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(42:17 / EMI Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Astronomy Domine 4:15 2. Lucifer Sam 3:09 3. Matilda Mother 3:05 4. Flaming 2:47 5. Pow R Toc H 4:25 6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk 3:07 7. Interstellar Overdrive 9:42 8. The Gnome 2:14 9. Chapter-24 3:52 10. The Scarecrow 2:12 11. Bike 3:27 LINEUP: Syd Barrett - guitars, vocals Roger Waters - bass; vocals Rick Wright - keyboards Nick Mason - drums
Prolusion. EMI Records have celebrated PINK FLOYD's 40th anniversary by releasing 2 and 3-CD sets of their debut album, "The Piper At The Gates of Dawn" (Special Edition), back on September 4th. The 3-CD packaging, designed by longtime Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgerson, resembles a cloth-covered book with the original Vic Singh photo on the front, and holds 3 CDs, along with an 8-page reproduction of one of Syd Barrett's notebooks. Newly remastered by James Guthrie, Discs 1 and 2 contain the full "Piper" album, represented in both stereo and mono versions. Disc 3 includes bonus tracks, including all of Pink Floyd's singles from 1967 (Arnold Layne, See Emily Play and Apples And Oranges), plus the B-sides Candy And A Current Bun and Paintbox. Other tracks include an exclusive edit of Interstellar Overdrive, previously available only on an EP released in France, and the 1967 stereo version of Apples And Orange, which has never before been officially released. The current single-disc version of "The Piper At The Gates of Dawn" has been replaced with a new two-disc version that features the mono and stereo versions of the album. This package does not include the Syd Barrett booklet or the third disc of extras either.
Analysis. If one really needed to go back to the root of Pink Floyd, then the first association to come together would be the Architectural / Abdabs, but this ridiculous ensemble ended abruptly once the misunderstood Syd Barrett was discovered. It would seem ironic that the last track ever featured by Syd on a Floyd album is a so-called blues track considering that their name is derived from two Georgian blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Pink Floyd were regulars at the UFO in 1966, which resulted in EMI stepping in with Peter Jenner and Andrew King to smooth out the rough edges. The Barrett influence was already seeping into the underground with groups like Boeing Duveen and The Beautiful Soup and their tabla / sitar drenched Which Dreamed It. The group's debut, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" stands curiously in the turbulent disorder of change as one of the first sticks of incense to be lit in the UK during the summer of love. The name was taken from Kenneth Grahame's "Wind In The Willows". It is here that Syd's finest moment is potently unleashed on the bass thumping Lucifer Sam (song about a cat). Waters' searing bass riff with a definitive edge from Link Wray's "Black Widow" powered from a Rickenbacker 4001 like the Ventures' Pipeline. Pink Floyd's stellar aggression on the catastrophic Astronomy Domine, which opens the "Piper" album, can still be regarded as one of the most potent psyche entries for the paisley arena. The morse pulsing was stolen from Love's "My Little Red Book" encapsulating the essence of man's lunar quests' (Dan Dare). In tow with the album the group's third single Apples & Oranges were not included on the debut and would later relish in Madcaps and the glazed shimmer of Opal. The "Piper" was released amidst three magical numbers, Arnold Layne, See Emily Play and Julia Dream. The first of these (the tale of a transvestite who stole clothes from washing lines) now featured bassist Waters and charted #20, followed by See Emily Play (#6) which Barrett had written as "Games of May". The childlike See Emily Play now moulded under the production of Norman 'Hurricane' Smith received a well-dosed potion of searing guitar and organ fusion. Syd's poetical Pixie dimension is more profoundly woven on the paisley - "Relics" (compilation). The legacy of singles encompassed on this astronomical work is probably one of the most profound psychedelic roots recorded in English history and likened to the recordings that Alan Lomax preserved for the Library Of Congress.
Conclusion. Still haven't heard "The Piper"? Get the album right now. Along with The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper" and "Days of Future Passed" by The Moody Blues, this is one of the three cornerstone recordings as regards Progressive Rock, without which your knowledge of the birth of the genre will never be complete.
KW: October 15, 2007
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