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  1. #51
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    This is the Floyd equivalent of coming into a Dr. Who thread and seeing people dismissing anything produced by Verity Lambert and starring Bill Hartnell!

  2. #52
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    Looks like the Piper has failed to win over Phil after a first listen. I suspect that it is worth coming back to in a few years time, or at any time, because I've enjoyed it more for listening to it a few times. Interstellar Overdrive in paticular works better if you're familiar with the arrangement.

    I'm too busy listening to Chinese Democracy...
    What does G'n'F'n'R stand for again?
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Baynes View Post
    This is the Floyd equivalent of coming into a Dr. Who thread and seeing people dismissing anything produced by Verity Lambert and starring Bill Hartnell!
    Assume you're going to Win
    Always have an Edge

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    Looks like the Piper has failed to win over Phil after a first listen. I suspect that it is worth coming back to in a few years time, or at any time, because I've enjoyed it more for listening to it a few times.
    I beg to state that I've listened to it a few times over the last few weeks.
    Yes, mostly Sunday through to today, but once a couple of weeks ago just after I bought it; which also included the experimentation with the second CD .

    I've also bought and listened to "Echoes" (a few years ago) where "Astronomy Domine" and "Bike" start and finish the whole compilation.
    Actually, as I go through each album I ought to revisit Echoes and match the tracks on that to each album.


    You're right, I will most probably come back to all these albums in a few years time and re-listen to them. How much fondness I do that with will depend on what I get out the Time Team as a whole, rather than the individual albums (save for a select few, details of which to come ... )


    I've decided to give me head a rest and won't attempt a first listen to "A Saucerful Of Secrets" until tomorrow.
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post

    What does G'n'F'n'R stand for again?
    Guns N' F%$kin Roses.

  6. #56
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    The Piper at the gates of dawn (1967)

    More perhaps than "Sgt. Pepper", "The Piper at the gates of dawn" takes me back to 1967 as if I'd lived through the whole flowered up era. They were strange times, when the dream of change was a creative urge as well as a humanitarian one, and the times were buzzing with the possibilities. There was also a retreat into a kind of re-imagining of childhood, were elves and fairies danced side by side with an idealised vision of the past (for example, Victoriana became quite trendy in the late '60s). An interest in all things green and ecological was also part of the dawning of Aquarius, and was a nice foil to the plastic and chrome, mini-skirted vision of the '60s.

    Times that were a changin' indeed. Without digressing into social commentary about the time, it is worth noting how difficult it is for me to listen to "Piper" without it evoking a sense of what London may have been like in 1967. Therein lies part of the record's appeal (and perhaps why some people don?t like it). It's a dated album, in many respects, but that is not necessarily to its detriment. Listening to "Piper" is the aural equivalent of looking into a kaleidoscope glass and turning the tube- it's a disconcerting, surreal and odd experience, but wonderfully dazzling, creative and full of sudden bursts of joy. Probably rather like the late 1960s themselves for many of a certain age.

    The album begins in suitably impressive fashion with "Astronomy Domine". Its whole structure sets us up for the rest of the album. It's quite basic but is made far more interesting by the unique presentation. Guitars don't sound quite like guitars and there's some sonic experimentation here that must have blown pop fans away in 1967. Syd Barrett's lyrics also set a precedent for the rest of the record- surreal and ever so slightly disturbing, whilst also oddly charming. "lime and limpid green, a second scene, a fight between the blue...."

    "Lucifer Sam" isn't quite as impressive but continues the odd ambience very well and I like the trippy guitar. "Matilda" is mysterious and catches the imagination, making me visualise strange far-away lands. This seems to be the effect many Pink Floyd songs have on the imagination, and it started here on the first album. "Flaming" continues this impression by making me mentally project myself into some big English garden in the middle of summer. I think it has an Alice in Wonderland quality about it, but again that is more to do with the images the music creates in my head. It's difficult to judge "Piper" from a dry academic musical perspective sometimes, because the vivid images it conjures up in my mind are a part of the whole listening experience. It's child-like exuberance is a quality I think Syd gave Pink Floyd that was never really retained after his departure. "Yippee, you can't see me, but I can you!..."
    This is pop music as an acid drenched, optimistic run around the blooming garden of rose tinted fun, yet with a very subtle edge of dark that returns in some of the other tracks.
    It makes this an essential record of that summer of '67, because underneath all the cliched aural trappings of the time is a genuinely tuneful and innovative record. Besides, many of those '60s psychedelic rock cliches were probably invented by bands like Floyd!

    The album takes a dip in my affections at this point ("Pow R Toc H"), but remains sufficiently loony to keep my attention (What the hell is being said here by the way? "Boi Boi! Boi Boi!..." Mental.)
    However the next track fully writes the album back into my good books."Take up thy stethoscope and walk" has a great introduction with the catchy exclamations of "Doctor? Doctor!?" and is a catchy tune, and it even turns into an indulgent but engrossing keyboard psych-out.
    This does prepare for "Interstellar Overdrive" though- a track which occasionally skirts the edge of mediocrity, yet remains one of Pink Floyd's classic early recordings. It's rather rough round the edges but it's experimental nature is the point I guess, and I've never heard two recordings of it sound the same. It's main riff is infectious and strangely dangerous, putting it in nice juxtaposition to the album's more twee elements. This isn't, in my view, the best recording of the piece (I prefer the one on the "Let's all make love in London" soundtrack) and there may well have been unrecorded performances of this from the legendary UFO club and similar which might top even that.
    After "Interstellar Overdrive" the album almost runs out of steam, but not quite. A more pastoral and twee side of Syd Barrett is revealed in the catchy sing-along of "The gnome", the dreamy oddness of "Chapter 24" and the rural tripiness of "The Scarecrow". Finally comes a song that tends to polarize many Pink Floyd fans- "Bike". Personally I think it's one of the most delightfully absurd and insidiously catchy tunes from the album. The line "I've got a cloak, it's a bit of a joke.." makes me smile every time.

