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Nick Mason Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports album cover
3.28 | 108 ratings | 18 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Can't Get My Motor To Start (3:35)
2. I Was Wrong (4:10)
3. Siam (4:46)
4. Hot River (5:11)
5. Boo To You Too (3:24)
6. Do Ya ? (4:29)
7. Wervin' (3:55)
8. I'm A Mineralist (6:14)

Total time 35:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Nick Mason / drums, percussion, co-producer

- Robert Wyatt / vocals
- Karen Kraft / vocals (1-lead)
- Chris Spedding / guitars
- Carla Bley / keyboards, composer, co-producer
- Terry Adams / harmonica & clavinet (1), piano (5)
- Gary Windo / tenor sax, bass clarinet, flute, backing vocals
- Gary Valente / trombone, backing vocals
- Mike Mantler / trumpet
- Howard Johnson / tuba
- Steve Swallow / bass
- Carlos Ward / backing vocals
- D. Sharpe / backing vocals
- Vincent Chancey / backing vocals
- Earl McIntyre / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis with Geoff Halpin

LP Harvest ‎- SHSP 4116 (1981, UK)

CD Sony Music Special Products ‎- WK 75070 (1995, US) Remastered by Don Meehan

Thanks to fishy for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy NICK MASON Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports Music

NICK MASON Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports ratings distribution

(108 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NICK MASON Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is very much a Carla Bley motivated album however it does not detract from the overall positive energy of the album. It is an album brimming with good humour, very tongue in cheek at times but also not compromised musically. The sound material is strong and Robert Wyatt's vocals possibly the strongest I have heard him sing. As a collection of songs I would overall rate this as a good album. There are however some songs which stand out above the rest, namely " Hot River", the fun ' Can't Get My Motor To Start" with lyrics like ' Bring that beer over here, cos I need it to steer'!! You can't take that too seriously now can you? and for me the highlight with Robert Wyatt delivering the goods on " I'm a Mineralist". Recommended for die hard Pink Floyd fans who need all the solo albums to complete the Floyd library repertoire.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a rather bizarre album! There are omnipresent brass arrangements that sound slightly jazzy, funky, fanfare music and even RIO/avant garde, like on "I'm a mineralist". Nick Mason's drums patterns can be quite elaborated & fast here, especially on "Boo to you too" and "Can't get my motor to start", if you compare them to his work with Pink Floyd post-Barrett. Some keyboards are REALLY low profile, mostly producing odd and strange sound effects. There are omnipresent good piano parts. There are some twisted & dissonant sax sounds like on "I was wrong". The rhytmic electric guitar sound is a bit too monolithic. The songs have too many repetitive patterns that do not really retain the attention, so that the overall music is more progressive related than progressive itself. Robert Wyatt is the lead singer, and we really feel his influence here. Mason's drums are quite good, but there are some unconvincing pieces, like "Siam" and "Hot river". I prefer the dynamic and fast songs like "Boo to you too". The sound is good and the instruments are well played. Mostly the album is neither catchy nor accessible at all. Plus, the songs are pretty unemotional. This original and unique album is certainly not bad if you accept its clinical dimension.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars One would have to say that by 1981, it was high time for Nick Mason, Pink Floyd's drummer, to unleash a solo work, as all other Floyd members had already done so years before. What we have here is not a Mason 'solo' work per se, (we don't get any experimental treats like 'The Grand Vizier's Garden Party) ; all of the compositions were written by Jazz keyboardist Carla Bley, and involved many jazz oriented musicians such as Gary Window, Steve Swallow, Mike Mantler, Chris Spedding and the wonderful Robert Wyatt, among others. The musical style couldn't be further away from Floyd as this : a nod towards Zappa, a touch of Canterbury, and kind of alternative rock with slight RIO tendencies (actually, these observations could be applicable to certain Floyd in some ways...). Humour permeates many songs on the album, and with Wyatt handling the mic, there is no-one better to convey the often quirky lyrics with as much intelligence and wit. Technically speaking, Mason's drumming is almost perfunctory (he's not the world's greatest drummer, but he often has a headful of ideas and a 'magic touch') whilst the rest of the band play their parts perfectly around him, the brass instruments in particular. No one song is better or worse than the other, making it a fairly consistent listen throughout, but hats off to 'I Was Wrong' and 'I'm a Mineralist' (minimalist, I guess). 3.5 stars.
Review by fuxi
3 stars A highly enjoyable (but not exactly great) album. I only wish it were still in print (which, at the time of writing, it isn't). Not quite jazzy enough for Carla Bley, and not weird enough for Robert Wyatt, it's still very much dominated by those artists, and as previous reviewers have pointed out, the fast songs are the best. 'I was wrong' and 'Siam' are ballads which hover somewhere between teasing, fascinating and annoying. 'Do ya' is a splendid torch song, and 'I'm a mineralist' a tongue-in-cheek parody of the minimalist movement in music. Best of all are uptempo numbers such as the Zappa-esque 'Can't get my motor to start' and 'Boo to you too'. Strangely enough, Mason's role on the album is negligible. You can't call his drumming outstanding, and you certainly can't guarantee that Pink Floyd fans will enjoy this sort of music. Apparently, Mason only wanted to use his name to put Wyatt and Bley in the spotlight - a noble gesture, for which he deserves praise. Let's hope FICTITIOUS SPORTS will be back in print as soon as possible.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I have to admit that I was quite disappointed when I listened to this album for the first time. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece but at least something closer to Pink Floyd. Well, if you don't consider "Hot River" there's nothing that sounds floydian here.

