BBC Archives 1967-1969 (Last Scream PFBBC-67-6869)
Disc 1 (36:15): Pow R Toc H (14th May 1967 “Look Of The Week”), Astronomy Domine (14th May 1967 “Look Of The Week”), The Gnome (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”), Scarecrow (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”), Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”), Matilda Mother (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”), Reaction in G (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”), Flaming (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”), Green Onions (12th December 1967 “Tomorrow’s World”), Instrumental (12th December 1967 “Tomorrow’s World”), Vegetable Man (20th December 1967 “Top Gear”), Scream Thy Last Scream (20th December 67 “Top Gear”), Pow R Toc H (20th December 1967 “Top Gear”), Jugband Blues (20th December 1967 “Top Gear”)
Disc 2 (67:15): Instrumental (26th March 1968 “The Sound Of Change”), Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (28th March 1968 “Omnibus’ All My Loving”), The Murderotic Woman (25th June 1968 “Top Gear”), The Massed Gadgets Of Hercules (25th June 1968 “Top Gear”), Let There Be More Light (25th June 1968 “Top Gear”), Julia Dream (25th June 1968 “Top Gear”), Point Me At The Sky (2nd December 1968 “Top Gear”), Baby Blue Shuffle In D Major (2nd December 1968 “Top Gear”), Embryo (2nd December 1968 “Top Gear”), Interstellar Overdrive (2nd December 1968 “Top Gear”), Daybreak (12th May 1969 “Top Gear”), Nightmare (12th May 1969 “Top Gear”), The Beginning (12th May 1969 “Top Gear”), Beset By Creatures Of The Deep (12th May 1969 “Top Gear”), The Narrow Way (12th May 1969 “Top Gear”), Moonhead (20th July 1969 “Omnibus’ What If It’s Just Green Cheese?”)
BBC Archives 1967-1969 on Last Scream gathers together key Pink Floyd radio and television appearances in the late sixties. It is a straight silver version of the Harvested release, which “required a lot of work and took more than 6 months to complete. The purpose was to present each track in the best possible quality. The process was long because it was performed on a track by track basis. For each song, we had to compare many different sources in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each version and then decide which one(s) to work on. The mastering work was done very carefully, trying to repair every flaw that could be corrected… and there were a lot (tape warble, crackles, drop-outs, incorrect speed, etc).”
It isn’t comprehensive, but does cover a good selection of material from the first three years of the band. The first disc covers four BBC sessions from 1967, the time when Syd Barrett was still a member of the band, and the second disc has six separate sessions documenting the beginning of the David Gilmour era. Some tracks sound better than others, but since they all come from professional sources they are all very good.
Disc one opens with their first television appearance on the BBC2 music show “The Look Of The Week” on May 14th, 1967. This was right after their first single “Arnold Layne” was released. Instead of playing their new record they performed “Pow R. Toc H” (only a fragment) and “Astronomy Domine.” The interview between host Hans Keller, where he mercilessly slams the band, with Syd and Roger is not included.
The bulk of the first disc is occupied with the September 25th appearance on “Top Gear” recorded at Studio – Playhouse Theatre. It can be found on older titles including Esoteric Dreams (Flux And Reflux FARM-003/4). A month after the release of their debut LP The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, several of the songs from the album are played live such as “The Gnome” and “Scarecrow.” It is interesting that the band were already previewing new material such as the new Waters song “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,” to be released on the next album A Saucerful of Secrets and the still unreleased “Reaction In G” (which is really used just as bumper music under John Peel’s narration).
The rest of disc one contains another appearance on “Top Gear,” this time recorded at Maida Vale Studios, London on December 20th. This is notable for having to still unreleased Syd Barrett tunes “Vegetable Man” and “Scream Thy Last Scream” and a full “Pow R. Toc H.”
The second disc picks up after Barrett had been replaced by Gilmour. The band were recording their second album A Saucerful Of Secrets. The instrumental from the March 26th, 1968 “The Sound Of Change” broadcast and “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” from “Omnibus’ All My Loving” from March 28th are the earliest glimpses of the period.
This is followed by an appearance on John Peel’s “Top Gear.” This was recorded on June 25th and first broadcast on radio August 11th and is right before their famous Hyde Park concert on June 29th.
Two are from the new album, the new track “The Murderotic Woman” aka “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” and the B-side of the latest single “It Would Be So Nice,” a Roger Waters song “Julia Dream.” The single was not played since the band hated it so much, but the B-side is pleasant and catchy tune, and Peel sounds very enthusiastic for their set. The sound quality is a very good to excellent mono tape probably from the radio. This utilizes the complete but damaged master tape.
The next four tracks come from the second appearance on John Peel’s “Top Gear” in 1968. This was taped on December 2nd to coincide with their latest single, and what would be their last until 1979’s “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2,” “Point Me To The Sky.”
John Peel introduced “Baby Blue Shuffle In D Major” as “a real departure, an acoustic guitar duet.” This song is a real rarity and might be an early version of “Grantchester Meadows” from Ummagumma, but at a faster tempo. “The Embryo” is a three and a half minute, acoustic guitar lead version of the well known and controversial stage piece.
This is one of Gilmour’s finest creations and even this early version displays some of the song’s beauty. “Interstellar Overdrive” lasts for more than eight minutes and is fantastic. Both of these sessions appear also on The Transitional Period-1968 era (Tarantura TCDPF-3-1-3), but this has improved sound quality.
The next session dates to May 12th, 1969. This collection utilizes the same source found on Celestial Voices (Rover Records RR CD002) and The Pink Jungle: The 68/69 Pre-FM Recordings (Sigma 28). It is an edited radio performance of their current art piece The Man And The Journey. They performed the complete work in Amsterdam in September.
The final track is “Moonhead,” an instrumental piece from the July 20th, 1969 broadcast of “Omnibus’ What If It’s Just Green Cheese?,” a commemoration of the lunar landing. The descending bass riff in the middle of “Money” from Dark Side Of The Moon can be found in this piece.
Overall, all of the material on this title is an improvement over what has been issued before. Harvested (Last Scream) edited out almost all of the interviews and studio chatter, the stuff that makes this fascinating. BBC Archives is a good collection to have of the early Pink Floyd appearances. And the artwork is groovy too….
I agree with the review. This i a great sounding set. They might well be the best sounding versions of these sessions but check this site http://www.salerussia.com/op.htm , great artwork (mini-lp sleeves; done very well) and these versions can easily stand up with the Last Scream-release. The Last Scream is only a bit more ‘warmsounding’, that’s why the others make for a great alternative as they are much cheaper.