    The album ends with the sound of ducks quacking. Or at least I think they're ducks; it's sometimes difficult to tell with "The Piper at the gates of dawn". Familiar sounds weave in and out of a musical canvas that can be simultaneously joyful and mildly unsettling. Very few records as commercially successful as this capture the underbelly of the '60s summer of love. It's slightly twisted and in danger of losing itself in its own pretentions and drug induced madness. The record never quite does, but Syd Barrett evidently did, and I don't think he ever found that part of himself again.

    This is very much Syd Barrett's record, and I think the band were temporally lost without his guiding light. Sadly it's a light that was already dimming as 1967 turned into '68. Unfortunately it appears Syd was predisposed to the kind of mental illness than psychedelic drugs could only aggravate. "Piper" is drenched in not only the imagination of Barrett but also in the odd magnification that LSD gave to it. However a trip this wild needs a plan for getting back and perhaps Syd never did.
    The tracks where the other band members are more involved are not my favourites (with the exception of "Interstellar Overdrive") and it's the Syd penned tunes (which are largely the majority) that have my greatest affections.

    By the standards of its time and it's legacy of influence, "The Piper at the gates of dawn" is, I think, a remarkable record from a remarkable time. Pink Floyd would eventually became an arguably more accomplished and universally revered band, but I don't think they ever again quite managed the wonderful walk into the world of the whimsical that was Syd Barrett's calling. Syd wasn't a genius, but without his exceptional talent the world of pop and the band he started would have been far worse off without him and his all too short recording career.

    5 out of 5
    Last edited by Carol Baynes; 26th Nov 2008 at 11:22 AM.

  7. #57
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    What a wonderful review Carol. Your love for the album really shines through there and it's obvious you're looking at it from a slightly different perspective to myself, Steve and Phil, who are coming to it for the first time now.

    You're definitely right about the whimisical element of their sound being lost after this. Sometimes in subsequent albums they come across as terribly serious, and perhaps a little of this album's playfulness would have been a welcome antidote to that.

    I still find it a bit odd that I didn't find more to love in this album, as I've always been a fan of other UK psychedelic music. Maybe I just need to keep listening and it'll grow on me?

    Si xx

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  8. #58
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    I'm totally new to all this, so be gentle...

    Astronomy Domine
    Likes: Scratch guitar, psychedelic reverb on the guitars, the bass work
    Dislikes: The 'chorus' with its descending guitar wailing, the amount of sound effects

    Lucifer Sam
    Likes: Scratch guitar again! Bass riff & short keyboard solo (I assume it was a Hammond)
    Dislikes: The abrupt ending.

    Matilda Mother
    Likes: The layered singing, the melody, the keyboards - all very psychedelic!
    Dislikes: The abrupt ending.

    Flaming
    Likes: Can't think of owt.
    Dislikes: Bizzare opening, pedestrian drum work, the vocals, like the Beatles at their worst, the abrupt ending (they really didn't know how to end songs did they?)

    Pow R Toc H
    Likes: The playful piano & funky drum pattern, I'm bobbing my head in sync as I type this. Like the bass at the end.
    Dislikes: Weird shreiking noises & laughter - what a load of bollocks! Crap ending!

    Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk
    Like: Drums and the funky keyboard solo
    Dislike: Vocals/lyrics

    Interstellar Overdrive
    Like: The fact that it's instrumental! Reminds me of 'The Waiting Room' by Genesis (I'm sure they got the idea from listening to this). Some of the drum fills and patterns are very funky. Love the section with organ & crashing cymbals, sounds like the Radiophonic Workshop.
    Dislike: Some of the guitar noises were unpleasant. Wouldn't sit down and listen to it much, I assume I'd need some drugs to fully appreciate it. Another abrupt ending! Enjoyable, if a bit of a mess - I suspect the band weren't masters of their craft at this point.

    The Gnome
    Likes: The fact that I can understand the lyrics for once.
    Dislikes: The fact that it's pretty much filler to my ears, whimsical.

    Chapter 24
    Likes: Sunseeeeeeet.... Sunriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiise... love the organ work from Richard Wright (sounds like a Farfisa if I'm not mistaken) & atmospheres. The end suits the song!
    Dislikes: Can't think of owt, favourite song on the LP.

    The Scarecrow
    Likes: More Farfisa! Like it. Similar feel to the previous song, me likes.
    Dislikes: Short, but then again sweet.

    Bike
    Likes: WTF? I need drugs to like this song.
    Dislikes: The lyrics, if you can call them that. Bit self-indulgent and unworthy. Poor end to the album - is that a duck laughing at the end?!


    Overall, an interesting listen. I can see now that I like my prog rock to be a bit more structured and accomplished. I loved 'Chapter 24' and 'The Scarecrow' but the rest of it I can take or leave.

  9. #59
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    Piper at the Gates of Dawn

    I've not heard this in years i must admit. Last time i heard it gave me the overall impression of The Beatles music around the same time. In the past, my focus was always on rock/guitar oriented stuff, & for me 1967 will always dominated by 'Are You Experienced', which for me is the single most important album of the decade.
    However, reading all the reviews, (& Carol's in particular for it's fine sense of perspective) has prompted me to dig out my MP3 dvdr of the complete Pink Floyd, much of which came to me some time ago thanks to the combined efforts of Dave & Jeff, since the only Pink Floyd CD's i actually own are 'A Saucerful of Secrets' & 'Dark Side of the Moon'.
    I was unsure whether i wanted to committ to this time team, although despite my previous comments, it's not about disliking 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' - Infact it's much more to do with not liking a lot of their later work, some of which i find wholly miserable & depressing! But anyway, in the spirit of re-evaluation, i'm listening to the first album with an open mind, & i hope a not too jaundiced by 70's rock ear.

