A Saucerful of Secrets Discography
A Saucerful of Secrets is the second album by rock band Pink Floyd, and marks the group’s stylistic change from psychedelic to progressive rock. It was recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, at various dates from August, 1967 to April, 1968. Due to Syd Barrett’s declining mental state, this was to be the last Pink Floyd album that he would work on.
Recording and structure
During its difficult recording sessions, Barrett became increasingly unstable and in January of 1968, David Gilmour was brought in. Barrett was finally removed from the band by early March, leaving this new incarnation of Pink Floyd to finish the album. As a result, A Saucerful of Secrets is the only non-compilation Pink Floyd album on which all five band members appear, with Gilmour appearing on five songs (Let There Be More Light, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Corporal Clegg, A Saucerful of Secrets, and See-Saw) and Barrett on three (Remember a Day, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, and Jugband Blues). As well as “Jugband Blues”, the album was to include “Vegetable Man,” another Syd Barrett song. However, the band believed “Vegetable Man”, with its autobiographical lyrics, was unsuitable for inclusion and so it was left off the album. The song was to appear on a single as the b-side to another unreleased track, “Scream Thy Last Scream”. Two additional Syd Barrett songs, “In The Beechwoods” and “No Title” were also recorded early in the sessions for the album.
An image of the Living Tribunal from Marvel Comics can be seen in the cover’s upper left corner. “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” is the only Pink Floyd song that features all five band members. Keyboardist Rick Wright sings lead or backing vocals on four of the album’s seven songs, making this the only Pink Floyd album where Wright’s vocal contributions outnumber those of the rest of the band.
Barrett’s decline and the emergence of progressive rock – Waters vs. Wright
Like The Piper at the Gates of Dawn before it, the album contains space rock and psychedelic pop songs. But unlike Piper, which was dominated by Syd Barrett’s compositions, A Saucerful of Secrets contains only one original Barrett song – the painfully poignant “Jugband Blues.” The song greatly contrasts with Barrett’s work on Piper, which was entirely whimsical and child-like. Instead, “Jugband Blues” is a deeply introspective song, containing lyrics which seem to be addressed to the band, when in reality they are directed at the whole world. The song’s style and structure would be repeated on Barrett’s solo albums – The Madcap Laughs (1970) and Barrett (1970).
With Barrett seemingly detached from proceedings, it came down to Roger Waters and Richard Wright to provide adequate material. The opening “Let There Be More Light” penned by Waters, continues the space rock approach established by Barrett, with its mesmeric opening bass line reminiscent of the material found on “Piper.” Both “Remember a Day” and “See-Saw” use the child-like approach that was established on their debut. Wright remains critical of his early contributions to the band.
“Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” (another Waters composition) is a space rock number which was first performed with Barrett in 1967. The success of the track was such that it remained in their live set-list until 1973 where it appeared in a greatly extended form. Waters later performed the track during solo concerts from 1984 – present. Waters borrowed the lyrics from a book of Chinese Poetry from the Tang Dynasty, like Barrett had used in “Chapter 24”. The poppy but important, “Corporal Clegg” is the first song by Waters to address issues of War and more crucially his father’s death; themes which would endure throughout his career with Pink Floyd and culminate in the 1983 album The Final Cut.
The album’s avante-garde title track, which is comparable in length to “Interstellar Overdrive,” provided a way forward for the band, and acted as a template for future progressive rock ventures. “A Saucerful of Secrets” remains as one of the band’s most avante garde compositions, and is the first to feature input from David Gilmour. Like “Set the Controls”, it became a regular live feature, and was eventually extended to around twenty minutes.
The album was released that June as both mono (SX 6258) and stereo (SCX 6258) LPs in the UK, where it reached #9 on the charts. It remains the only Floyd album to not chart at all in the US (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’s US version, entitled Pink Floyd, had lingered at the bottom of the US charts some months earlier). However, when reissued as A Nice Pair, with the original version of Piper after the success of The Dark Side of the Moon the album did chart at #39 on the Billboard Hot 200.
The CD stereo mix of the album was first released in 1987, and in 1992 was digitally remastered and reissued on CD as a part of the Shine On box-set. The remastered stereo CD was released on its own in 1994 in the UK, and then in April 1995 in the US. The mono mix version of the album has never been officially released on CD, although ROIO CD versions do exist.
“Let There Be More Light” (Roger Waters) ā€“ 5:38
Lead vocals: Rick Wright, David Gilmour, and Roger Waters
“Remember a Day” (Rick Wright) ā€“ 4:33
Lead vocals: Rick Wright
“Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” (Roger Waters) ā€“ 5:28
Lead vocals: Roger Waters
“Corporal Clegg” (Roger Waters) ā€“ 4:13
Lead vocals: David Gilmour and Nick Mason
“A Saucerful of Secrets” (Roger Waters/Rick Wright/David Gilmour/Nick Mason) ā€“ 11:57
“See-Saw” (Rick Wright) ā€“ 4:36
Lead vocals: Rick Wright
“Jugband Blues” (Syd Barrett) ā€“ 3:00
Lead vocals: Syd Barrett
“Remember a Day” (edit) / “Let There Be More Light” (edit) (19 August 1968, U.S. release only)
“It Would Be So Nice” / “Julia Dream” (19 April 1968, 7″ UK release)
“See Emily Play” / “The Scarecrow” (22 July 1968, U.S. re-release 7″)
“Point Me at the Sky” / “Careful with That Axe, Eugene” (6 December 1968, 7″ UK release)
“Was “Corporal Clegg” on Saucerful of Secrets a deliberate Hendrix-style sound that you were going for?”
“No, not really. I didn’t know what the hell I was trying to play at the time to be quite honest. I’d really no idea. What I was used to playing, the style I had, didn’t fit Pink Floyd at the time, and I didn’t really know quite what to do.” ā€“ David Gilmour, Sounds “Guitar Heroes” Magazine, May 1983
“It was really stressful waiting for Syd to come up with the songs for the second album. Everybody was looking at him, and he couldn’t do it. “Jugband Blues” is a really sad song, the portrait of a nervous breakdown. The last Floyd song Syd wrote, “Vegetable Man”, was done for those sessions, though it never came out.” ā€“ Peter Jenner
Roger Waters ā€“ bass guitar, lead vocals
David Gilmour ā€“ lead guitar, lead vocals (incorrectly spelled “Gilmore” on the album)
Rick Wright ā€“ piano, organ, mellotron, vibraphone, lead vocals
Nick Mason ā€“ drums, percussion, vocals
Syd Barrett ā€“ rhythm guitar, vocals
Norman Smith ā€“ drums and backing vocals on “Remember a Day”
8 members of the Salvation Army (The International Staff Band) – Ray Bowes (cornet), Terry Camsey (cornet), Mac Carter (trombone), Les Condon (Eā™ bass), Maurice Cooper (Euphonium), Ian Hankey (trombone), George Whittingham (Bā™ bass), and one other in “Jugband Blues”.
Year – Chart – Position
1968 – UK Albums Chart – 9
The above article is courtesy of Wikipedia.
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