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Pink Floyd

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Pink Floyd A Nice Pair album cover
3.31 | 143 ratings | 16 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

"The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (41:52)
1. Astronomy Domine (4:12)
2. Lucifer Sam (3:07)
3. Matilda Mother (3:08)
4. Flaming (2:46)
5. Pow R. Toc H. (4:26)
6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk (3:05)
7. Interstellar Overdrive (9:41)
8. The Gnome (2:13)
9. Chapter 24 (3:42)
10. Scarecrow (2:11)
11. Bike (3:21)

"A Saucerful of Secrets" (39:23)
1. Let There Be More Light (5:38)
2. Remember a Day (4:33)
3. Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun (5:28)
4. Corporal Clegg (4:12)
5. A Saucerful of Secrets (11:57)
6. See-saw (4:36)
7. Jugband Blues (2:59)

Total Time: 81:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Syd Barrett / guitar, vocals
- David Gilmour / guitar, vocals
- Nick Mason / drums
- Roger Waters / bass, vocals
- Richard Wright / organ, piano, vocals

Releases information

Harvest Records (UK)
Capital records (US) The U.S. release of A Nice Pair contained the Ummagumma version of Astronomy Domine (8:29)

Thanks to Cluster One for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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PINK FLOYD A Nice Pair ratings distribution

(143 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

PINK FLOYD A Nice Pair reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cluster One
3 stars Following the massive success of "Dark Side of the Moon", record companies scrambled to capitalize on the popularity of the Floyd. Their answer was to (re-)release the band's two earliest studio albums: "Piper" and "Saucerful" in a trendy repackaged double album format late in 1973/early 1974.

The 2-LP set sold very well, but kids and 'new' Floyd fans must have been pretty confused when they first listened to this 'new' Floydian purchase. "This doesn't sound like Pink Floyd at all!!?!" ;-P Haha charade you are kiddies...

The US Capitol record version of the release features the live "Ummagumma" version of 'Astronomy Domine' instead of the original studio version, and clocks in at a cool 8 minutes 29 seconds. As it is essentially the first song on the album, how I wish I could have seen the looks of the multitude of 'Money' fans listening to this album for the first time!

Only ever released on vinyl, this compilation still pops up occasionally in second-hand stores, and is unique to collectors for its Hypgnosis gatefold artwork. There was early controversy over the original album cover, as it features 'a nice pair' of female breasts. Also, one of the (many) photos in the collage featured a sign advertisement for a dentist by the name of 'Dr. Phang'. Due to strict British advertisement laws (on health care?...or dentistry?), that particular photo was eventually dropped for subsequent editions.

3/5 stars for its uniqueness.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars If you already own the first two albums of PF, and it is highly probable for even those who are not devotees, this collection is totally unnecessary addition to your collection. Unless, of course if you are a PF completist and want to have this double LP with interesting cover art and photos.
Review by frenchie
4 stars Hmm I don't know what's wrong with the naysayers. This package contains 2 incredible albums. The only thing you are really missing is some of the original artwork. But there is still some good artwork here, including sports teams, boobies and giant forks!!! "A Nice Pair" is also a collectors item (I think it was only ever released on vinyl and never put onto cd).

For those that don't know (though if you really don't know what I am about to say then you are not worthy to be a progger), "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (Vinyl 1) is the classic debut album from when the band was fronted by crazy singer/songwriter Syd Barrett. This album contains many classic tracks, standouts being "Astronomy Domine", "Bike" and "Interstellar Overdrive".

"A Saucerful of Secrets" (Vinyl 2) is the follow up album that introduces Dave Gilmour to the band. This one is more experimental and leans into a proggier, more post-syd sounding version of Pink Floyd, with longer, spacier pieces instead of strange psychadelic little ditties. This album includes classics such as "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", "Jugband Blues" and the title track.

Buying this compilation will resort in you owning to quality albums that I would both rank as amazing, landmark Floyd albums (see my individual reviews for each album for more in depth reviews). I say, if you see "A Nice Pair" on sale anywhere these days then it is well worth emptying your pockets on this album, it won't let you down.