    Astronomy Domine ****

    Wow, i'd completely forgotten about this track! It sounds like Pink Floyd straight away, & not much like the Beatles at all, despite the harmony vocals.
    It's immediately apparent from the opening few seconds why the Floyd were such a huge influence on Hawkwind, many of whose individual members to be were big fans of early Floyd. They were still doing pulsing riffs & morse code noises about 10yrs later!
    It's a great intro, & for Steve's benefit the "bizarre guitar chord" is basically an Em with a Major 7th (ie: Eb) The dissonance is created by the clash of two notes which are only a semi-tone apart. Play an Em, then put your pinkie on the 4th fret on the B string, & you'll get the idea. It's not disimilar to the chord at the end of the James Bond theme, but that's got a 9th (F#) in it as well.
    Anyway, it's a good track. The key changes on the vocal parts are pretty unique for time i would've thought, & as Si observed, it's the sort of thing Floyd would continue to make use of for a long time to come. In many ways, this is a template for Pink Floyd in a single track. I like it!

    Lucifer Sam ***

    This made me laugh because the riff is so much like a 60's TV Detective Theme it's untrue! I swear to god this riff has been nicked as the basis for 'Inronside' or something!
    Aside from that i found this one a bit disposable, but still ok.

    Matilda Mother **

    Not very keen on this one overall. The falsetto harmony vocals on the chorus made me wince, but then i'm not keen on that sort of thing even when it's done by The Beach Boys. I liked the little Hammond organ solo though, although i get the idea from a couple of bits that Rick Wright was still learning. (Or was off his tits)

    Flaming **

    Hmmmm........ I kind of agree with Si on this one. Sid Barret's pychedelic nursery rhymes approach soon starts to wear thin. It's quaint, but not in a good a way.

    Pow R. Toc H. **

    The opening nonsense is immediately irritating, but although this sounds horribly patronising, i like what Rick Wright is trying to do on the piano, but it sounds a bit clumsy in parts it has to be said.
    Clearly this one's a bit more experimental overall, which is not a bad thing in itself, but i don't think this is a great example overall.

    Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk ***

    A bit of a jam, but although a little incoherent at times, i quite like it. Nice organ work. No so effective guitar stuff though. I like the song/vocal section at the end better than the one at the beginning.

    Interstellar Overdrive ***1/2

    Traditionally this one has always been my album favourite, largely because it was always the one i remember. Though i haven't heard it in years, i always thought of it as the start of Pink Floyd as i knew them.
    Hearing it again, i'm strangely less enamoured by it. Probably because i'm far more familiar with the tribute version recorded by Hawkwind which is a lot heavier & makes more use of the opening riff & the bassline that follows.
    I still like this version but some of the stuff in the middle is less effective than i remember. I still rate it as one of the better tracks on the album though, & totally innovative for it's time.

    The Gnome *


    Look i know you're dead Syd, but just **** off will you!
    Sorry but this is just 'Arnold Layne' style cack.

    Chapter 24 **

    It sounds as though it's an intelligent song, but it's not really grabbing me apart from the nice bass fills. Can't really knock it, but it's a bit hippy drippy for me personally.

    The Scarecrow *

    Is this part 2 of the last track or what? Sorry everyone, i suppose my patience with Barrett is starting to wear thin now. This is another non-entity.

    Bike **1/2

    I suppose this is the one that reminds of the Beatles. Ok, it's a bit rubbish really but at least it's fun rubbish. You can't help but smile along with it.


    Well it's kinda what i expected from it, but it's been interesting at least to listen to it again after all this time.
    Shock! Horror! 'Interstellar Overdrive' has been nudged out by 'Astronomy Domine' as my favourite track of the album.
    It's obvious that i'm far less enamoured of the Syd Barrett stuff in general. It's a shame he died & everything, but i'm afraid i prefer Pink Floyd without him. The next album is the one for me if you wanna talk about 'early' Floyd.

    2.5/5
    Last edited by Wayne; 26th Nov 2008 at 11:41 PM.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pip Madeley View Post
    I'm totally new to all this, so be gentle...

    Astronomy Domine
    Likes: Scratch guitar, psychedelic reverb on the guitars, the bass work
    Dislikes: The 'chorus' with its descending guitar wailing, the amount of sound effects

    Lucifer Sam
    Likes: Scratch guitar again! Bass riff & short keyboard solo (I assume it was a Hammond)
    Dislikes: The abrupt ending.

    Matilda Mother
    Likes: The layered singing, the melody, the keyboards - all very psychedelic!
    Dislikes: The abrupt ending.

    Flaming
    Likes: Can't think of owt.
    Dislikes: Bizzare opening, pedestrian drum work, the vocals, like the Beatles at their worst, the abrupt ending (they really didn't know how to end songs did they?)

    Pow R Toc H
    Likes: The playful piano & funky drum pattern, I'm bobbing my head in sync as I type this. Like the bass at the end.
    Dislikes: Weird shreiking noises & laughter - what a load of bollocks! Crap ending!

    Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk
    Like: Drums and the funky keyboard solo
    Dislike: Vocals/lyrics

    Interstellar Overdrive
    Like: The fact that it's instrumental! Reminds me of 'The Waiting Room' by Genesis (I'm sure they got the idea from listening to this). Some of the drum fills and patterns are very funky. Love the section with organ & crashing cymbals, sounds like the Radiophonic Workshop.
    Dislike: Some of the guitar noises were unpleasant. Wouldn't sit down and listen to it much, I assume I'd need some drugs to fully appreciate it. Another abrupt ending! Enjoyable, if a bit of a mess - I suspect the band weren't masters of their craft at this point.

    The Gnome
    Likes: The fact that I can understand the lyrics for once.
    Dislikes: The fact that it's pretty much filler to my ears, whimsical.

    Chapter 24
    Likes: Sunseeeeeeet.... Sunriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiise... love the organ work from Richard Wright (sounds like a Farfisa if I'm not mistaken) & atmospheres. The end suits the song!
    Dislikes: Can't think of owt, favourite song on the LP.

