Artist: Pink Floyd
Album: The Early Years, 1967-1972, Cre/ation
Release Date: 11/11/2016
Culled from a massive 27 disc box set, the two CD The Early Years 1967—1972 culls the best of Pink Floyd’s formative years, combining early hots “Arnold Layne,” “See Emily Play” and other songs of a vintage extract along with rarities, various radio sessions, singles, B sides, remixes and live recordings. It’s all psychedelic progression that comes to the fore in seminal standouts such as “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” “Interstellar Overdrive” “Point Me At the Sky” and “Embryo” as well as outtakes from their contributions to the film “Zabriskie Point” and concert recordings featuring songs from their early opuses Meddle, Ummaguma and Atom Heart Mother.
All this was done prior to the band’s big breakthrough with the mega-selling The Dark Side of the Moon, well before they became a proven commercial entity capable of delivering million-selling albums and being able to command the stadium circuit. It also marked the transition from the acid-strewn meanderings of former frontman, Syd Barrett, to the surefooted stability of David Gilmour. While much of the early material brings to mind the more eclectic meanderings of Sgt. Pepper era Beatles, mellower fare like “Cymbaline,” “Green Is the Colour” and “Grantchester Meadows, both culled from BBC sessions circa 1969, foretell the ethereal drift of The Dark Side of the Moon and the albums that would follow.
While Floyd fanatics might clamour for the entire box set with its booklet, DVDs and the like, most might find the cost prohibitive, making this compact set the essential acquisition. That’s a financial decision, of course, but regardless, The Early Years offers a taste of what Floyd aficionados hanker for the most, that is, full Floyd finesse with all the majesty and mystique that made them one of British rock’s most innovative ensembles. Set the controls for the heart of the sun and strap yourself in. For all its cosmic cacophony, this is one remarkable ride.