If you already own the first two albums then this collection isn't necessary, but for Floyd fans it is a very nice addition, for those without these albums then it is essential. 18 amazing tracks in one package!

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I received this double LP on a loan basis from a friend somewhere in 1974. I was not familiar with the Floyd earliest releases but I knew already a few songs from them thanks to the wonderful live sides of "Ummagumma".

My deception at that time was quite high when I litened to this re-release, and I returned this work quite rapidly to my friend.

About thirty years later, I re-enter the whole Floyd catalogue and I must say that although they are not masterpieces, their first two efforts are interesting.

From the poppy "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" (although it holds true psyche jewel anthems like "Astronomy" and "Interstellar") to the most achieved "A Saucerfull Of Secrets" (with the incredible twelve minute title track which will definitely influence Floyd later work like "Echoes").

This double album has effectively a nice pair on the cover sleeve and groups their first two albums as such. No editing, no bonus (in 1974, this was not yet popular).

It is the sole Pink Floyd effort so far to have never been re-released onto the CD format.

I have rated each album three stars. So : same music, same rating : three stars.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A GREAT Pair!

Honestly there is no need to do a giant review because it supposse that you know the content of this pair very well, i was just reading some Pink Floyd´s reviews, then i found this entry and wanted to share a few words with you.

This compillation was released in 1973 and consist in Pink Floyd´s first 2 studio albums, the albums where Syd Barrett was a member and the loony head of the band, well actually as we know he was a full member only in "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", when in "A Saucerful of Secrets" he had only a minor participation but it´s clearly noticeable his touch in both albums, you can say that this was the Pink Floyd´s psychedelic era at it´s best, or as some of you may think, just a waste of time and talent making rdicolous noises and senseless songs (i say this because i´ve seen a couple of guys speaking like this).

So actually this is a kind of re-issue, basically this double-album was released just in order to collect their early years in one CD without being a The Best of, or something like that in fact if you want to collect some of the very early years, then just buy "Relics" and listen what Barrett offers to you.

I like very much both albums, personally i prefer A Saucerful than Piper, but both have their great moments, psych/pop/rockish songs which are very well composed and that may blow your mind away. I prefer having both in separate CD´s, as studio albums i mean, but it is nice to have this, i would grade each album with 3.5 and 4 stars , but this time i will grade this nice pair with 3 stars, good but non-essential, i would rather recommend buying each album separately, but if you find this, do not hesitate.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Another one of those obnoxious releases of previously released material, whose only reason for existing is a marketing decision. Do not buy these kinds of products because they only encourage record companies to do more of them.

Buy the two albums separately to be presented with the music and artwork in the manner the band intended you to have them at the time of their release.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars After the success of The Dark Side of the Moon, record executives apparently popped out from behind their big fat desks with dollar signs (or British pounds if you like) shining from their eyes. And thus came A Nice Pair, a repackaged 2-LP release of Pink Floyd's first two albums, essentially with the same tracks. Apparently it sold quite well as Pink Floyd now had many new fans and this release must have met their demands. Although I could imagine newcomers to the group listening to this and wondering if they bought the wrong album as there was quite a large difference between the 1967-1968 and 1973 sound of Pink Floyd.

This was never released on CD (as far as I know), so it really isn't worth seeking out since their first two albums are quite readily available. This would have been a recommended purchase back in the vinyl record days as it was cheaper than buying the two first LPs separately. Today it is only for record collectors, mainly for the interesting photographs that are all over its covers. You can probably find it really cheap in a used record store. Two stars.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A nice pair is a nice pair indeed. To tell you the truth, I'm not a big fan Pink Floyd from the seventies; they're good band, but "something's missing" for me. However, I love the first period of band's creativity, and indeed "Piper At The Gates Of Down" and "A Saucerful Of Secrets" are a logical pair, couple, unit, no matter if Syd was a brainchild of one and not of the other.