    The Scarecrow
    Likes: More Farfisa! Like it. Similar feel to the previous song, me likes.
    Dislikes: Short, but then again sweet.

    Bike
    Likes: WTF? I need drugs to like this song.
    Dislikes: The lyrics, if you can call them that. Bit self-indulgent and unworthy. Poor end to the album - is that a duck laughing at the end?!


    Overall, an interesting listen. I can see now that I like my prog rock to be a bit more structured and accomplished. I loved 'Chapter 24' and 'The Scarecrow' but the rest of it I can take or leave.
    I'm not sure I'd call "The Piper at the gates of dawn" prog rock to be honest, Pip. If you must classify Pink Floyd at this time, they're probably more 'Psychedelic rock/pop'. What's in a title though, eh? I can see you're not getting enamoured with "Piper" at all though, but each to their own.


    What's intersting is I came to the 'prog rock' model Floyd years after first hearing "Piper", "Saucerful of secrets" and "Tonite, let's all make love in London" so it took me years to get to know the Waters and Gilmour led model. I was aware of the huge legacy of "The dark side of the moon", but I viewed mid '70s (and onwards) Floyd as a pretentious, boring vehicle more concerned with stadium filling and record seling than anything like banging out a catchy tune. I have revised that outragous viewpoint somewhat in the last 20 years!

    One important consideration is that a lot of psychedelic stuff from the late '60s is often deliberatly anarchic and 'garage-like', and perhaps not a representation of whether a band were 'masters of their craft' or not. I'm finding myself curious as to what you might make of The Doors' "Strange days".
    Last edited by Carol Baynes; 26th Nov 2008 at 3:43 PM.

  11. #61
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    Can I suggest that you have to submit a mark for every album in order for them to count towards a final score at the end, otherwise we'll have an unfair final set of scores. What do you think?
    I'm up for it!

  12. #62
    Wayne Guest

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    It's a funny one the old prog label. I'm never sure whether Floyd should be classed as prog or not either. Their use of sequencers & synthesizers was pretty cutting edge/progressive in terms of sound design on albums like Dark Side & stuff, but musically they're a different animal to likes of Genesis, Yes, & King Crimson etc....
    They're pretty much in a category of their own really, although they're most often labelled Prog, perhaps because no other label sums them up adequately, & Prog is probably nearer than anything else.

  13. #63
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    Yay!

    Honestly, turn your back for a day and everyone's reviewing Piper

    Listening to "Piper" is the aural equivalent of looking into a kaleidoscope glass and turning the tube- it's a disconcerting, surreal and odd experience, but wonderfully dazzling, creative and full of sudden bursts of joy. Probably rather like the late 1960s themselves for many of a certain age.
    Superb comment and spot on. 1967 is now so far away (sorry!) that for many of us it's like a different world. I agree that it's the only 'proper' Syd album, there are only fragments of the man on other recordings.

    This made me laugh because the riff is so much like a 60's TV Detective Theme it's untrue!
    @ Wayne! It's got that 'creeping around' feel, is it a slowed down version of Man In A Suitcase?

    I'm suprised 'The Gnome' didn't agree with Wayne. I thought he went in for all that childish whimsy?

    Interesting to think whether Pink Floyd are prog at this stage. I'd say they were more psychedelic, but became the Stone Monolith of Prog at some point before Dark Side. I agree with Wayne to an extent, that they are different to Genesis, Yes etc, at least when they're at their best! One way of criticising a Floyd track is to ask 'Could this have appeared on a Yes album?' They're so much better when they're doing their own thing.

    Can I suggest that you have to submit a mark for every album in order for them to count towards a final score at the end, otherwise we'll have an unfair final set of scores. What do you think? I'm up for it!
    Ah - I was going to use the power of maths to solve that little problem! Rather than having a total score, I was going to go for an average out of five.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  14. #64
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    I'm suprised 'The Gnome' didn't agree with Wayne. I thought he went in for all that childish whimsy?


    It's a bit Season 24 isn't it?

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    I've had various melodies and lyrics from "Piper" running around my head today.

    I'm currently listening to "The Division Bell", and I do realise that that's getting a bit ahead of myself
    Assume you're going to Win
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  16. #66
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    What's intersting is I came to the 'prog rock' model Floyd years after first hearing "Piper", "Saucerful of secrets" and "Tonite, let's all make love in London" so it took me years to get to know the Waters and Gilmour led model. I was aware of the huge legacy of "The dark side of the moon", but I viewed mid '70s (and onwards) Floyd as a pretentious, boring vehicle more concerned with stadium filling and record seling than anything like banging out a catchy tune. I have revised that outragous viewpoint somewhat in the last 20 years!
    I wonder if this makes a difference in appreciating Piper, as the rest of us have come to Piper knowing the later stuff and perhaps that's clouding our perception of that The Pink Floyd Sound is, or should be. Piper doesn't sound like the same band and maybe that's got something to do with why I haven't got on with it so well.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    What a wonderful review Carol. Your love for the album really shines through there and it's obvious you're looking at it from a slightly different perspective to myself, Steve and Phil, who are coming to it for the first time now.

    You're definitely right about the whimisical element of their sound being lost after this. Sometimes in subsequent albums they come across as terribly serious, and perhaps a little of this album's playfulness would have been a welcome antidote to that.

    I still find it a bit odd that I didn't find more to love in this album, as I've always been a fan of other UK psychedelic music. Maybe I just need to keep listening and it'll grow on me?

    Si xx
    Thanks Si...x Yes, perhaps it will grow on you, and I do think hearing the earlier stuff first has made a difference to how I perceive Floyd. I like it all now though (well most of it. Not keen on Momentary lapse of talent )

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    This is an illuminating interview with Roger Waters about Syd. Quite piognant. Roger seems like quite a lovely man actually.

    http://www.facebook.com/s.php?q=syd+...oid=8416708381

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    Superb reviews so far! It's particularly interesting to hear the views of those who are new to the early Pink Floyd sound, and realise that 'Piper' is not always the quintessential psychedelic classic for everyone. I'll add further comments and my own review in due course.

