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Various Artists (Tributes) - Pigs And Pyramids: The Songs Of Pink Floyd, <u>AKA</u> A Special tribute to Pink Floyd CD (album) cover

PIGS AND PYRAMIDS: THE SONGS OF PINK FLOYD, AKA A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO PINK FLOYD

Various Artists (Tributes)

Various Genres


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Psychotic?

In 1998, a film director remade the classic Alfred Hitchcock film "Psycho". The remake was virtually identical to the original, except that it was made in colour. Now, leaving aside the fact that Hitchcock had deliberately made the original in black and white even though colour was available (he felt the blood in the shower scene would be too graphic), there is a dichotomy here in terms of how to assess the remake. Since it is pretty much identical to the original, should it also be considered a classic? Should we judge it based only on how much we enjoy it? Should we judge it against the original? Suppose you had never seen the original, could the facsimile even become your favourite film?

So it is with tribute albums and tribute bands. I have always been intrigued by the concept of tribute albums. I find it hard to get to grips with the idea that you can pay tribute to a great band or album by releasing a clearly inferior version of it. If a tribute album was ever to actually turn out better than the original, and I have yet to hear one which has, then the tribute would appear to be in the form of the message that the original could have been better in the first place!

In the case of "A special tribute to Pink Floyd", we certainly have an impressive list of performers who have decided to pay their respects. Producers Bob Kulik and Billy Sherwood have brought together such dignitaries as Tony Levine (King Crimson etc.), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater), Chris Squire and Alan White (Yes), Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Scotty Page who has actually played with Pink Floyd, to name but a few of the 30+ performers involved. Most of the artists only appear on one of the tracks, immediately creating an inconsistency in the approach to these covers.

The song selections are pretty safe, with the all the tracks being taken from "Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish you were here", or "The wall". All this of course means that the casual browser will be attracted to the product by the impressive track list, and the equally impressive list of artists. The cover (of this version of the album) bears a striking similarity to that of Dark Side of the moon, complete with a sticker listing some of the bands from whom the artists originate. And that brings us neatly to the apparently clear objective of this release, to make money.

So, admitting straight away that that burst of cynicism may be at odds with the music the obvious question is, are these versions of the songs so fantastically different, so wonderfully performed, so original in their interpretations, that they completely justify such an exercise? Well, the answer here is an emphatic.maybe. Certainly the first two tracks, "Money" and "Welcome to the machine" have real strength to them, giving these songs a slightly heavier edge. Edgar Winter contributes some fine sax on "Money" and Gary Hoey's guitar work on "Machine" is dynamic, while never losing sight of the song on which it is based.

As we move into the softer songs such as "Shine on you crazy diamond" and "Us and them" though, the originality fades and the performances become more predictable. Glenn Hughes offers a bluesy interpretation of "Young lust" ("The wall"), but whether it adds anything to the original is debatable. Steve Porcaro of Toto offers some meaty synthesiser on "Any colour you like", leaving you wondering why he was not afforded more space to do so in his own band.

The vastly underrated Robin McAuley provides a fine vocal for "Breathe" which is rather strangely the last track on the album, Jeff Baxter's slide guitar giving a slightly country feel to the song.

Trying to rate this album is akin to trying to work out what it is you are applauding when attending a concert by a tribute band. The band did not write the songs, they simply reproduced someone else's work. The songs are of course great, that's why they chose to play them, but how much credit should be given to a "pretty fair forgery" (to quote Roger Waters himself, taking about "Momentary lapse of reason")? Well, suffice to say if you have never heard Pink Floyd's music, you will probably think this album is wonderful. If you do already know their music you'll surely enjoy this album too, but almost certainly you'll go back to the originals once you have heard it.

Note - There are two versions of this album with different titles. The tracks are the same recordings but they appear in a different order. The albums also have different packaging.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#89229)
Posted Friday, September 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars I blame Billy Sherwood and Bob Kulick for this, as they seem to be the instigators of yet another tribute album by people who don't have anything better to do with their time. The victims this time are Pink Floyd, and I wouldn't mind so much but some of these songs work extremely well indeed! Opener "Another Brick In The Wall" is a case in point as Fee Waybill links in with Ronnie Montrose to produce a version that in some ways is superior to the original! It's the same with "Welcome To The Machine", while the vocals do not match up to the original this time; there is some amazing guitar by Gary Hoey that takes the song onto a new level.

Steve Lukather provides both vocals and guitar on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and while bits of it are good it does have to be said that it loses most if not all of the emotive majesty of the original. But then there are songs like "Run Like Hell" where Dweezil Zappa plays his part in making it a damn fine number.

If you are a Floyd fan then you should buy this to hear what (mainly) mainstream rock musicians feel that they can do with their music. It may not always be as good as the original but it is certainly interesting.

Originally appeared in Feedback #70, Oct 02

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#978143)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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