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Pink Floyd - The Early Years Continu/ation 1967-1974 Sessions CD (album) cover

THE EARLY YEARS CONTINU/ATION 1967-1974 SESSIONS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.10 | 2 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Introduction

Pink Floyd's 'The Early Years' full box set contains 7 volumes of CDs, DVD/BluRays, and other paraphernalia, each volume focuses on different periods of time between 1967 -1972. Every one of these volumes are also available as stand-alone box sets for those that want to only focus on certain specific sections of Pink Floyd's history, at least the history of mostly unreleased materials and what not. Up to this point, I've looked at each stand alone volume, and this review will focus on the last volume, #7.

Volume 7 is interesting as the stand-alone compilation is the most rare of all of them. Originally, it was exclusive to the full box set, however, the CD from that box set was released in Japan a year before the other volumes were offered as stand alone options. The 7th stand alone volume is called 'The Early Years: Cotinu/ation 1967-1974 Sessions'. There is one major item missing from this compilation that is offered in the complete box set, and that is the two video discs (DVD/Blu-ray). So, that is one major drawback for the completionist that is interested in the stand alone volumes. However, the CD itself is exactly the same as the CD in the complete box set. We'll talk about that later, in the 'What's Missing' section. For now, lets look at the CD.

CD

The thing with this volume is that it goes back to 1967 and picks up all the odds and ends that were not on the previous volume, so in that respect, it doesn't focus on exact years like the other volumes.

The first six tracks from this collection are recorded from a BBC Radio Session recorded on September 25, 1967. Syd Barrett is still in the band for this performance, but as a result, it is missing David Gilmour. The set starts off with 'Flaming' and continues with a pretty faithful rendition of this and 3 other early and familiar tracks 'The Scarecrow', 'The Gnome' and 'Matilda Mother'. The performances are heavy on the psychedelic effects and almost childlike lyrics of the Barrett era, a bit heavy on the keys in the recordings. Those familiar with these songs will notice the minor differences between these and the studio versions, and that's what makes it all interesting, these radio sessions almost make it all sound like alternative versions. The next track is 'Reaction in G' which is a very short guitar psych-out which is followed by 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' with Waters vocals actually standing out more than usual in a quick 3 minute version of the track.

Another BBC Radio Session from December 20, 1967 includes four more tracks, none of which are copied from the previous session featured. Syd is still the main man here in these tracks which are 'Scream Thy Last Scream' with Mason sharing the lead vocals on this very rare song. 'Vegetable Man' follows, even though it was never used on any of PF's albums, but instead showed up on Syd Barrett's solo album. 'Pow R Toc H.' appears next in an abbreviated form sounding like a demented surf- rock track in this version, with 'Jugband Blues' finishing up this section.

The rest of the tracks come from an interesting variety of places. 'Baby Blue Shiffle in D Major' was recorded for another BBC radio session from December 2, 1968, and now Gilmour has replaced Barrett for this performance. This is followed by another BBC performance from September 30, 1971 for a slow-blues improvisation simply called 'Blues'. This 5 minute performance contains some nice guitar work from Gilmour. After this, there is an odd radio spot for the 'Ummagumma' album.

Most Pink Floyd fans know of the band's involvement with three motion pictures, namely 'Zabriskie Point', 'More', and 'La Vallee' and the resulting albums. Not very many people know about a fourth movie that they also provided music for which was called 'The Committee'. This was a mostly unknown film noir, black and white production released in 1968. It was an odd film, but PF provided nine short tracks that were used in the movie and up to this point, this music was only available on a bootleg called 'A Tree Full of Secrets'. The next two tracks on this collection are two tracks from that film appropriately called 'Music from The Committee No. 1' and ''.No. 2'. No. 1 is a noisy track that is first played forward, and then backward. No. 2 is a bit more standard fare with an upbeat sound at first, that later fades in to a slower beat. Its nothing special, but it gives insight into one of the most unknown parts of the band's career.

Another rarity follows this with a track called 'Moonhead' which comes from a live broadcast on the BBC TV during the moon landing in 1969. This is definitely a curiosity more than anything, something that only completionists would be interested in as it is interspersed with narration from the broadcast. The music is typical for the band at the time, psychedelic meanderings that would have fit the moon landing perfectly. For the final track on the CD we skip all the ahead to 1974 is a performance of 'Echoes', live at Wembley (24 minutes). This performance is an excellent example of the band making a great thing better in a live setting, complete with saxophone that actually brings the track almost up to the standards of 'Dark Side of the Moon' era music. This track is the best thing about the collection and almost makes it worth your while to search it out.

Most of this collection will only appeal to hard core PF fans and completionists, but many will find the performance of 'Echoes' worth looking for. Without that track, this would have been a 2-star affair, but it actually ends up raising the score up a notch.

What's Missing?

In the case of this volume, there is a lot missing. Without the DVD/Blu-ray discs, there isn't much of a reason to find the stand- alone version of this volume. The material that is on these discs will probably be the deciding factor as to whether you spring for the complete box set or just settle on the individual volumes that appeal to you.

The first disc in the complete box set contains performances mostly from concerts and a few interviews. It starts with an alternative promotional video for 'Arnold Layne' filmed on the grounds around Hampstead Health and St. Michael's Church in Highgate, London filmed on April 29, 1967. 3 tracks from 'P1-P wie Petersilie' in Germany, recorded in Stuttgart, Gemany on July 22, 1969 follow featuring 'Corporal Clegg', a band interview, and 'A Saucerful of Secrets'. There is a snippet of 'Atom Heart Mother' performed at the Festival of Blues & Progressive music in Bath recorded on June 27, 1970, only 3 minutes of it. There are then two performances at the Kralingen Music Festival" Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 28 June 1970: 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' and 'A Saucerful of Secrets', both in shortened versions. Then there are 3 performances at The Amsterdam Rock Circus on May 22, 1972: 'Atom Heart Mother' (band version), 'Careful with That Axe, Eugene' and 'A Saucerful of Secrets'. Although they were not featured on any of the other volumes, the performances and videos are similar to the ones already included in the other volumes.

Probably what follows are the things that will determine whether you buy the complete box set. The last thing on the first disc is the rare British film noir 'The Committee', the motion picture that was mentioned earlier in this review in its full version, a strange movie about a hitchhiker who decapitates a bloke that gives him a ride by slamming the cars hood down on his head after which he sews it back on, wakes the chap up and says he doesn't want to ride with him anymore. The story goes on its way after that, its up to you whether you want to see if the action has any further consequence with the rest of the movie. Those that love the full immersive PF experience will appreciate this, and the movie is well filmed. It's just very odd. The 2nd disc is completely made up of two other full length feature films, both also hard to find (at least to own, that is): 'More' (which features music on the Pink Floyd album of the same name) and 'La Vallee' (which contains the music that is on their album 'Obscured By Clouds'. For some, this could justify forking out the high price of the full box set over the single stand alone volumes.

In Conclusion

This volume is definitely of little interest (except for the last track on the CD) to the casual Pink Floyd fan. Only because of the performance of 'Echoes' is it worth the bother of trying to track it down. If it contained the 3 movies, then it would be a different story. 3 stars.

In my own opinion, after assessing all of the stand alone volumes, I would prefer the complete box set, but then I am a Pink Floyd geek.

TCat | 3/5 |

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