Another Wall (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD 1418/1419)
Pink Floyd The Wall – Another Version Various Studios December ’78-November ’79
Disc 1 (68:11) Prelude (Vera Lynn) (Outtake), Another Brick In The Wall (Intro) (Outtake), In The Flesh? (from “The Wall”), The Thin Ice (Early Version), Another Brick In The Wall Part 1 (from “The Wall”), Teacher, Teacher (outtake / demo), Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 prelude (Outtake), The Happiest Days Of Our Lives (from “The Wall”), Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 (from “The Wall”), Mother (from “The Wall”), When The Tigers Broke Free (Single version), The Thin Ice reprise (Outtake), Goodbye Blue Sky (alternate extended mix), What Shall We Do Now? (from “The Wall” film), Young Lust (Early version), Sexual Revolution (Outtake / demo), Another Brick In The Wall Part 3 prelude, One Of My Turns (Single B-side version), Don’t Leave Me Now (Early rough mix), Empty Spaces (from “The Wall”), Another Brick In The Wall Part 3 (from “The Wall”), The Last Few Bricks (Outtake), Goodbye Cruel World (from “The Wall”)
Disc 2 (53:09) Hey You (from “The Wall”), Is There Anybody Out There Part 1, Nobody Home (from “The Wall”), The Final Cut (from The Final Cut), Is There Anybody Out There (Outtake), Vera (Alternate take), Is There Anybody Out There Part 3 (Outtake), Bring The Boys Back Home (Single B-side version), Comfortably Numb (from “The Wall”), The Show Must Go On (Alternate lyrics), In The Flesh (from “The Wall”), Run Like Hell (Extended promo mix), Waiting For The Worms (Early Version), Stop (from “The Wall”), The Trial (from “The Wall”), Outside The Wall (Alternate version), It’s Not Easy (Outtake)
Pink Floyd would end the 70’s by releasing their most ambitious project ever, the double LP entitled The Wall. All of the group’s most popular records from the decade beginning with Dark Side Of The Moon, would be concept projects as the songs told a story if you will. On those records, Roger Waters would be the lyricists and visionary if you will with the music being formed by Gilmour, Wright, and to a lesser extent Mason. What started as the next Floyd album would eventually turn into one of the most visually intense concert experiences and finally into a motion picture. Like most I consider The Wall to be a masterwork, equally as important and impressive as Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here, and like those records has withstood the ultimate test, time. I’ve got many live Wall recordings in my collection but until recently, no releases of the outtakes or demos that circulate.
Pink Floyd have been guarded with their studio material, compared to bands like The Beatles, The Stones, or even Led Zeppelin, there is precious little from their recording sessions out there until the Immersion sets were released in 2011-2012. It seems like the stars were in line as just after I get a copy of a couple of Wall demos, Wall In Progress (Sigma 255), that this new title by Empress Valley comes to light. The Sigma release is two different demo versions of The Wall, Empress Valley have taken a different approach. First off I am extremely grateful that the label has added two fold open sheets that gives us information for this release as well as track listing and a brief bit of information on each track. Basically what EV has done is to produce a “complete” version of The Wall as it was originally written before the constraints of time forced Waters to cut and focus the work to fit onto the slabs of vinyl. To do this they use existing studio demos, B-sides, and music from The Wall record itself. I guess we could consider this the “Directors Cut” if you will. First off, the sound quality of this set is excellent, the blending of studio demo material with the officially released music is extremely well done and only a couple times does something sound sonically out of place, another plus.
To aid me in listening and learning, and better understanding this release I have used the notes included by EV and the excellent Comfortably Numb A History of “The Wall” book by Vernon Fitch and Richard Mahon. I bought this book recently and am blown away by it, superbly researched and equally visually impressive. I am also using Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) as a reference, the first disc is credited as Early 1979 Demo, the second disc is a Late 1979 Demo.
Warning, this may get tedious, reader be warned!
Prelude (Vera Lynn) This is an outtake, it is the exact same thing as found on the Sigma Wall In Progress CD 1 track 1. Until I started reading I never searched who Vera Lynn was, once I did it was like getting hit with the bat named obvious. A singer slash entertainer popular in the 40’s whose song We’ll Meet Again would give hope to those entrenched in the second World War and those who kept the home front.
Another Brick In The Wall (Intro) (Outtake) EV says this was the original first song intended for The Wall, cut at the last minute. It seems plausible as it is like a lyrical overture to The Wall, again from the first disc of Sigma Wall in Progress.
In The Flesh? (from “The Wall”) The brilliant opening track taken from the official version of The Wall, Pink Floyd at their heaviest.
The Thin Ice (Early Version) This early version of The Thin Ice begins like the official version but the heavy part is replaced by a piano piece. The notes on this EV state that The Wall was originally a blue album before Bob Ezrin added the orchestration, this is true for this song. This is also found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 1.
Another Brick In The Wall Part 1 (from “The Wall”) The segue from The Thin Ice into Another Brick Part 1 is excellent.
Teacher, Teacher (outtake / demo) An interesting piece, musically reminiscent of Short and Sweet on David Gilmour’s first solo record. Lyrically a depiction of the abusive Teacher that would be expanded on Another Brick part 2.
Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 prelude (Outtake) An early version of Another Brick Part 2, the guitar is very interesting in this song. This song would be reworked as The Heroes Return on The Final Cut. This track and the prior one are both found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 1.
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall Part 2, and Mother are all taken from the official release of The Wall.
When The Tigers Broke Free (Single version) A piece from The Wall movie, this is taken from its original release as a single in 1982 and eventually added to The Final Cut when it was reissued in 2004. Great song lyrically.
The Thin Ice reprise (Outtake) Basically an instrumental portion of the latter part of The Thin Ice, the heavy section with its great guitar playing by David, also found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 1.
Goodbye Blue Sky (alternate extended mix) They use the intro from the official version, “Look mommy there’s an aeroplane up in the sky” the rest is also found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 1.
What Shall We Do Now? (from “The Wall” film) Certainly written for the live show and one of the animated highlights from The Wall movie, the evolution of Empty Spaces into this heavy monstrosity is perfection, like In The Flesh, Pink Floyd at their heaviest. The latter demo found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 2 has an embryonic version of this song referred to as Backs To The Wall.
Young Lust (Early version) and Sexual Revolution (Outtake / demo) These two songs go together, the early version of Young Lust is really interesting, the tempo is much different with an almost hip hop lyrical delivery, the chorus is the only portion used on the official version. Sexual Revolution is interesting, it sounds very much out of place, you do not hear David’s guitar so must be a session player. Discarded early on but eventually used on the Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking. Both of these are also on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 1.
Another Brick In The Wall Part 3 (prelude) An interesting short piece, commonly referred to as Another Brick: Drugs.
One Of My Turns (Single B-side version) The classic complete with groupie intro, taken from the single version. I am pausing this review as it’s my bath time.
Don’t Leave Me Now (Early rough mix) Clean as a whistle, this should be referred to as the deep breathing version.
Empty Spaces, Another Brick In The Wall Part 3, The Last Few Bricks (Outtake), Goodbye Cruel World. Other than The Last Few Bricks all are culled from the official version of The Wall. Most know Few Bricks it an instrumental passage featuring musical themes from the first set that allowed the “brick builders” time to finish the wall prior to the intermission.
Hey You, Is There Anybody Out There Part 1, Nobody Home. All three culled from The Wall official release.
The Final Cut (from The Final Cut) The liner notes state The Final Cut was written for inclusion on The Wall but was dropped early on and later revisited for The Final Cut. The song is included here as it fills a hole in the story narrative.
Is There Anybody Out There (Outtake) This and the next version of Is There Anybody Out There are very interesting, radically different from the official release, both are also found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 1.
Vera (Alternate take) Another amazing alternate version, sparse and dissident that goes with the narrative of being lost in a haze of drugs and psychosis.
Is There Anybody Out There Part 3 (Outtake) See above, the liner state that Is There Anybody Out There was written as a reoccurring theme and this is an attempt to correct the sequence. The mastering of these three tracks is really good.
Bring The Boys Back Home (Single B-side version) This is the orchestrated version with choir.
Comfortably Numb Taken from the official version of The Wall. Interesting, but correct choice. While the couple versions of the early version of this song entitled The Doctor are on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255), they do not have the emotional power that this version has.
The Show Must Go On (Alternate lyrics) Interesting but not superior in any way to the official version.
In The Flesh Taken from the official version of The Wall, like its predecessor, you cannot mess with perfection. That being said the version found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 2 is very good, perhaps not as dynamic and sonically not up to par.
Run Like Hell (Extended promo mix) Roughly 20 seconds longer than the version found on The Wall, this is the perfect version for inclusion on this set. Several songs and themes and themes were either cut for time or removed all together to keep the project to a double LP format. Interesting that this song was something David Gilmour had not used for his first solo album.
Waiting For The Worms (Early Version) They should call this the small band version, a perfect example of what The Wall could have sounded like if Ezrin was never brought in. Also found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) disc 2.
Stop and The Trial are both taken from the official version of The Wall. After listening to both versions on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255) it was clear to me that EV made the right decision by using this version. The others are too sparse and would have sounded out of place. The orchestration on this version is perfection.
Outside The Wall (Alternate version), It’s Not Easy (Outtake) Outside The Wall uses a harmonica instead of the clarinet that I prefer as it seems more humble, and if one could gather, Pink has been humbled. It’s Not Easy is an extension of Outside The Wall.
First off the mastering of this set is excellent, many songs segue into each other and the work here is likened to that of an official release. The sound of the official material versus the demo material is very well done and speaking of the latter, is superior to the versions of each found on Wall In Progress (Sigma 255). Certainly the outtake and demo material is culled from the 2012 Immersion box set, I do not own it so cannot make a comparison.
The packaging is very nice, glossy slick cover and interior with an almost holographic film over it, clear when you look straight on but at an angle when you pick up light you get a rainbow effect that is eerily similar to the Dark Side Of The Moon album cover. The pictures on the CDs mirror the front and rear cover which are themselves mirror images of each other. The interior is made up of story board illustrations taken from pages 130 and 131 of The Making Of Pink Floyd The Wall book by Gerald Scarfe. The track listing insert is very nice and is something that the Sigma set sorely lacks, overall an excellent presentation both musically and visually. An interesting take on The Wall, the idea of trying to present the most complete version of the story is interesting in theory and as a listening experience but IMO not better, just an alternate view.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)