Recently, Colin H tried to upload some Pink Floyd BBC session tapes he acquired (I know not how), but fell foul of the technical jiggery pokery needed. So I offered to help out (or rather, he asked for a volunteer and no-one else offered).
Anyway, here they are! If I’ve done this right, there should be a link here which will allow you to download them. Thanks to Colin for doing all the hard work in copying these to CD in the first place!
The bad news first. The recording of Apples and Oranges is NOT a long lost session recording. I could tell straight away the quality and balance was that bit better than yer average sixties BBC session, and comparing it to the single recording confirms it. Yes, it’s just a straight copy of the single version. I’ve no idea why this would have been stored on tape, but there you go.
Listening to these reminds my of how embryonic and frankly amateurish the early Floyd were. Syd really couldn’t play the guitar for toffee, could he? (There’s a point on these tapes where the guitar suddenly sounds better, and then I realise that’s where Dave Gilmour replaces Syd). They always seemed to be striving for something beyond what they could achieve. I think it was only post-Syd, Ummagumma-era, that they started to really come into their own.
Don’t get me wrong. I love them dearly. I think they were an important part of 1967 and I would have loved to have been there. (Most of the attraction was probably the novelty of the live theatricals). But, save for a few outstanding works (Interstellar Overdrive, Bike, Arnold Layne, Opel…) Syd’s muse was infuriatingly wayward. (On these live recordings in particular, the sense of relief is almost palpable when he finishes a verse and the band can relax into some one-chord cosmic jamming for a few minutes).
The worst offender has got to be the opening track here. A little song about a little gnome called Grimble Gromble. One listen would be enough to make you denounce English psychedelia forever. But stick it out – Jugband Blues (with kazoos replacing the brass band of the LP version) and A Saucerful of Secrets remind you of the majesty of the Floyd at their best.
(All Top Gear sessions)
— 1 October 1967 —
(1) The Gnome
(2) * missing * (Colin, this was a blank track on the CD! Matilda Mother)
— 5 November 1967 —
(4) Apples & Oranges (just a copy of the single recording, I’m afraid)
— 31 December 1967 —
(5) Pow R Toc H
(6) Scream Thy Last Scream
(7) Jugband Blues
— 11 June 1968 —
(8) Let There Be More Light
(9) A Saucerful of Secrets