In a bit of unexpected good fortune for the discerning prog fan, a selection of Pink Floyd bootlegs dating from 1971 have appeared on streaming services.
Spotify and Amazon Music began hosting a range of live recordings from the ‘Meddle’ era, in varying quality a few days ago. Some of the recordings have long been well known to bootleg collectors – such as the ‘Screaming Abdabs’ recording from Quebec, featuring the classic Gilmour/Wright/Waters/Mason line up showcasing a couple of new ‘Meddle’ tunes as well as providing the often overlooked ‘Embryo’ with a live outing, and the full set from Montreux ’71 – but the opportunity for the more casual listener to stumble upon these archive treasures will surely be welcomed.
All star prog tributes are hardly a new phenomenon. Robert Berry and Yes man Billy Sherwood have been contributing to such releases since the 90s and it’s often resulted in records made with love. Occasionally, they’ve included a few tracks that’ve become essential collection fillers. There’s a Pink Floyd tribute from the 90s called ‘The Moon Revisited’ that brings together a host of famous faces recreating the monolithic ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ from start to finish. Naturally, the record isn’t as good as the original – nobody ever claimed it would be – but a run of tracks during the second half make it a keeper. World Trade’s take on the instrumental ‘Any Colour You Like’ and Robert Berry’s ‘Brain Damage’, especially, showcase veteran talents able to turn their hands to almost anything with ease.
For all the praise endlessly heaped upon ‘Dark Side of The Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘The Wall’, there are bits of the Pink Floyd back catalogue that never seem to get the attention they deserve. The release of the massive ‘Early Years’ box set in 2016 allowed for a much deeper exploration of the band’s pre-’Dark Side’ output via several discs’ worth of rare and unreleased gems, and yet it still feels as if there are things nestled within the band’s rich catalogue that never seem to get their full due.
Here are a few thoughts on some vastly underrated Pink Floyd recordings. Other fans can argue – and likely will – but these ten tunes often feel as if they deserve far more love.
Despite only spending a small amount of time in a recording studio during his lifetime, Syd Barrett became a cult hero. His whimsical songs about bikes, scarecrows, transvestitism and gnomes became part of English psychedelia’s core; his distinctive musical vision set (The) Pink Floyd on the road to stardom. So much was the love for the Floyd’s 1967 debut ‘Piper At The Gates of Dawn’ and associated singles, that Barrett’s two proper solo albums ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and ‘Barrett’ (released in January and November 1970, respectively) also found an audience, despite being very difficult listens.
After three years of brilliant pop frivolity, 1987 has a huge contrast in mood with albums and singles that seem far more thoughtful and downbeat. U2 turned in a career best with ‘The Joshua Tree’; Pink Floyd made a huge comeback with the moody ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ and from a more alternative perspective, Sisters of Mercy and The Jesus & Mary Chain made huge waves with epic goth sounds.