Category: Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd – Meddle

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                         MeddleCover.jpeg

TITLE: Meddle

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #70 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: One of These Days

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Echoes

LINEUP: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, Nick Mason

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After being in the weeds for a few years, Pink Floyd capitalizes on their strengths and create a record that fulfills the potential of the band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: With the first ‘pings’ on side two, Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” moves from a moody instrumental theme, to a meditation on life on the planet, to one of the best psychedelic jams and David Gilmour guitar solo. Then, it gets weird, with the seagulls or albatrosses in the lyrics being heard. Back to the original themes with a dramatic ending.

This song is the precursor for every Floyd song in the 70’s and for better or worse overshadows the first side.

Yet, the first side is definitely an improvement over any studio record in 1969 or 1970. Every song is varied, and while they don’t 100% work all of the time, they make a nice cornucopia of the band’s styles – and the songs are better, as a whole, than anything since A Saucerful of Secrets.

All of the band members make excellent contributions, but this is really Gilmour’s album, with Rick Wright also shining. This is a must listen.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Echoes” was the centerpiece of the Pink Floyd at Pompeii film.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A:  A couple of cuts on side one aren’t as strong as they could be, but you gotta have this.

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                                          AtomHeartMotherCover.jpeg

TITLE: Atom Heart Mother

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #55 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The title track

LINEUP: Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright, Nick Mason. The EMI Orchestra and the John Aldis choir was involved as well.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Audacious side-long suite shows the bands ambitions and weaknesses, while the individual songs on side two add a factor of meh to the proceedings.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There are some folks who think this record is the epitome of Pink Floyd’s early period, and I’d like to know why they think that.

The first side is the 23-minute long mega-suite with a choir and orchestral sections, making it another in a line of rock+orchestra releases from the UK around this time. It’s got some nice pieces and parts but seems bogged down in pretention, especially with the choir.

The other side features a song each from the band (well, everyone is credited with “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” but it’s really a Nick Mason joint), and they’re rather disposable songs to be honest – nothing that really excites you or causes you to throw the record away.

I can say the best part of the album is really the cover. Not that this is bad like More, or the solo sides of Ummagumma. It’s just pretension amping up mediocre art.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They tried to tour this bloody thing with brass sections and a choir, but they had to hire the brass on the fly and they lost money all in all.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+:  Soon, Pink Floyd will find the spark they had from their early days. This is just treading water, though.

Pink Floyd – Ummagumma

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                         pinkfloyd-album-ummagummastudio-300

TITLE:  Ummagumma

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #74 US, #5 UK

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Live version of four early Pink Floyd classics

LINEUP: David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A fantastic live set, and then….

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: First, the live part of the double album. Even if it’s missing “Interstellar Overdrive” (recorded but not used), the four songs they chose (“Astronomy Domine”, “Careful with That Axe Eugene”, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “A Saucerful of Secrets”) demonstrate early Floyd at their peak, showcasing their musicianship and demonstrating that they weren’t just a product of the studio.

Then there are the studio sides. Each member got one half of one side, and self-indulgent doesn’t cover it. There are a couple of real songs in parts and they’re BORING AS HELL. The others are just meandering, and in retrospect the band didn’t seem into it, either.

Stick to the live stuff, and forget about the rest.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Basically, everyone in the band has issues with the studio sides when all was said and done.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+:  The live side gets an A (A+ even), but gawd…my brain hurst from the studio goop.

Pink Floyd – More

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                                  morecover

TITLE:  More

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #153 US, #9 UK

SINGLES: The Nile Song

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Cirrus Minor, Cymbaline

LINEUP: David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Soundtrack album to a Barbet Schroeder film has a couple of interesting things, and some really noodly stuff.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Pink Floyd was chosen by Barbet Schroeder to provide the soundtrack to his film More, a study of a junkie and his girlfriend in Ibiza. Yeah, happy stuff there.

The first side of the album has some actual songs. Many of them are acoustic folk-type numbers that really are oddballs in the Pink Floyd canon, but they’re there. The second side? Incidental music is about all I can say. A couple of tracks are interesting but the rest is just fluff.

Only a couple of tracks stand out – “Cirrus Minor” and “The Nile Song”, which is proto-heavy metal. Find those and forget the rest unless you want to get into a torpor like the junkie in the film.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This thing has been officially renamed a bunch of times. Just call it More and leave it be.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C-:  This sold in France and the UK, somehow. I wouldn’t have bought it.

Pink Floyd – A Saucer Full of Secrets

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                           220px-saucerful_of_secrets2

TITLE:  A Saucer Full of Secrets

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #9 UK

SINGLES: Let There Be More Light

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Set the Control for the Heart of the Sun, A Saucerful of Secrets, Jugband Blues

LINEUP: Roger Waters, Rick Wright, Nick Mason. David Gilmour is on five tracks, and Syd Barrett is on only three.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A transitional album full of psychedelic explorations and Syd Barrett’s last Pink Floyd composition that was released in his time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The story of this album is in its second side. The title track is the only released song that both David Gilmour and Syd Barrett appear on, then there’s a Rick Wright song that it seemed bored everyone, including the author (needed it for the numbers, you know), and then, Barrett’s parting shot “Jugband Blues”.

This album doesn’t stand up to their debut, but how could it given the circumstances? Barrett’s decent into madness left them with an album to complete, and others pressed into duty to write it. Barrett’s chum Gilmour steps in to help, and becomes a full time member contributing greatly to the title track.

What we have is some brilliance, and some mediocrity (“Corporal Clegg” and Wright’s “See-Saw”). The band moves from playful, to more of a heavy-handed approach, and they’d keep that hand for the rest of their career.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They thought that Syd could become a Brian Wilson-like figure, writing songs and not touring – it didn’t work.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. It was released for a while with their debut in a two-album vinyl set.

GRADE: B+:  The highlights are an “A”, but the lowlights drag it down.

Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

ARTIST: Pink Floyd            piper

TITLE: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

YEAR RELEASED: 1967

CHART ACTION: #131 (US), #6 (UK)

SINGLES: Flaming

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine, Bike

LINEUP: Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, Nick Mason.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pink Floyd’s debut album, released after a couple of great singles, is one of the classics of the psychedelic era. It sounds nothing like the rest of their catalog, as it’s the only album where Barrett was a fully functioning (emphasis on functioning) member.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Wow, just wow. It’s playful, fun, and also intense (thanks to “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive”). Each side starts out heavy and then moves light in some brilliant sequencing. The lyrics are a joy, talking about cats and gnomes and kingdoms and bicycles. “Bike” may be the perfect album closer – a cherry on the psychedelic top.

Barrett is in full control here. These are his songs, his vision, and his colorful art. His guitar sounds a little off at times, but you can tell that’s intentional. He’s trying to make some sounds that are in his brain – and using some dissonance as well for great effect. I can only imagine their light shows and their live sound at this time. It must have been quite a trip.

Wright’s organ is really the anchor – grounding the songs but working well with Barrett’s forays into hyperspace.

NOTES & MINUTAE: The US version released in 1967 added the excellent single “See Emily Play”, but ripped out the heart of the album (no “Astronomy Domine” or “Bike” or “Flaming” (the US single). They also sequenced “Interstellar Overdrive” as the final cut, which kind of defeats its impact. Man, US record companies sucked in the 60’s.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes. It has a mono and stereo mix of the record, plus the A’s and B’s of their first three UK singles. You must hear “Candy and a Currant Bun” and “Apples & Oranges” to get a sense of Barrett as he was losing it.

GRADE: A: This is so radical and different for Pink Floyd you’d have no idea that they went on to become…well…Pink Floyd. Just a joy to listen to.