"The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (40th Anniversary Edition)" (EMI; 1967 / 2007)
Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton
Those who first discovered Pink Floyd through their megahits "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" will scant recognize the band from this four decade old recording but, rest assured, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is yet another reflection of the Pink Floyd at their evolutionary best.
At a time when experimental rock was all the rage (think Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced" and The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band") Pink Floyd took the term experimental seriously, creating some of the strangest music ever to be set to record. While the works of Hendrix and the Beatles have since become familiar to anyone with an FM radio, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" still sounds experimental to this day.
With more in common with the pop sensibilities of the time, "Piper" sounds more like that era's Beatles than the Pink Floyd of the mid- and late-70s. Still, with Syd Barrett the driving force behind most of the music here, one would be hard pressed to call an album as daring as this one simply "pop." "Piper" weaves a web of sonic peculiarities, but is surprisingly listenable, even today.
This 40th Anniversary Edition has been remastered in two versions, both of which are included here. The first is a mono version while the second is a stereo version. Surprisingly, many Pink Floyd experts prefer the mono version, citing the limits of the original four track stereo recording and the superior ability of the mono master to blend them.
Fascinating for its daringness and for its place in history, this 40th Anniversary of "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is a must-own for any Pink Floyd fan.
This CD has also been issued in a three CD Limited Edition with the first two discs as described as above and a third disc featuring all the Pink Floyd singles from 1967, ("Arnold Layne," "See Emily Play," and "Apples And Oranges"), plus the B sides "Candy And A Current Bun" and "Paintbox" and more.
Pink Floyd: Roger Waters - bass; Nick Mason - drums; Rick Wright - keyboards; Syd Barrett - guitarist/vocalist.
"Echoes" (Capitol; 2001)
Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton
"Echoes" is a double-CD collection that really isn't a grouping of this legendary band's greatest hits, but more of a musical suite containing many of the band's most popular tunes and some far less well-known songs. In addition, rather than simply collecting the songs in chronological order, the tracks have been re-arranged in an "artistic" sequence. In other words, listening to this CD doesn't just take you from the band's first album to their last.
With music dating from 1967 - 1994, there are tracks here from virtually (if not literally) every Pink Floyd album. The good news is that they're all beautifully remastered and sound crisp and clean, even the older stuff. The bad news is that sometimes the old stuff doesn't exactly fit when bumped right up next to the new stuff and vice versa. In addition, the band (and/or their producers) have decided to delete any silence between songs - most of the time they simply dissolve into one another, making for a continuous listening experience.
Is "Echoes" a must-have for Pink Floyd fans? Probably not. If you've got all the CDs, you've got all the music here and, although the re-mastering is nice, many - if not all - of the band's CDs have been re-mastered and are available individually. Must-have or not, "Echoes" is an interesting "historical" project by a legendary band who have influenced countless others.
For more information, please visit http://www.pinkfloyd.com.
"Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-1981" (Columbia; 2000)
Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton
When I first heard about this release - a 20-year old "classic" performance by a legendary band performing their biggest hit ever (both critically and commercially) - I was ready to write it off. Pink Floyd have released several live albums in the past and even former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has already released a live version of "The Wall."
So you can imagine my surprise when I played this CD and discovered that it was all it promised to be and more. "Is Anybody Out There?" is another testament to the greatness of the everlasting Pink Floyd and a fine addition to the band's already impressive library.
This amazing two-CD set is an energetic, powerful and dramatic live performance of the band's classic "The Wall" album, complete with sound effects, special guests and more. It's a stunningly clear recording and a top notch performance. In fact, the live ambience here truly adds to the epic-ness (is that a word?) of the original studio recording.
For Pink Floyd fans like myself who have memorized every nuance of the original, "Is There Anybody Out There?" is an opportunity to hear "The Wall" performed live and with the alterations that inevitably take place in a live situation. For those who have only learned of the band since the days of the Waters-less Floyd (and CDs like "The Division Bell") it's an opportunity to hear the band at their peak.
By the way, the CD is available in a number of configurations - including a simple 2-CD set (which runs about $25 - $30) and a deluxe boxed set which contains a hardcover book with information about the recording of "Is There Anybody Out There?" and interviews with the band members. The deluxe version runs from $45 - $55, but it's worth the extra dough. The insight by the band members is nothing short of fascinating and the hardcover book and box are gorgeously made and contain some fascinating shots of the band's stage performance.
There were rumblings at one point about a Pink Floyd reunion with Roger Water re-joining the band for a series of Y2K concerts. Sadly, those rumblings proved to be nothing more than rumors. Too bad. True, the current line-up is doing just fine without him, but It would be intriguing to see what Pink Floyd would put together if Waters and company were writing, recording and performing together once again.
Performing on "Is There Anybody Out There?" are: David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright with guest stars Andy Bown, Snowy White, Andy Roberts, Willy Wilson and Peter Woods.
"Dark Side of the Moon" (Columbia; 1973)
Reviewed by Snidermann
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon is as strong a recording today as it was when it was first released in 1973. It has been about 15 years since I have sat down and listened to the entire recording (since most of the songs are still in A-rotation on most classic rock FM radio stations, I never really thought about it). However, after listening to the CD from beginning to end, I realized I had forgotten how really awesome this recording is.
"Dark Side of the Moon" was done long before digital technology was even possible and this analog recording can stand up to any digital recording of today. Alan Parsons, an accomplished musician himself, was the engineer on this CD. "Dark Side" has been remastered at least a couple times since and the re-masters are awesome but they had great stuff to work with from the beginning.
"Dark Side" spent somewhere in the neighborhood of ten years on Billboard Magazine's Top 200 recordings and it's easy to see why. It's a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece of experimental rock that remains unmatched today. Tight, unusual songwriting, impeccable musicianship and excellent production value make "Dark Side Of The Moon" one of the greatest studio releases of all time.
If you haven't listened to this CD lately, I suggest you dust off your old records or buy one of the new remastered CDs and experience this totally unique recording. If you've never heard this album before, trust me: You have no idea what you're missing. Pick it up today!
PINK FLOYD: David Gilmour; Nick Mason; Richard Wright; Roger Waters.
A classic. This record will kick your ass.
Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.
So-so. You've heard better.
Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.
Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.
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Revised: 18 Dec 2016 12:46:21 -0500 .