Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd

Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd:

Pink Floyd followed the commercial breakthrough of Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You Were Here, a loose concept album about and dedicated to their founding member Syd Barrett. Everything is about Syd, even the title of the album. Once noted as keyboardist Richard Wright’s favorite Pink Floyd album, this body of work demonstrates and highlights the band's musical skill over the often noted Roger Waters lyrical skill. Sharing musical writing duties, (the hidden strength of the group) is evident all over this album. With contributions from Waters, Gilmour, and Wright. The record unfolds gradually, as the jazzy textures of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" reveal its melodic motif, and in its leisurely pace, the album shows itself to be a warmer record than its predecessor. Musically, it's arguably even more impressive, showcasing the group's interplay and David Gilmour's solos in particular.

Although it only contains five songs, it will take you on an amazing and haunting ride. WYWH contains more than tribute songs to former band member, Pink Floyd's founder Syd Barrett, when you stop listening to this album you are left with serenity surrounding you. You feel good. Shine on you crazy Diamond is two part "gem" of this album. The song is a true sonic adventure that always seems to put me into a complete relaxed mood. Especially haunting is "Welcome to the machine" a brilliant song that really makes Roger's feelings about Syd Barrett clear. More than anything, Wish You Were Here is a progression, a slow and labored rise from a dim electronic hum to an epic, symphonic blast of impassioned rock music. It, like most Floyd albums, is not a collection of songs but a single work, and to look at it as anything else would be to completely miss out on what Pink Floyd was trying to do in the first place. All in all, WYW is a beautiful, symphonic listening experience, on par with Dark Side of the Moon and Wall.

Think of the saxophone at the end of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond pt. 1." It sounds beautiful, alive, tuneful, lilting, free, a bird perched on a mile-high gust of wind. And suddenly, behind it, there is the deep, ominous, downright horrific hum that signals the beginning of "Welcome to the Machine," and suddenly, the sax sounds weak and pitiful against it, and slowly fades away into the distance, and all you're left with is that hum, and "Welcome to the Machine" begins, in all its cynical, deep seated, and world-weary glory. "Welcome to the Machine" Is a song about growing up, how the world can destroy your youthful ideals, take your big dreams and shatter them. Or, it could be interpreted as a song about former bandleader Syd Barrett's descent into madness. That's the great thing about Floyd's lyrics, deep seated double meanings, the fractured view it creates.

"Have A Cigar" is a grimly funny song about a smooth-talking record producer, with that immortal line: "And by the way, which one's Pink?" The title track is a sweet ballad of regret, a story of one man's loneliness after the loss of a dear friend. It also happens to be my favorite track on the album, so rich and textured, with a beautiful acoustic guitar and Roger Waters' best lyrics ("We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year.")

These three tracks are bookended by the album's two epics, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" parts 1 and 2. These are, by any stretch of imagination, some of the best work that Pink Floyd has ever done. Part 1 starts of slow and tuneful, with some excellent guitar work on David Gilmour's part. Its first eight minutes are a haunting instrumental, with echoey guitars, crashing symbols, and a slow, rhythmic bass line. The after the instrumental portion, Waters begins to sing, a sad, mournful tribute to Syd Barrett (The entire concept of Wish You Were Here is that it is a tribute to Barrett). Part 2 is faster, with a more rock edge, but closely resembles its predecessor. It has a darker edge to it, but still retains a kind of beauty. Stunningly beautiful, haunting, mesmerizing. Almost achingly touching.

Track Listing:

1. Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 1-5
2. Welcome to the Machine
3. Have a Cigar
4. Wish You Were Here
5. Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 6-9

Pink Floyd:
Roger Waters
David Gilmour
Richard Wright
Nick Mason

SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND, part one & two (part1-9)
Pink Floyd 1975

Lyrics: Waters

Music: Part 1: Wright, Waters, Gilmour (Part two:)
Part 2: Gilmour, Wright, Waters
Part 3: Waters, Gilmour, Wright
Part 4: Gilmour, Wright, Waters
Part 5: Waters, Gilmour, Wright
Part 6: Wright, Waters, Gilmour
Part 7: Waters, Gilmour, Wright
Part 8: Gilmour, Wright, Waters
Part 9: Wright

Vocals by: Waters

Pink Floyd 1975

Lyrics/Music: Waters
Vocals by: Waters, Gilmour

Pink Floyd 1975

Lyrics/Music: Waters
Vocals by: Roy Harper
Pink Floyd 1975

Lyrics: Waters
Music: Waters, Gilmour
Vocals by: Gilmour

Dick Parry: Saxophone on Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Roy Harper: vocal on Have A Cigar
Stephane Grappely: violin
Venetta Fields and Carlena Williams: backing vocals

Recorded in Abbey Road Studios, between January 6 to July 19, 1975
Produced by Pink Floyd
Engineered by Brian Humphries
Assisted by Peter James

Thanks to Bernie Caulder and Phil Taylor

Sleeve design and photography by Hipgnosis
Assisted by Peter Christopherson, Jeff Smith, Howard Bartrop and Richard Manning
Graphics by George Hardie, N.T.A.

LP: Harvest SHVL 814
Quadraphonic version: Harvest Q4 SHVL 814
Picture Disc: Harvest SHVLP 814
LP: EMI 8 29750 2
CD: EMI CDP 7 46035 2
1997 US remaster: Columbia CK68522



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