Of course this is mainly a Carla Bley work to which Mason has put his name. More or less the same thing that Mike Oldfield did with Pekka Pohjola's Mathematical Air Display.

The result is a avantgarde/jazzy album not so bad as it could appear if you are looking for things like Shine on you crazy diamond.

Robert Wyatt's voice gives it a touch of Canterbury. All the musicians are very skilled and also Mason seems able to play better than he was used in Pink Floyd, even if he's everything but a cat. Drums are what sound less jazzy in the whole album.

The songs vary fromn the crazyness of "Can't get my motor to start" and "Boo to you too" to the late psychedelia of "Hot River" passing by the very proggy "Siam" and "Do Ya" which sounds more like Soft Machine.

It's not a fundamental album but it's neither a bad one. I think it would have had a better success if Robert Wyatt's name appeared on the cover instead of Nick Mason's as the music inside is closer to the first.

I suggest this album to Soft Machine fans. If you are looking for Pink Floyd this is not your pot, as there's only "Hot River" which features a Gilmour-like guitar and Wright-like organ in the background (and is a great song IMO).

It can have 3 stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I imagine this album was a shock to Pink Floyd fans hoping for more Floydlike music from their drummer. But this is actually not a Nick Mason solo album. It's a Carla Bley album (whose band Mason occasionally recorded with. Fear not, Carla Bley writes some great, and often very funny rock music. And Mason does play drums on all of the tracks.

Can't Get My Motor To Start opens the album with a quirky upbeat song about a broken down car. It's fun and very funny. I Was Wrong follows, with Robert Wyatt singing as a skeptic who has an alien encounter.

The dirgelike Siam is next. With it's slow beat, you may think it's going to be the most Floyd- like track on the album. But on Hot River, Bley sounds like she was imitating Roger Waters' "The Wall" era style, complete with Great Gig In The Sky vocals.

Boo To You Too is an upbeat boogie, with more funny lyrics about how to deal with hecklers during a concert. Do Ya? is more typical of Bley's big band compositions, but with Wyatt singing odd lyrics about being misunderstood.

Wervin' is not bad. It's a repetitious song, with a good sax solo, with bizarre lyrics. I'm A Mineralist is the masterpiece on the album. It's a sendup of the minimalist music that was so popular in that decade. Brilliant.

If you are not expecting Pink Floyd, and open your ears, this is an extremely enjoyable album.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars I saw this album in the record shops when it was released in 1981. I never bought it. At that time, I was listening more to GENESIS, YES, and other bands than to PINK FLOYD. But finally I could listen to this album recently, not being disappointed by it, despite the fact that NICK MASON did not write any of the songs in this album. The songs were composed by CARLA BLEY, an artist from the U.S. whose style of music is more towards Jazz-Rock music (and maybe somewhat Avant- Garde) than Rock music or Progressive Rock, and very far from PINK FLOYD`s musical style in many ways. Maybe Mason was tired of PINK FLOYD and Roger Waters (at that time, in late 1979, they were reaching the final stages of the recording of "The Wall" album, and Mason went to New York to co-produce this album with Carla Bley, in October 1979). I have to say that the music in this album is somewhat complicated, with some influences from FRANK ZAPPA (even in the use of some humour in some songs like "Can`t Get My Motor to Start" and "Boo To You Too"). All the musicians played very well and the recording and mixing of this album is very good, and maybe it took to them some time to learn the songs in the right way to record them, so maybe they took a considerable time for rehearsals, but maybe I am wrong. Anyway, this is a good album, an album which maybe needs some repeating listenings to really like it. The lead vocals by ROBERT WYATT are very good and very well adapted to this kind of music, not sounding very far from his own style of music. The song which sounds more close to Rock music is "Hot River" which has some very good guitars played by Chris Spedding. But the main instruments in all the other songs are the wind instruments and the keyboards. Mason plays the drums very well, I can say that I can listen to this album a lot of times more than to "The Wall".
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. Nick Mason is of course most known for being the drummer for PINK FLOYD, but he also was a Producer who produced some notable albums in between recording and touring with FLOYD. He has a lot of musical connections and this album almost feels like a celebration of that. Nick is so generous and I have no doubt that even though this is a Carla Bley record, that he foot the bill during these recording sessions in New York City. That's one thing but then to be humble enough to have this album be released under his own name knowing it would sell more copies is another thing. And his name is in the title of the album just so people got it. Carla wrote the lyrics, composed the music and produced this record.

