendly enough with his two old pals for them to agree to work with him, with none of the usual court cases or tinges of betrayal and jealousy. After all, that's like expecting John Lennon to have the phone number of his old Quarryman washboard player to hand when forming the Plastic Ono Band or for Neil Young to actually remember the name of the band he worked with forty groups ago. That just never happens and is testament to how loved in the industry Gilmour is. This is still very much his LP, though, and out of the four Floyds post-Barrett who released their first solo albums he sounds the most comfortable being by himself (yes, even Roger misses David on 'Pros and Cons' more than he misses Roger). The album's radioplay hit 'So Far Away' features one of the most gorgeously expressive Gilmour vocals, while his guitar burns a hole in the band jams like never before. In some alternate universe somewhere Syd Barrett has just beamed a new version of 'Interstellar Overdrive from space with a hologram version of Pink Floyd and David was never needed in the band, but became a solo star anyway thanks to albums like this one that sold bucketloads. If at times this album skirts a little too close to being tribute band Floyd rather than the real thing, then it's impressive there aren't more mistakes from someone who'd never made a whole album on his own before and - until the making of 'Animals' turned him away from the Floyd - had never shown any interest in doing so. It's a lot more suitable in the Floyd discography than 'Momentary Lapse' anyway...

The rough instrumental 'Milhalis' - Greek for 'Michael' - is one of those scene setters that later Gilmour solo albums will be full of. Pleasant without really doing that much, it features some nice Gilmour-played synthesiser behind his usual stinging guitar, played more aggressively than Rick's usual style (just as the guitar on Rick's album is more passive than Gilmour's work).

Gilmour first heard the song 'No Way Out Of Here' by the band Unicorn when he was producing their first album for them. Perhaps impressed with the strong take on an old Floyd trick (a deeply unhappy song given a contrast with a nicely hopeful chorus), Gilmour takes the germ of a song and makes it his own, switching the main riff to an unusual electronically-treated harmonica part and keeping his guitar instead to angry rhythm and the occasional soaring line. Claustrophobic but with the promise of release, it's perfect for Gilmour to show off all sides of his vocal character.

The hard-edged 'Cry From The Street' is a bit of a bad idea, though, a clunking blues song that's less a cry from the street than a minor wail from a millionaire's holiday home. 'Run Like Hell' without the fun, it's a paranoid song so lazy you can hear this mugger coming a town away.

'So Far Away' starts off like a generic piano torch ballad but actually turns into a rather a strong song that, very much like Rick's material, expresses doubt over a dead-end in Gilmour's life. Though like his partner David could be singing about his band and Roger in particular, this song is much more of a love song and finds him debating the collapsing marriage between him and first wife Ginger. Sighing that he always knows what to say in his head before arguments happen, he thinks he's 'always going to come off second best' and again like Rick worries 'is this a dream or is this real life?' We rarely hear David so vulnerable and only a typically breathtaking fiery solo is played above a whisper. Delightful.

'Short and Sweet' marks the second appearance in this book by Roy Harper, the guest vocalist of 'Wish You Were Here's 'Have A Cigar'. A simple, bluesy instrumental, you wonder that it took two people to think of this simple song, which with its slashing chords and simple hook sounds more like the sort of thing writers come up with in their first year of making music.

The six minute 'Raise My Rent' is being set up to be an epic, but sadly it never comes: instead David chickens out of turning this into the full song it's crying out to be and simply makes it an overlong instrumental instead. A shame because the chord changes are rather nice, especially with pinging Rick-style organ buried right at the bottom of the mix.

'No Way' is the song that most points forward to second Gilmour album 'About Face' and  features the famous passive-aggressive truculence Waters complained about so much. 'I won't go down easy 'cause that's not my style' scoffs David on a song that could be addressed to either his wife or Roger. Played with a sultry sexy swagger and an impressive confidence, it's a sort of fast paced blues that's nicely played.

'Deafinitely' is actually a lot more restrained than its title suggests, a reprise of 'Sheep' with the bitter sting taken out. David has fun going mad on a space-age sounding synthesiser but the real song is going on in the bed of guitars underneath. Nice while it lasts, but not the sort of track you hurry to listen to again.

Luckily closer 'I Can't Breathe Anymore' may well be the album highlight, another sad and mournful song that suggests Dave and Rick should have got together. David sounds as if he's having a panic attack but he's not quite sure why - he's always had his feet 'on the ground' but this time he's 'flat on the floor'. Trapped, David sighs that this is a 'tale without end' but simultaneously stops himself and says that there are so many 'divorce' songs in the world everyone knows where this one will end. However there's a hint that this is more about the band than his marriage: 'I want to be there at the kill, with or without God on my side' Giulmour teeth-gnashes in a line that even Roger might have considered a little too brutal, although in context with this song's sleepy weariness it makes perfect sense. This is the sound of a man who knows how to fight and will do it again if need be, but he tired of having to fight long ago. We all know the song is going to do Gilmour's favourite trick of changing tack midway through and taking off into a compendium of fireworks, but the solo is still pretty terrific when it arrives. Easily the most memorable and original moment on the album.

Overall, then, 'David Gilmour' is a bit of a treat. Not a lot of a treat perhaps and by the time you've taken the songs that don't quite work out of the equation you're not left with that much after all. But even with such caveats this feels like a substantial album, a missing part of the Floyd puzzle in the way that his third and fourth solo albums just aren't packed enough to match. I still think that the even more overlooked 'About Face' is a better album, though I seem to be in a minority in the Floyd community, but 'David Gilmour' is another strong album from an under-rated talent.

 Other Pink Floyd articles from this site you might be interested in reading: 

‘Obscured By Clouds’ (1972) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/pink-floyd-obscured-by-clouds-1972_3681.html

‘Animals’ (1977) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/pink-floyd-animals-1977.html

'The Wall' (1980) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-76-pink-floyd-wall-1979.html

'The Final Cut' (1983) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/pink-floyd-final-cut-1983.html

'A Momentary Lapse Of Reason' (1987) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2013/12/pink-floyd-momentary-lapse-of-reason.html

'Amused To Death' (Waters) (1992) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-96-roger-watters-amused-to-death.html 


The Best Unreleased Pink Floyd Recordings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/the-best-unreleased-pink-floyd-songs.html





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