Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Alternative Ummagumma

I’ve been obsessively listening to Pink Floyd these past few days, prompted I suspect by the colossal Floyd boxset released earlier this week. Needless to say I could never afford such an luxury (and besides, the underwhelming packaging has nixed any such extravagant notions), so I’m making do with my modest collection of CDs. Speaking of CDs (and formats), last week I ripped my Ummagumma CD to mp3 and re-sequenced the entire double album to follow the 1971 8-Track Cartridge track-listing, which dispenses with the Live and Studio sides, and mixes the solo contributions with the songs recorded at Birmingham & Manchester - so Rick Wright’s "Sysyphus" flows into "Astronomy Domine" which is followed by Roger Waters’ Grantchester Meadows and so on. This is not so much a fan-edit on my part, more like an alternative Ummagumma experience and I find myself enjoying the album as a complete work – in the past I’ve been guilty of neglecting the Studio side, apart from "Grantchester Meadows" and Dave Gilmour’s "The Narrow Way" (which is one of the best things on any Floyd record), all too often skipping over the brooding and austere Sysyphus and Nick Mason’s treated drum track "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party". The jury remains out (for several years now) on "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict", which I tend to lump in with Meddle’s "Seamus" as one of those Pink Floyd duck eggs, although with repeated listening to it these last few days, I’ve come to re-evaluate it as a sort of proto-Nurse With Wound piece. And interestingly, the bawling Scottish burr heard on the track is performed by Ron Geesin, who appears on the Nurse With Wound List…



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