Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pink Floyd- Syd at the gates

Ah, the anniversary of the summer of love. Conveniently, it falls upon the year of punk ten years later. Don't worry if you didn't catch it this time- we'll have "celebrations" again in another decade and by then, it'll be 50 years from 1967 and if we can get cryogenically frozen, we'll celebrate the centennial too!

Though Sgt. Pepper's usually gets touted as THE record of that year, another important English release of the time was Pink Floyd's debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (also recorded at Abbey Road at the same time at the Beatles record). Here in the States, it's mostly a cult fave and a long-way from the later edition of the group which would go on to seell billions of records without its original leader Syd Barrett while in his homeland, the recently deceased visionary is toasted more (Bowie once said that there was no Floyd without him). But even more than his solo albums, this is where that crazy diamond shines. Space travel and gnomes and psychotic loves songs are all part of the travelogue and unlike a lot of art-rock that followed, the music did actually rock- crank up "Astronomy Domine" and "Insteller Overdrive" again to hear some prime psychedelic garage rock.

Sadly, this was his first and last Floyd album, pushed out by his band mates for his unreliable behavior. While charmingly psychotic, his more low-key solo records didn't quite extend the promise of Piper. Now reissued in a mono/stereo double set, it's worth re-experiencing this slice of swinging London culture again.


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