    Anyway, just backtracking a bit...

    See Emily Play/Scarecrow

    Columbia DB 8214
    Released 16 June 1967 (UK); 24 July 1967 (US, Tower Records 356)
    Date of UK Chart Entry: 22 June 1967
    Highest UK Chart Position: 6 (12 weeks on chart)
    Highest US Chart Position: 134


    SEE EMILY PLAY (Syd Barrett) 2.54

    Bohemian Rhapsody... A Whiter Shade Of Pale... Strawberry Fields Forever... Titles which are typically bandied around when lists of the greatest British pop singles are compiled. But for many, myself included, standing alongside them is this early masterpiece from The Pink Floyd. Three minutes of almost perfect psychedelic pop, wrapped up in swirling, other-worldly sounds, and soaring pop-art guitars, See Emily Play was apparently written after Barrett saw a naked girl dancing in the woods after a gig one night. Although the lyrics are ostensibly more whimsical and lighter than those of the previous single, it's the production on this record which really sets it apart. This is producer Norman Smith's first work with The Pink Floyd and he brings a richer, more refined sound to proceedings, yet still retaining much of the raw experimentalism for which the band had become known. Altogether, it's a more disciplined record, despite the sonic fireworks of the instrumental (Barrett and Wright sparring off each other to mind-blowing effect), but much of this can be put down to growing confidence of the four band members: they now sound like a tighter, more cohesive unit, and both Roger Waters and Nick Mason sound especially confident, their colourful playing adding to the track?s vitality. At this stage, the band also use their voices to arresting effect, the wistful harmonies blending into instrumental experimentation, while booming bass parts and curious, speeded-up sections add to the song's charm, novelty and sheer freshness. Once again, it's a song like no other from that period, and, despite its brevity, See Emily Play, this acid-fueled whirlwind of a record conjures up new rewards with every listen. For me, pop records don?t come much better than this.

    Pink Floyd, London, 1967


    SCARECROW (Syd Barrett) 2.10

    This taster from the debut album is a brief slice of folk-tinged whimsy, and sees Barrett adopting appropriate vocal styling for his rather sorrowful lyrics. Wright adds to the rural atmosphere with some interesting olde worlde-style keyboard sounds, while the ?clip-clop? percussion helps to create an altogether more unusual Pink Floyd. Scarecrow is in some ways a bit of a throwaway track, but it does give an early demonstration of the group's versatility.

  20. #70
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    Hurrah for Dave! Catching up at last. But as ever, the ground is shifting... I'm going to have to start A Saucerful of Secrets tonight, because we're away all weekend.

    For me, pop records don?t come much better than this.
    See Emily Play is such an effortless piece of pop genius, everyone presumed that Syd had a bottomless well of songs like this. Maybe he did, but we'll never know sadly.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  21. #71
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    a saucerful of secrets

    ESSENTIAL INFORMATION
    Recorded at Abbey Road from January to April 1968.
    Released June 29th 1968.
    Highest UK Chart Position – No.9.
    Cover design by Storm Thorgerson, consisting of 13 superimposed images in a psychedelic collage.

    TRACK LIST
    SIDE A
    Let There Be More Light (Waters)
    Remember a Day (Wright)
    Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Waters)
    Corporal Clegg (Waters)
    SIDE B
    A Saucerful of Secrets (Waters / Wright / Gilmour / Mason)
    See-Saw (Wright)
    Jugband Blues (Barrett)

    HOT LINKS
    Lyrics - http://pinkfloydhyperbase.dk/albums/saucer.htm
    Inevitable Wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Saucerful_of_Secrets
    The far better Pink Floyd & Co Link - http://www.pinkfloyd-co.com/disco/sa...cer_album.html
    Dave Gilmour looks worried in this video for ‘Set The Controls for The Heart of The Sun’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vcd0s...eature=related
    Bonjour! Let There Be More Light en Francais. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf5dJ...eature=related
    Whip out your brass for Jugband Blues – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTtXVrANEhU
    What the hell is ‘Let There Be More Light’ about? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hereward_the_Wake

    OTHER ALBUMS OF 1968
    Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
    The Kinks - The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
    The Beatles - The Beatles [White Album]
    Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends
    Frank Zappa - We're Only in It for the Money
    Steppenwolf - The Second
    Glen Campbell - By The Time I Get To Phoenix
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  22. #72

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    A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS

    The second album I bought after DSOTM and also bought Relics at the same time on vinal. Was going to buy PATGOD but the cover photograph put me off compared to ASOS cover of...
    It was one of the few (see what I did there?) heard under the influence and the cover works!
    Had fun looking at photograph on the back and thinking Nick Mason was Roger Waters.
    Never had the lyric sheet and that would have made a big difference.

    LET THERE BE MORE LIGHT

    This stands up with One Of These Days and Astronomy Domine as one of the best opening songs on any Floyd record. It was criminally missed out on Echoes compilation.
    The mock egyptian verses seem a throwback compared to the futuristic bass solo with lyrics that tell a story more clearly.
    It's as if Syd's lyrics are about finding out about something happening and Roger Waters lyrics are about been told about something they read.
    One of the greatest chorus of the sixties, up there with A Hard Days Night and the others noted for choruses.
    Not the greatest of songs to introduce David Gilmour to. (Although this is in retrospect, I heard Gilmour before Barrett.)
    Here Gilmour is clearly thinking "I must think in Barrett! I must think in Barrett!" Or rather he would if Clint Eastwood agrees to play David Gilmour in the movie of this record.
    Sadly though, Gilmour just sounds like a "going through the motions" day of Barrett here. Wonder what his own guitar playing sounds like?
    Pretty cool but muddy sounding produced vocal arrangements.
    Favourite lyric "The outer lock rolled slowly back/The servicemen were heard to sigh/for there revealed in flowing robes was Lucy In The Sky".
    A good flurry of organ overdubs and guitar meandering before ending like a machine with the tune turned off, just clanging once like footprints walking away.

