Pink Floyd was a legendary group. Although Syd Barrett, their charismatic and charming vocalist/guitarist/songwriter had left Pink Floyd in 1968 after agreeing to do so, the band quickly recruited their mate David Gilmour to fill his shoes. Still, there was some great music from this era that should be heard more often through postmodern ears. Therefore, that explains why in 2016 Pink Floyd released a set of collector’s item styled compilations with some previously unheard music on them, for the most part. This is the second of these releases. Let’s take a good listen to this album and hear if it is worth exploring this interesting addition to Pink Floyd’s massive back catalogue.
Point Me at the Sky – 2016 Remastered Version is an excellent Syd Barrett piece that is on the extremely important compilation by Pink Floyd, The Early Singles, released way before this album. It is a very sad sounding piece of music emotionally and is seemingly about a desire to escape it all. A really decent and wonderful tune nonetheless, it sounds marvellously good. Refreshingly different, this is truly awesome by today’s standards. There are plenty of tripped out and clever Psychedelic sounds throughout, making this track a real winner. Syd Barrett was a fantastic musician, without a doubt, and his early songs with Pink Floyd are extremely underrated. Still, a decent tune to hear nonetheless. There is a lot of strange reverberation treatment on this song in the outro, a very nice tune indeed.
It Would Be So Nice – 2016 Remastered Version is another classic Pink Floyd single with Syd Barrett. This one is a lot more cheerful and innocent sounding piece. Syd Barrett’s spacey dimensions of glorious guitar playing and singing do stand out from the rest of the band, and he proves his legacy on this tune. This is a whimsical and very late 1960s piece of songcraft. It sounds marvellous and miraculous, just exactly what you need when you need a musical injection of LSD. There are some clever sounds and production here, with effects laden electric guitar, acoustic guitar, intelligent bass guitar playing and awesome drumming from the band. A very good song, and one that people should listen to more often than they do today. It has a very tripped out ending in the fade out.
Julia Dream – 2016 Remastered Version is another single from the Syd Barrett era of Pink Floyd. It is very, very Psychedelic and it is obviously about the unusual experiences that one has whilst dreaming. This song was likely, especially in Syd’s case, inspired by a lot of LSD use. It’s a great cut nonetheless, and this is a memorable and beautiful listen from Pink Floyd. Some impressive sounds are in this tune, complete with some creepy sound effects at the end of the song. Decent effort.
Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Single Version) [2016 Remastered Version] is the early famous instrumental by Pink Floyd. It begins with some nice bass notes, hi-hats and a classy 1960s style organ. Again, this song is very brilliant and inspired sounding, even for an instrumental of its sort. It even builds up in musical flavour and intensity, and it really does amazing. The song title is whispered, followed by some human screaming. This was recorded in the late 1960s, so be aware of that. Anyway, it isn’t Pink Floyd’s best piece from this period but is okay to hear nonetheless. It works well and is okay to hear from time to time. This tune points ahead to more Progressive Rock territory that was to be later perfected on the 1973 album Dark Side Of The Moon. A good piece that gradually gets quieter towards the end, before the piece enters the outro. A mind-bogglingly strange piece of music, but it works very well. Nice to hear, and an interesting listen. It ends with some strange vocal noises, before concluding.
Song 1 (Capitol Studio Session, Los Angeles, 22 August 1968) – 2016 Mix begins with some loose guitar chords and firm basslines. Soon enough, keyboards enter and Pink Floyd are on their way. This is a nice and short little pastiche that sounds rather like The Beatles in a melodic sense. A really interesting and decent listen, it is also very much a lot like Breathe from Dark Side Of The Moon. David Gilmour’s guitar playing is fantastic, and although he was filling some very big shoes left by Syd Barrett, he is just as great a musician, yet his skills are different. There is some incredibly fuzz laden guitar towards the end of this song. A really interesting listen, all the way through to the fade out.
Song 2 (Roger’s Boogie) [Capital Studio Session, 22 August 1968] – 2016 Mix begins with some unusual harmonies, before some jangly guitar and basic drumming enters. A really unusual and weird tune, complete with wacky lyrics. It quickly changes tempo and song structure without warning, and this is definitely one of the weirder Pink Floyd pieces out there. A really cool and excellent listen, this was very likely inspired by some heavy drug use as well. This is really weird music right here. Soon enough, there is a breakdown in the second half with organ sounds galore. A thoughtful and interesting tune to hear. The guitars eventually re-emerge along with the rest of the band. There are some excellent Psychedelic sounds on here, and the whole listen is really excellent. A good, yet weird and wacky listen throughout.
Murderotic Woman (Careful With That Axe, Eugene) – BBC Radio Session, 25 June 1968 is a BBC recording with a spoken word intro from the presenter. Soon enough, a fairly raw sounding recording of this classic song begins. In some ways, this is better and more lively than the studio version of this song. In any case, again, this works exceptionally well and sounds terrific throughout. A really decent and enjoyable listen, Nick Mason comes across as a very underrated drummer on these songs. David Gilmour also shows his worth as a guitarist to listen to, even today. Although the loss of Syd from Pink Floyd was devastating, David Gilmour does a great job on this as a guitarist. A very good live rendition of this song, which slows down at the end and finishes up. Excellent work. There is a rather sarcastic comment from the presenter at the end, just as the song concludes.
