When Pink Floyd released their debut album ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’, there was one driving force behind it. That was original guitar player/vocalist Syd Barrett. However, but the time they were ready to record their second, Barrett’s days in the band were numbered. His behaviour had becoming more erratic throughout 1967 to the point where he was detuning his guitar on stage. His material which once managed to break the Top Ten in the UK Singles chart was now failing to make the grade. By the time of ‘Apple & Oranges’, the last single he wrote for the band, their days as a chart band were gone and it would remain that way for another twelve years. The fact that they did not realise many singles in the UK in those twelve years might have played a part in that also. Anyway, as his ability to perform live diminished, Dave Gilmour, an old friend of Barrett’s was brought in as cover. The band thought that as Barrett had been responsible for most of the bands material up until this point, they would keep him on as a writer and non touring member along the lines of Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys.
This situation did not last long and by the end of January 1968, Barrett was no longer in the band. Even though he contributed to the playing on a couple of songs as a player, only one of the songs he had written for the group was used on the album that would be known as ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’. ‘Jugband Blues’ was not like the joyous songs that had been included on the debut album but many have seen it as a self diagnosis of what he perceived was happening to him. Was it schizophrenia, a wry sense of humour, too many drugs, the fact that he longer wanted to be a star or a combination of all of them. Barrett had recorded a number of other songs but these would not seen an official release until 2016 and the Early Years box set. So, what if the second Pink Floyd album had sounded like it if it had used more of the material the band had recorded with Syd Barrett?
I’ll start by looking at the one track that did not make the cut. I did not want to use Saucerful of Secrets as it is the only the third section that I can actually listen to repeatedly. Wikipedia has that part listed as Celestial Voices and it is beautiful. It is shame that the rest of it was a load of psychedelic noodling that in any other era would have been seen as self indulgent. Seeing as this is quite a long song, that leaves plenty of room to fill on this LP. More on that later. Side A is the same as the album that was actually released. I did play around with this, moving songs around and trying to place the songs in a different order but it just didn’t work.
It is Side B that is very different from the album that was ultimately released. It starts off with ‘See-Saw’ was listed on the recording sheet as ‘The Most Boring Song I’ve Ever Heard Bar Two’. It its not the most memorably of songs but it is not terrible. I would love to know what the two songs the band thought were more boring than this though. I have followed this with one of the unreleased Barrett songs that was officially released in 2016. ‘Vegetable Man’ is not an easy listen and the lyrics show Barrett looking in on himself. This and the other unreleased Barrett number, ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ were considered as the A and B side of a single, in lieu of anything else in the can. This, as we know did not come to pass and I suspect that it would not have returned the band to the top of the single chart. The band did perform these songs on a BBC session in December 1967.
‘Painbox’ was originally released as the B-Side of the Apple & Oranges single, and is one of a number of songs that band recorded that show the Barrett influence whilst not being written by him. ‘Jugband Blues’ is another song with lyrics that could be said to be Barrett looking in on himself and I almost finished this album in the same way it did on the original LP did. However, I decided to throw a little bonus in there, because otherwise my sides would not match up time wise. That track is an instrumental that has been bootlegged under the name as Sunshine, but supposedly the track is officially known as ‘Experiment’. Even though this track is meant to be 15 minutes long, only the first 90 seconds have escaped the studio. The track does sound a little rough, it fits into the sound of the album. I put a fade in and out and added some echo to the first 20 seconds.
The original Saucerful of Secrets was possibly the most democratic album the band ever made. Each of the five members take a lead vocal and this is the only album where Keyboardist Rick Wright vocal performances outnumber everyone else. I have used the same artwork as Saucerful of Secrets but I took out the original photo to include one with all five Floyd members in it.
- Let There Be More Light
- Remember A Day
- Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
- Corporal Clegg
- Vegetable Man
- Scream Thy Last Scream
- Jugband Blues
A Spotify playlist could not be created for this play list due to one or more songs not being available on that platform.