    REMEMBER A DAY

    Debut song written by Richard Wright! My favourite Rick song "Paintbox" got used as the the b-side of their third single that failed to chart "Apples And Oranges" (don't worry my old friend Mr Tudor will bring up to speed!)
    Not sure if it's a track left over from PATGOD with just more Gilmour dubbed on? If they had this at the time I would gladly take this over "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk". Excellent contrast on this side of the album.
    A fusion of the prog drums that would become standard during the early to mid 70's and the sensibility of pop, whilst at the same time trying to keep the Syd standard flying. Rick wrote brilliantly.
    Could have done with another voice singing with him though.
    David Gilmour if he's on here just doing sliding with a lighter. Syd did that!
    "Hide from your little brothers gun/Dream yourself away"
    And didn't I just...

    SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN

    Second song from Roger Waters and a regular staple in his solo live shows
    (seeing as he's too embarrassed to play Corporal Clegg) this for all the sci-fi and ideas conjured up by the title, is basically a 12 bar blues. (But then most "drugs really expand your creativity" bands always sound like 12 bar bands once you've come down and got the first train home the next morning)
    I never really found out which songs Syd played on. I'm sure it's this one, Jugband Blues and Remember A Day? Can anyone confirm which?
    Once again piss poor vocal production by Norman Smith. ("A tosser" according to Pete Townsend) Better lyrics though. "Witness the man who waves at the wall/Making the shape of his question to heaven"
    The seagull sound efects give an unwelcome comedy angle to the song.
    Roger Waters: It needs something trippy in the background to add to that other world vibe caused by Rick and Nick's keyboard and drums?
    Norman Smith: Seagulls! That's what you need lads! I'll put some seagulls on it!
    Roger Waters: Has Alan Parsons got that job here yet?

    CORPORAL CLEGG

    This is one of my favourite Roger Waters songs. It's satire matches The Fletcher Memorial Home, it rocks harder than Money, it has better lyrics than compared to Another Brick In The Wall and musically it's more structered than Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.
    Syd is credited as "getting a few mad licks" in his biography Crazy Diamond.
    The Hendrix style can be explained to their joint showcase tour with the Experience december 67 with the disintergrated Syd.
    Yes, Roger could have made a packet suing Noel Edmonds for the Blobby Theme, (but perhaps after his court case against 87 Floyd, he needed all the goodwill he could get?) and which came first? ASOS or Pictures Of Matchstick Men?
    "Corporal Clegg/Umbrella in the rain/He's never been the same/No one is to blame."
    The kazoo/tape loop/military impression skits is an ending to rival Bike and makes you want to play side 1 again! (Unless you've got CD in which case...)

    A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS

    A friend and I listened to it after the first side took us into space and er... we never made it to the drum solo. Out of bad trip paranoia not because of the music. I was sitting very still because then a ragdoll couldn't float out of the record player and drag me in (and if you nick that for a Dr Who story, I will kill you, as it's my TV drama series that will never get made!) even though it was my friend who blinked first and demanded to switch it off!
    "Drawn out as a diagram" according to the books. And impressive and radical it must have seemed to the newcomers to psychedelia (who popped up after the year before's excess became more controllable) but if you've ever played in a band with a guitarist who has a delay pedal, then you'll know how exciting it was too make rather than listen to.
    But don't press skip yet, because here is one of Rick's organ and mellotron codas that saves the second half of ASOS from an outright dull start.
    That said, the live version from "Umma Gumma" is one of my favourite Floyd tracks which also should have gone onto Echoes. This version comes second even to the Live At Pompeii footage of this track.

    SEE SAW

    Because who needs dull starts when you have a weak penultimate track?
    Third time not so lucky for Rick with a song who's working title was "The Most Boring Song I've Ever Heard Part 2".
    Don't bury it before it's dead though! Robert Wyatt appeared in a magazine saying this was one of his favorite songs. The mellotron at the end of the verses is effective. And the tempo changes could have been handled better.
    The percusive middle eight just seems like another half song tacked on.
    But Rick's found his voice and sticks to his theme of being in love with er... his sister.
    "Picking up his sister he makes his way to the seasaw land/all the way up she smiles/ she goes up as he goes down"
    Can't wait for the tell all book about Richard Wright!

    JUGBAND BLUES

    PAGOD ended with the maddening cheery Bike. Second album, Barrett returns for his only song. Recorded as a potential single (WTF!) if ASOS was a Stately home on a guided tour, as you come to the exit of See Saw, you see some bricks from a wall have been knocked out and there is a secret room hidden. That room is Jugband Blues, but before you can ask "Wait a minute! What's the story with that room?" you've been usherd out of the building with a souvenir bookmark and a "have a nice day" greet.
    It's like Syd has so much to say he has outrun the music and the other band members, even outrunning his own ability to write and perform it's so out there... The Salvation Army Brass band being personally told by Syd to "Play what you like" add weight to the theroy Syd was also kicked out for wanting two girl saxophonists in the band! The song melts into the outer space they spent the first four songs trying to reach and then ends with Barrett isolated on a strumming guitar. He's not playing as the party has ended. He's playing unaware that the party has abandoned him into the garden whilst he was studying his acoustic.
    "And what exactly is a joke?"

    FULL TIME REPORT: Never having much of an interest in football this album explains to me the "game of two halves" football commentator cliche.
    If the first sides of Floyd records were athletes, then whilst DSOTM and WYWH would out in the lead with PATGOD, ASOS would be keeping pace with them over the more chart successful albums.

    The first side is 24K Floyd and everything you could want from a Pink Floyd 60's album. But the second side just really isn't there.
    I wasn't there so I can't comment on how much of a shock it would have been to see only one song by Syd Barrett. The slump in chart position suggests it was a major issue for the in crowds.

