Mary Fahl first came to prominence as a member of October Project in the 1990s, but it was only after moving on and exploring solo ventures that the American vocalist began to reach her full potential. Despite not being the most prolific, her releases have been rich and sometimes quite varied. Clinging on to a folk core, and blending that with an easy listening vocal, Fahl’s best songs have ploughed a very adult MOR furrow, but those paying closer attention will spot a broad range of influences. For example, ‘Annie Roll Down Your Window’ shows an affinity for Indigo Girls, an almost Neil Finn-like pop element drives the folk rock sound of ‘Raging Child’, and much later on, ‘How Much Love’ conveys the dark heart of Tracy Chapman set against the sparseness of Daniel Lanois.
Yesterday, David Gilmour announced that Pink Floyd had reconvened with a new line up to record a new single for charity. Understandably, many of the band’s more open minded fans were overjoyed. Some of their more vocal supporters, bizarrely – though not entirely unpredictably – expressed an extreme displeasure.
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.