The album comes off as being a renewing of friendships and the making of new ones I'm sure. They are having a lot of fun and while I wouldn't call this Canterbury music at all, it does have that spirit with the naughty lyrics at times and humour. While this is Carla's baby her husband Michael Mantler engineered it and plays trumpet on here. And lets talk about who is on here. The lineup surpasses the music big time in my opinion. Besides Mantler's trumpet we have Gary Windo on horns and flute, Chris Spedding guitar, Steve Swallow bass, Robert Wyatt and Karen Kraft vocals and Nick Mason drums, and he co-produced this with Carla. Carla plays keyboards on here.

This was released in 1981 but recorded late in 1979 after "The Wall" sessions. This is where Nick was de-stressing from those "The Wall" recordings where Roger was in fine form. Michael Mantler released a solo album in 1976 called "The Hapless Child And Other Inscrutable Stories" and Nick mixed that record and added some spoken word bits. That album had Wyatt, Bley and Swallow as well as Jack DeJohnette and Terje Rypdal. Mantler's next solo album from '77 had Chris Spedding on it while his 1978 record called "Movies" had Swallow, Bley as well as Tony Williams on drums and Larry Coryel on guitar. His 1980 "More Movies" has Bley, Swallow, Windo as well as Philip Catherine guitar and D. Sharpe drums a long time collaborator with Carla and doing backing vocals here on "Fictitious Sports".

I just wanted to show the connections with all of these wonderful musicians and albums, this is the one where they let their hair down and enjoyed themselves. Having said that the closer on here "I'm A Mineralist" sounds like a Steven Wilson song, in fact I have no doubt he took inspiration from this. Even during the harmonies I'm going "This is Wilson all the way." Melancholic as Wyatt tells a story. The disappointment is those female vocal melodies bringing to mind "The Great Gig In The Sky" but more subdued I guess you could say late on "Hot River".

Several years ago I felt this was a low 4 star record based really on what it is, but if I'm honest with myself this is a true 3.5 star record, inconsistent with some moments for sure.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 3.5 The first album by Nick Mason based in most of the ideas Carla Bley had at the time and she sent to him. The music is good in general, seems like jazz and RIO at some times. The lyrics I thing is the weakest thing of the album. Vocally is sung by Robbert Wyatt, and they are good, nothing spe ... (read more)

Report this review (#2170399) | Posted by mariorockprog | Monday, April 1, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Odd-Ball with some charm. This album is somewhat of a concoction. Wanting to make a solo album like his fellow Floydians, but being neither a composer nor a singer, Mason asked Carla Bley to write the tunes, and his friend Robert Wyatt to sing on the album. He also asked other friends (like Gary ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698239) | Posted by Walkscore | Friday, March 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In between "The Wall" and "The Final Cut", Pink Floyd's Nick Mason had plenty of time on his hands. He teams up with friends Mike Mantler and Carla Bley to record the Bley penned "Fictitious Sports". It's released under Mason's name to pull in a bigger fee from the record company. The Pink ... (read more)

Report this review (#707598) | Posted by tdfloyd | Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best Pink Floyd solo albums, but it's not really fair to characterize it as such as it's really a Carla Bley album that Mason agreed to put his name on in the hope of shifting more copies. (We can see how well that worked! Maybe if they had thrown a flying pig on...) Anyway, it' ... (read more)

Report this review (#308013) | Posted by philGab | Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I'm not sure about it, but its the kind of thing that I never ever expected coming from Mason. Yet its someway jazzy due to the great influence Carla Bley printed on this, and to be honest it's not progressive at all. It has some funny moments but nothing really special comes from here. Robert W ... (read more)

Report this review (#262415) | Posted by FenderTramp | Monday, January 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my all-time favorites, this one. Despite Mr. Mason's pedigree, absolutely no Pink Floyd vibes are to be heard here (save for one Gilmour-esque solo from Chris Spedding). But what you do get is a Carla Bley rock album (on Carla's terms, of course) with lead singer Robert Wyatt on practic ... (read more)

Report this review (#196093) | Posted by Steven in Atlanta | Monday, December 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I find Ficticious Sports, as essentially a Carla Bley project, thoroughly entertaining. After much searching, I finally got hold of this record (yes, searching for it was borne out of my Pink Floyd completist obsession). I'm certainly glad I got this record! It's an all-star cast, but it doesn't ... (read more)

Report this review (#174030) | Posted by themootbooxle | Monday, June 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars When I first heard this record I didn't know Carla Bley or Robert Wyatt. To me it was just a record with Nick Mason on it. I was in the phase of gathering everything I could related to Pink Floyd. At that time, to me, it was just weird. I could relate, however to the floydesque Hot River. With ni ... (read more)

Report this review (#160919) | Posted by Megaphone of Destiny | Tuesday, February 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This record sits in my archives and gets a dusting off every couple of years. There are a number of very good musical moments on it, but simply not enough to overcome the bizarre Carla Bley avant garde jazz material. Don't get me wrong, I think Carla Bley is a major force in the history of mod ... (read more)

Report this review (#156632) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Essentially, this was "Nick Mason Piggybacks Most of Carla Bley's Band Onto A Major-Label Recording." It's a riot, absolutely memorable, with great Robert Wyatt vocals, twisted songs, and the most perfect parody of Philip Glass you'll ever hear. Mason acquits himself well, the band is tight and h ... (read more)

Report this review (#60806) | Posted by | Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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