    Elsewhere, The Jimi Hendrix Experience overcame their "difficult second album" problem by not only making it their best, but they also bought it out near the end of 1967. So this year, they only rubbed it in by releasing Electric Ladyland... a double album of Jimi with nudie ladies on the cover.
    The Sgt. Peppers made a mockey of the ASOS cover by being a blank white (and recording a double album) Love were imploding after serious band split.
    The Doors for a while kissed goodbye to psychedelia with Waiting For The Sun and moved towards crooning ballads. Simon & Garfunkel showed Rick Wright how to write songs about women who don't share his blood genes.
    The Mothers of Invention took the piss out of psychedelia by making the most perfect psychedelic record.

    Best summed up by a quote rumoured to have been said by Norman Smith after producing the title track:
    "After this, the boys will have to knuckle down and come up with something."
    3 out of 5.
    (Full marks for memories, but the first four tracks and Jugband Blues are all you need from this. IMO)

  23. #73
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    Saucerful of secrets (1968)

    In 1968 Pink Floyd must have felt like a band with a very uncertain future. It had become clear that founder Syd Barrett was not a well man, and was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the pressures of fame, success and being in a high profile group. As Syd was Pink Floyd's lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter this was a worrying state of affairs. Everyone was looking at him to deliver new songs and it was clear that he just wasn't up to the challenge.
    It's difficult to imagine where Pink Floyd may have gone if Syd had managed to stay with the band, although its perhaps unlikely. Even without the aggravating effects of LSD and other substances, Syd may have still gone the way he did.

    Roger Waters has spoken about the last time he played with Syd. It was anew song Syd had written called "Have you got it yet?" After changing the structure of the song every time Waters tried to play it, thus making sure Waters got it wrong, Waters finally got the joke and put his guitar down. By the time of his last live appearances with the band Syd would just stand there strumming one chord. One famous anecdote has him crushing Mandrax (a sedative) into Brylcreem and spreading it all over his head. Other stories tell of psychotic behaviour to people outside the band, such as girlfriends. It had become obvious to the other band members that he wasn?t right of mind.
    Either way, Syd Barrett's place in Pink Floyd was as good as over.

    So "Saucerful of secrets" is an album which was made against a backdrop of uncertainty. In the absence of any sizable input from Barrett the other band members had to step into the breach. Thankfully they did rise to the occasion quite well, although nobody's song writing on here is as good as it would become some years later. Roger Waters contributed the most songs, and many of them seem to replicate the style of Syd Barrett (although not always successfully). I can understand this, as the band was probably initially keen to continue with their established 'sound'.

    "Let there be more light" gets the album off to a decent start (although its no "Astronomy Domine" in that respect). The track hints at the progressive rock future of the band, and there are parts that wouldn't be out of place on later albums. I especially like the guitar intro.
    My favourite track is "Remember a day", which I first herd on the compilation "Relics" (I think). It therefore has a more special place in my heart and was the first non-Barrett Floyd song I really liked. It's a wonderfully mellow piece, infused with the remnants of the
    '60s hippy dream.
    Then we get "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" and the album starts to become a little tired. By this point it's evident that "Saucerful of secrets" lacks the verve, psychedelic panache and skewed pop sensibilities of its predecessor. While "Set the controls" can be quite evocative to listen to, it's also quite meandering and can border on the dull. There is nothing to rival "Interstellar overdrive" on this album.
    "Corporal Clegg" is alright, but it plods on in a rather annoying fashion. Its as if the song was designed to be a Syd Barrett clone, to the point where it highlights how much better at this kind of thing Syd was. The title track is a weak affair as well, although it boasts moments of aural oddness that almost capture the best moments of "The Piper at the gates of dawn". Overall though, I have to be in the mood for it, as it treads the fine line between a 'Wow far out' reaction and realising its probably four young men dicking about in a decent recording studio. It?s a fine line Pink Floyd would tread a fair few times!
    "See-Saw" is another contribution by Rick Wright ("Remember a day" being the other) and it?s quite a fragile, almost beautiful little number. Perhaps the sole contribution to ape Syd's style that actually works. I think I prefer Wright's contributions to this album to Waters (although Waters would become a far better songwriter in the long run).
    Finally the album ends with "Jugband blues", Syd Barrett's sole song writing contribution to the album. The song is quite catchy, if slightly discordant (due to the Salvation Army band that Syd had invited in, and were told to play what they wanted). It is seen by many to be a farewell of sorts by Barrett, who realised that his days with the band were numbered ("It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here, and I'm most obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here") Its piognancy is increased by knowing that it may also have been Barrett communicating his realisation that his mental health was deteriorating. His alienation from the rest of the band, and marginalisation, is probably another factor in the lyrics ("I don't care if the sun don't shine, and I don't care if nothing is mine")

    And there "Saucerful of secrets" ends.... The sound of a band riding the choppy waves of change, most of it out of their control. The band obviously had the talent to continue without Syd Barrett, but his importance to the band's genesis and his ongoing influence cannot be underestimated. Syd would cast a long shadow over Pink Floyd for many years to come, and while the band's style would mature and develop away from Syd's psychedelic whimsy, his initial creative spark would never be forgotten. It's also interesting to wonder how much effect the trauma of seeing their close friend degenerate had on the other band members. Themes of loss and mental illness would surface later in Floyd's career and the memory of Syd would be a clear and painful catalyst for those themes.


    This then, is a much weaker album than their debut, but considering the circumstances of its creation it's still a good effort. I expect producer Norman Smith played a big role in getting this record made, although I?m not sure of the facts. I imagine he encouraged the other band members to double their efforts in the light of Syd's withdrawal and he did comment that the lads would have to knuckle down and produce something special for next time! Luckily they just about managed for "Saucerful of secrets".