The Massed Gadgets of Hercules (A Saucerful Of Secrets) – BBC Radio Session, 25 June 1968 is again, introduced by the same lame radio presenter, before jumping straight into a rendition of the classic tune. There are cymbal crashes, warm electronic sounds and a dark ambience overall. This is very weird to hear, and it is certainly darker than other Pink Floyd pieces and renditions out there. Still, it’s brilliant. This is an excellent live version of the original, and it has many twists and turns. Soon enough, that instantly recognisable drum pattern enters, and we are on our way. There is some spacey slide guitar on this tune, which sounds very cool. All the same, a joy to hear, especially if you are 2000 Light Years From Home, like The Rolling Stones were at the time. A really excellent and fantastic listen from start to finish. This piece is really outstanding. Soon enough, the second half has a dark keyboard patch that is gradually brought to the fore, just like the original. Eventually, this hits the light at the end of the darkness. This is great that Pink Floyd made such wonderful and loved music, this is one of their better cuts for sure. A really great extended instrumental, and definitely not boring. A very beautiful and strange piece of music from beginning to end. There are some weird harmonies at the end, but this is still really awesome. Great to hear. Unfortunately, the lame presenter is again on this song at the finish.
Let There Be More Light – BBC Radio Session, 25 June 1968 is next, with a more serious introduction from the radio presenter. David Gilmour gets playing away, and the rest of the band quickly follows. Again, this sounds distinctively different from the original. A really enjoyable and different piece of music…except the singing is atrocious here, for some strange reason. It is rather out of tune, and the timing of the singing is poor as well. This is fairly forgivable, but it puts a question on one’s mind as to whether or not this should be on this compilation. Quite frankly, it ruins it. The guitar soloing at the end is enough to make up for it, but still, the damage has been done here. Anyway, a good tune with some obvious flaws. Unfortunately, the out-of-tune vocals return towards the end, just before the band conclude. Very ordinary to hear, and the lame presenter is at the end of this piece, again. Disappointing.
Julia Dream – BBC Radio Session, 25 June 1968 is, fortunately, a lot shorter and easier to listen to than the previous track. It has some gorgeous acoustic guitar playing and organ melodies to boot. This isn’t as magical as the original version, but it still makes a decent impression on the listener. It is short and sweet, although the guitars could have been better mixed on this song. It is a very good listen throughout and shows the power of Syd, even after he had left Pink Floyd. A wonderful listen, it ends with the lame presenter paying respects to Pink Floyd. Nice work.
Point Me At The Sky – BBC Radio Session, 02 December 1968 is a good rendition of music with Roger Waters on vocals. The band are in fine form on this song, and it quickly launches into a glorious and wonderful interpretation of the original song. It has a spacey and wonderful breakdown towards the middle, which is mostly keyboard driven. This continues for some time, and it is a very nice addition in a live sense to a decent song in the first place. Some clanging notes are played on a piano, then guitar shortly afterwards. Pink Floyd does intellectual and artistic music better than most, this is a majestic and joyous listen. A great listen, the climax of the song towards the end is magical. A wonderful listen, and something very unforgettable indeed to hear.
Embryo – BBC Radio Session, 02 December 1968 begins with nicely strummed acoustic guitar and pretty melodies being played on the keyboard. This is a Pink Floyd rarity that is not on any of their major albums, but it still really sounds good. It’s a bit of an oddball sounding tune, but it does not sound out of place on this album. In any case, this is beautiful and majestic to listen to. A memorable vocal melody is present in this tune, and this sounds interesting throughout. This tune also has some watery sounds in the background. Strange, but pretty to hear. Good work.
Interstellar Overdrive – BBC Radio Session, 02 December 1968 is the final track on this compilation, and for good reason. It begins with a super spacey keyboard intro, some loose bass guitar notes and a great deal of suspense. Soon enough, guitars and other interesting sounds emerge. Unfortunately, this is not as good as the original as the audio quality is fairly terrible. This isn’t as good musically as the original Interstellar Overdrive on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Still, it is good enough, but not excellent, to hear. There is an interesting midsection which is an improvement on the first part and has some totally tripped out and synchronised guitars and instrumentation. It almost finishes after three minutes, only to quickly return in a real frenzy. This is vastly different to the album version that was originally recorded, and it honestly can be avoided at this point. It’s not garbage, just very disappointing. It is somewhat a reminder of the John Lennon experimental solo albums that were released around this time. It sounds okay, but that is only so at the best of times. It gets worse in the second half, which makes one wonder why on earth this was put onto this compilation in the first place. It does get subdued and minimal approaching the end of this tune, which is different. A very weird, and honestly dreadful listen, these guys needed some time to perfect their craft in late 1968. It’s ordinary listening. It gradually has the bass guitar re-enter, before guitars and organs enter playing the main riff. A disaster of a live tune, avoid if you can. Okay to listen to, but in no way great.
This album is a compilation of some good numbers, some ordinary numbers and some terrible numbers. Therefore, it is a mixed bag of songs. This isn’t at all the best side of Pink Floyd, and they knew that they needed to hone their craft and learn some lessons from Syd Barrett’s departure in early 1968 to conquer the world of music. They later did this with 1973’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Check out Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and A Saucerful Of Secrets albums released in 1967 and 1968 respectively for a better listen overall.
Not exactly a necessary compilation by Pink Floyd.