Having that said, this is a great piece of music and beautiful presentation of what Floyds had to say about the whole British psychedelia movement. It's perhaps a bit redundant issue ("Relics" compilation is great too) but it's far from obsolete. It's recommended for newbies, not the Pink Floyd newbies but the newbies of psychedelic music. A whole new, distorted world to discover.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is one of those albums that popped into my collection after visiting a second hand vinyl shop and i was pleasantly surprised. First the packaging is excellent featuring a beautiful gatefold sleeve with lots of weird quirky pictures to make you wonder what its all about.

The music is really some of the best early Floyd. Ok, we know it is really just the early 2 albums put onto one package but its still irrisistible as a rare look at the Floyd in their raw Barrett incarnation.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn offers the classics that every PF fan adores such as Astronomy Domine (surely one of the most incredible mind trips of the psychedelia era) and Lucifer Sam (strange catchy little thing). It gets weirder with Pow R. Toc H. and Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk. But there is none better to show an example of pure pysch-prog bliss than Interstellar Overdrive. This was the beginning of the prog epics with wonderful effects-laden mysteria, unbeatable and brilliant for its innovative construction and original approach. Syd Barrett was never better than this.

If thats not enough we have the second album to savour, A Saucerful of Secrets, featuring terrific tracks such as Let There Be More Light and the quintessential PF track, Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun.

Its all here in one glorious package. Of course if you already have the 2 early albums, you needn't bother with this, though the packaging is great if you can pick it up for a decent price.

Highly recommended though if you dont have these albums already! I give it 3 stars as there is no new material, but its worth grabbing hold of for collectors and the material alone is worth the price.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I had forgotten this edition existed until seeing a recent review and which prompted me to gather it from my LP collection. Essentially their first two albums repackaged in 1974 under A Nice Pair. Most Floyd enthusiasts will be familliar with their early works so not much to say other than A Saucerful Of Secrets and Piper At The Gates Of Dawn make up this double LP release. ASOS has the more psychedlic work whilst Piper has the Barrett influenced psych pop feel to it. The cover is the highlight of this release with some very interesting pictures laid out. For collectors only and of course the music holds up extremely well.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "A Nice Pair" is a compilation album by UK progressive/psychadelic rock act Pink Floyd. The compilation was released through Harvest Records in December 1973. "A Nice Pair" features all tracks from Pink Floyd´s first two albums "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)" and "A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)". The compilation was released as a result of the huge commercial success of "The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)" earlier that year and was meant to introduce new fans to Pink Floyd´s early psychadelic period. The original release was a double LP set where the first LP featured "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)" and the second LP featured the full "A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)" album. The US version of "A Nice Pair" differs slightly from the UK version. The most notable difference between the two is that "Astronomy Domine" appears in the live version from "Ummagumma (1969)" on the US version instead of the original version which appears on the UK version.

While some might perceive the release of "A Nice Pair" as a cashing in on the commercial success of "The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)" (and to some extent I agree with such an opinion), it does serve it´s intented purpose. For me personally this was a way of getting hold of the first two releases by Pink Floyd at a reasonable price and I greatly value my vinyl copy of "A Nice Pair". Add to that the fact that both albums featured on the compilation are great genre defining works of psychadelic rock, and "A Nice Pair" becomes an even more interesting release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by friso
3 stars Pink Floyd - A Nice Pair (1973)

This double lp was released to get new fans of the band to listen to the old psychedelic works of Pink Floyd. The concept is easy; get The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Saucerful of Secrets for the price of one double lp. On most versions the form of the albums are left intact, but there are said to be differences. For me this was the perfect way to find the first Pink Floyd albums on vinyl, mainly Pipers has become a little more different to find. The artwork with it's strange photos of this compilation is also quite nice.