    It's the sound of a band in the process of change and development and is a fascinating listen if only for that reason.


    3 out of 5






    See Emily Play (1967)

    A quick mention just to say that there are few pop singles as marvellous as this one. I may comment further, but you should know it already.

    Extra mentions for "Arnold Layne" and "Apples and oranges"- both also fab singles.
    Last edited by Carol Baynes; 29th Nov 2008 at 4:54 PM.

  24. #74
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    Excellent stuff - good to hear some alternative opinions on this album. It's very difficult to pinpoint exactly why it's not as succesful as some other Floyd albums, but I think overall it asks too much patience of the listener (ie. it's a bit boring.)

    Here's my thoughts -

    Let There Be More Light
    A fantastic opening to the album, not as strong as Astronomy Domine, but then little else is. The exciting, fast-paced bass line is sadly ditched after the intro.
    The lyrics combine Anglo-Saxon mythology with psychic powers and (whoops!) a reference to Lucy in the Sky - LSD! (Although as The Beatles claimed, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was nothing to do with LSD and was named because Julian Lennon drew a picture of Lucy, in the sky, with diamonds. Yeah right.) In this way, the starts to push the boundary from psychedelia to progressive rock.
    I particularly like the organ rolls at the start of the chorus. It’s nicely sinister. Of course the most notable thing about this track musically is the guitar solo at the end, the first from Mr Dave Gilmour. Though this example doesn’t really stand out, it brings a new style to the Pink Floyd sound and Dave is clearly an able lead guitarist.
    It’s a shame they couldn’t have written a song around the opening bass line though!

    Remember a Day
    A fairly good song, but Rick Wright’s piano playing is incredibly plonky and dull. It's as though he’s pinched a few chords from ‘Play In A Day’ and tied them to the song. I reckon he was far more inventive and talented than the showing on this track.
    The song itself is wistful and dark, with indecipherable lyrics. The production is weak, with the sound frequently bleaching out. This actually gives the track an extra edge, making it sound more delicate.

    Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
    Although this one sounded great on a first listen and is clearly a popular track, it hasn’t quite won me over, it’s too dull and repetitive. It’s another space-ey track, like subliminal programming for astronauts. I could imagine NASA piping this in to Russian spaceships to try to get them to crash.
    There’s another superb bass line though, played gently and with subtlety. What’s great about it is that it’s a solid attempt to create a single mood, through a dark and hypnotic trance. The band are working well together, all the instruments compliment each other perfectly.

    Corporal Clegg
    Oh dear, oh dear. Roger Waters has written a lot of Pink Floyd’s best songs, but I’m sure he’s written every single one of their worst songs. This sounds like an attempt to emulate The Beatles at their absolute crappiest, with sneering vocals and a bloody kazoo.
    The lyrics are unbelievably dreadful, dreck from the big book of rhymes that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kaiser Chiefs album. ‘Clegg! Leg!’ And then - ‘Queen! Clean! Dream!’ Gah. What if he was called Corporal Rollock? What if he got his medal from Samantha Janus? And so on.
    That said, the wah-wah during the ‘Mrs Clegg’ section is really rather good, with some nice harmonies from the Floyd boys.

    A Saucerful of Secrets
    Or – opening wormholes in space-time to throw pianos at cats.
    Of all the Pink Floyd freak-outs of this era, this one is the most terrifying. I have no idea how they are making those sounds, particularly in the first section. I suspect that this was Dave Gilmour making his mark! If Interstellar Overdrive was a journey into space, this is the return to Earth to find that Dali has taken over.
    It’s a relief when the drums come in for the middle section, though was Nick Mason drumming and at the same time playing the piano with his feet? Then there are more surreal sound effects. Some of them sound like guitar, but it’s hard to tell. It is so impressive that they achieved all this without the synths and modern technology (technarrrlagy) that many bands rely on today. There’s so much more joy and invention in hearing these sounds created organically.
    The ending is absolutely fantastic, with the organ chords and the choir coming in. Did Radiohead rip off this track with Paranoid Android? Our survey says no, but there are similarities with A Saucerful Of Secrets. Then all the madness ends with an ‘Amen’ cadence. Magnificent!

    See-Saw
    Although this is billed as ‘The Most Boring Song I’ve Ever Heard (Bar Two)’, I rather like it. Besides, it was decades before ‘We Can’t Dance’ came out with tracks like ‘Hold On My Heart’ and ‘Tell Me Why’ It’s a drug-addled love song and at least as good as tracks like Matilda Mother on Piper. I’m quite fond of Pink Floyd when they’re being languid and laid back.
    There are some pleasing harmonies and I also like the xylophone playing on this song.

    Jugband Blues
    If 1967 was an optimistic summer of hope, then 1968 was the horrifying comedown. The end of the hippy dream of peace and love, overtaken by the Acid nightmare. I can’t see this song as anything other than Syd’s mind falling apart. It’s impossible to divorce the track from knowledge of what was going on for the band.
    It’s the only Syd song and it turns up on the album at the end, so when he says ‘It’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here’ he reminds us that we’ve been through almost the whole album without thinking of him. There’s an unsettling aggression buried in his voice, an anger born out in phrases like ‘And I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes; And brought me here instead dressed in red’. As though we’re sharing in the blame for his condition.
    The freak-out section in the middle, involving a Salvation Army band apparently, gets faster and faster and more confused, as Syd comes in over the top endlessly repeating ‘Lalalalalala…’ and drifting from speaker to speaker.
    The album ends with Syd sitting on his own with an acoustic guitar, the rest of the band having exploded into nothingness. The dream is over. All that’s left is loneliness.
    It’s hard to say whether this is a ‘good’ song or not, because it’s sung so painfully and truthfully. It’s more of an epitaph.

    I give this album 3 out of 5. It's like the B-Side to Piper, it's darker and less engaging brother.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  25. #75
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    Three reviews?! Is "Saucerful" the 'leper' of the Pink Floyd canon?

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