PINK FLOYD: RELICS (1971)
No rating (compilation)
1. Arnold Layne; 2. Interstellar Overdrive; 3. See Emily Play; 4. Remember a Day; 5. Paintbox; 6. Julia Dream; 7. Careful With That Axe, Eugene; 8. Cirrus Minor; 9. The Nile Song; 10. Biding My Time; 11. Bike
Best song: SEE EMILY PLAY
Compilation thrown together during the Meddle sessions which for years was the easiest place to get some of the early singles that never made it onto an album, an entertaining throwback to the pre-Internet years when hearing "See Emily Play" was actually a sort of accomplishment Floyd fans worked towards (I presume, I wasn't alive back then). Now that the Internet exists there's no good reason for anybody not to have any of these songs, but this is as good a place as any to talk about the non-album stuff. I'm also gonna be discussing the other early singles that never made an album (thankfully, since the band didn't actually release UK singles after "Point Me At the Sky" flopped, they cut this shit out).
The main attractions here are, of course, "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play," the songs that briefly made Syd-era Floyd a pop sensation despite the former being banned by the Beeb for being about a transvestite. What is it with the Beeb and wanting to ban everything in the least bit controversial? For that matter, what the hell's the British obsession with transvestites? Great song, though, and "Emily" is even better. My favorite moment is that strange five-second harpsichord(?) break after the first verse, but the feedback guitar solo is pretty cool, too. Rick's "Paintbox" (the b-side to the third single, "Apples and Oranges") is pretty great, as well, especially those cool drum fills. One of my favorite Rick songs, and one that deserves more recognition. Particularly notable are the antisocial lyrics already popping up in Rick's writing (pun not intended). Unfortunately, Roger's "Julia Dream" is uneventful if pleasant, and the studio version of "Careful With That Axe, Eugene," despite being shorter than the Ummagumma version by a good 3 minutes, isn't a tenth as interesting. The buildup seems rushed, the scream is mediocre, and the middle section isn't as intense. Bleh. Luckily, though, there's the otherwise unavailable "Biding My Time" a lounge music(!) piece written and sung by Roger (!!) featuring Rick playing trombone and Dave throwing down some blistering leads. Originally from their onstage Man and the Journey suite (which mainly consisted of re-titlings of old songs thrown into some vague concept), it sounds nothing like Pink Floyd as anyone knows them but is a hoot in spite of, or perhaps because of that.
I might as well point out the other songs from this era here, too--the most essential is "Arnold Layne" b-side "Candy and a Currant Bun." Originally this was titled "Let's Roll Another One," the powers that be had them edit the song to eliminate the drug references (why coke-addled record execs are so against drug references is beyond me), but Syd slipped in the line "please just fuck with me" into the first chorus. You have to listen for it (he really says "falk," if we're being technical), but once you hear it once you can't un-hear it. Was this the first use of "fuck" on an officially released single? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Also, Roger busts out his scream for the first time here. Syd's final single for the group, "Apples and Oranges" is well-written but overproduced to hell, that midsection with all the high-pitched voices DEFINITELY didn't need to be there. Also notable is the awful promo video, shot after Dave had joined the band, where Roger does an awful job lip-synching (in his defense, it might just seem so terrible because I know it's not him actually singing). Rick's "It Would Be So Nice," the a-side to "Julia Dream," is also overproduced all to hell, but at least this time it was an act of self-sabotage, supposedly after the song was recorded Rick locked himself in the studio and overdubbed his vocals and keys into absolute oblivion where the song just becomes a mess, even though the song itself is fairly decent, if still one of Rick's lesser efforts ("Paintbox" should've been an a-side!) Finally, the Waters/Gilmour effort "Point Me At The Sky" flopped so badly that the band didn't release a British single for 11 years, but it's a good song, despite yet more shitty production on the outro, this time trying to make a rather straightforward guitar solo sound psychedelic. Also of note are two unreleased by highly available Syd songs, "Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegetable Man." The former has a surprisingly decent vocal turn from Nick Mason and some crazy guitar solos, while the latter sounds almost punkish and features some almost uncomfortably self-aware lyrics. The only reason I can think of that they never bothered to officially release these is that anyone who would want them already has the fucking things.
So, yeah, this compilation itself is a little unnecessary, but you do need most of these songs. I recommend finding them in whatever way you can (my legal team would like me to note here that I do not endorse illegal downloading in any shape or form, if that shape or form involves me getting in trouble. Which it won't, so go nuts).