I've already written reviews of the first two Pink Floyd albums, but I'll write a summary here. The first Pink Floyd albums are essential for the development of the psychedelic and space-rock genre. On the first album the psychedelic song-writing of Syd Barrett is the main attraction. His child-like lyrics and out of the box composition is almost unmatched. 'Astronomy Domine' could be seen as the first space-rock track. 'Interstellar Overdrive' is a longer track with psychedelic improvisations and avant-garde moments. Saucerful of Secrets continues with less song- writing of Barrett and more spacey and psychedelic passages.

Conclusion. Buy if you are a starting vinyl collector interested in the early phase of Pink Floyd or if you see yourself as a completionist when it comes to this band. Both albums deserve four stars, but I'll give this release three stars because it's a compilation that has no value to add to the Pink Floyd catalogue.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars A 2- LP compilation with PINK FLOYD's first two studio albums. It was released in December 1973, the same year on which the band (In March) also released their most successful album (until then) titled "The Dark Side of the Moon". Like the "Yesterdays" compilation from YES from 1975, this 2-LP set compilation album from PINK FLOYD was maybe released to try to have more new fans of the music of the band, trying to attract the new listeners to their early albums. I never bought this "A Nice Pair" 2- LP set, but I have listened to both albums with their individual original cover designs. But I like a lot the gatefold cover design of this "A Nice Pair" compilation, which was designed by Hipgnosis. I think that it was one of the best cover designs that they did for the band and also one of their best cover designs overall.

The first LP in this 2 LP set is "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", their first album, which was originally released in August 1967, with the original line-up (Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright). An album dominated by Syd Barrett's songwriting and singing (with only two tracks being composed by all the members of the band, "Pow R. Toc H." and "Interstellar Overdrive"), very Psychedelic. It also sounds a bit "primitive", with not a very good production and recording. It seems that producer Noman Smith still had some problems then to try to understand better the music and the ideas of the band in their first album. But the best songs in this album for my taste are "Astronomy Domine" and "Bike". But this first album as a whole is not one of my favorites from the band.

The second LP in this compilation is their second album titled "A Saucerful of Secrets", which was originally released in June 1968. It is better than their first album, in my opinion. With the personal and mental health problems from Syd Barrett, this album was recorded during a problematic time for the band, with them trying to survive as a band without their main songwriter and leader. So, they invited David Gilmour to first assist them to play the guitar in some concerts, with Barrett still in the band, and later to finally replace him on guitar and vocals in concerts and in their singles and albums. First, the band wanted to keep Barrett in the band, still hoping for him to recover. But finally it didn't happen, and Barrett had to leave the band, with him still appearing in three songs in this second album ("Remember a Day", "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", and in his own song, "Jugband Blues"). The band had a five musicians' line-up for a very brief time in early 1968 (with some photos from this period in existence) before they realized that Barrett could not function as musician, songwriter, lead singer and leader in the band anymore. Wright and Waters tried to replace him as songwriters and lead singers, and they had success, in my opinion. This album is still very Psychedelic, but much better recorded and produced by Norman Smith. My favorite songs from this album are "Remember a Day" (originally recorded for their first album) and "See-Saw", with both songs being composed and sung by Wright.

A good compilation album which never was released on CD (as long as I know). With both albums being individually available on CD with their original covers since a long time ago, maybe "A Nice Pair" is now more remembered for the cover design than for anyhing else, I think. A very collectable gatefold cover. But maybe it is also remembered as an historical item for the most dedicated fans of the band.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 332

"A Nice Pair" is a very special compilation of Pink Floyd. The album consists on an economic package that includes their debut studio album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn", released in 1967 and their second studio album "A Saucerful Of Secrets" released in 1968, together in only one package. This is a very interesting compilation because it includes two indispensable musical works of the band at a very cheap price, what would be a very worth purchase, in those days. However, for those who have already both albums, it might be a nice addition for all vinyl prog collectors.

Those two albums represent, someow, the two faces of the same coin. Here, we have Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd without Syd Barrett. Here we have Pink Floyd more psychedelic and Pink Floyd more space rock. Here we are in the presence of two great albums that, somehow, symbolises the end of an era and the beginning of another one.

As I've already reviewed these two albums previously on Progarchives, in a more extensive way, I'm not going to do it again. So, if you are interested to know, in more detail, what I wrote about them before, I invite you to read those my both reviews. However, in here I'm going to write something about them in a more short way. So, of course, I'm not going to analyze them track by track, as I made before, but I'm only going to make a global appreciation of both albums.

"The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn": "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is a very special and unique album in all Pink Floyd's discography. It's the only studio album under the leadership of Syd Barrett and it's also, practically, the only studio album with his participation as a band's member. It's true that he also appears on their second studio album "A Saucerful Of Secrets", but his participation was seminal, with only one song. It's also, in a certain way, a Syd Barrett's album because he writes almost of the songs and is also a mythic album for those who loves this Pink Floyd's musical period and Syd Barrett's music. "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is a very good album that explores the psychedelic music in its more intimate and complexes senses with some touches of blues. However, we can't really say that it's a true progressive album. Nevertheless, it remains a true landmark on the psychedelic music and it must be seen as a fundamental piece of music and a great representant of the end of the 60's. But it's also an important musical document that clearly shows the beginning of the mental instability of Syd Barrett, with his disturbs, that would be in a short term to become a breakdown and a serious problem to be resolved by the group. So, this is a very unique and special album.

"A Saucerful Of Secrets": "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is also like "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" a true great album. Musically, it's a very different album that shows a new musical approach in relation to their previous studio work. Despite have many psychedelic parts it has also, for the first time, the beginning of the fundamental elements of their future space rock sound, which only would be firmly consolidated on their sixth studio album "Meddle". This is, in my humble opinion, a more adult and mature musical proposal than their debut studio album. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is the living proof that we are in the presence of two distinct bands, the band with Sid Barrett and the band without him. Sincerely, I don't think the main difference on the music of this album be the presence of the guitar sound of David Gilmour. It's true that we can feel its presence on it, but he only co-wrote a song on the album, and I'm convinced that the main difference is Roger Waters. Roger Waters is the main musical composer of the album and I think this is the capital difference between this two initial works. But, one thing is sure. If Syd Barrett had continued as a band's member, we would be in the presence of a different band with different music. I think the problems would appear if both continued in the group. Whereby we know of the personality of Roger Waters, he wouldn't want to stay in the shadow of Syd Barrett. So, sooner or later, both would enter in confrontation, and one of them would be forced to leave the group.

Conclusion: As I wrote above, I like very much of both albums, but personally I maybe prefer "A Saucerful Of Secrets" than "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn", but both have their great moments, indeed. It's probably best recommended for newbies, not the Pink Floyd newbies but the newbies of the psychedelic music. I must confess that I don't have this compilation. I have the two vinyl records and the two CD's too. However, I knew it since I was a teen and it represented also my first contact with these two albums, because a school friend lent it to me at that time. If you have the two studio albums in two individual records, you don't need to buy this compilation because it hasn't anything new to offer, like bonus tracks, unless you have a collector vinyl spirit or you are a hard Pink Floyd's fan. However, if you don't have these two albums yet, this is the better option because you save on price and space. So, if you don't have these two albums and you own this compilation, it substitutes perfectly well those two original albums. This is really a nice pair. Eighteen amazing tracks in only one package. So, I'm going to rate it with the same 4 stars that I rated those albums.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars A package re-release of 2 fine Pink FLoyd albums, PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, and SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS. I have always preferred the 1st to the 2nd. I have a feeling that the early fans who turned on to Pink Floyd through DARK SIDE OF THE MOON were quite surprised at what was on the album. Noth ... (read more)

Report this review (#387499) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, January 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This compilation consists of Pink Floyds two first albums, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets, put together as a double-LP. It was released shortly after "Dark Side of the Moon" to ride on that albums success. Since I haven't heard Piper... nor Saucerful... before, this is ... (read more)

Report this review (#127805) | Posted by Frasse | Saturday, July 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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