For those of you with vast disposable incomes – or with generous loved ones who like to splash out at Christmas – the ultimate collection of pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd rarities, obscurities and collectables has just been announced. You won’t be looking at much change from £400, should you snap this up, but it certainly seems worth it.
The Early Years 1965 – 72 is released on November 11th, and consists of a whopping 27 discs – with seven hours of unreleased audio (twelve and a half hours of audio in total) and fifteen and a half hours of rare video material, including the feature films More, La Vallee and The Committee. There are 20 unreleased songs, vinyl seven inch singles, memorabilia and assorted other goodies to tempt you in this painfully luxurious collection.
It’s a six volume collection, split into time periods.
1965-1967 CAMBRIDGE ST/ATION covers Syd Barrett’s time with the band, from the pre-EMI demos, through the non-album hit singles and related tracks, as well as previously (officially) unreleased tracks like Vegetable Man and In The Beechwoods, and BBC session recordings. There’s also an unreleased 1967 Stockholm concert. The DVD/Blu-ray includes rare TV performances and film footage.
1968 GERMIN/ATION explores the time immediately after Syd Barrett’s departure. There are single releases like Point Me At The Sky, plus a recently discovered session at Capitol Records studios in Los Angeles, BBC sessions and other tracks. The DVD/Blu-ray includes the recently restored promo clip of Point Me At The Sky, some international TV performances and assorted TV appearances.
1969 DRAMATIS/ATION seems one of the most interesting sets – that year, the band unveiled a two part conceptual live production of The Man and The Journey, covering a 24-hour period of dreaming, waking and other activities. Never released in that form, some of the songs were later used on the More soundtrack and the Ummagumma album. This volume refers back to The Man and The Journey tour with live performances in Amsterdam and for the BBC in London, and also includes the bonus tracks from More that were used in the film but not on record, plus non-album tracks like the early version of Embryo from the Harvest sampler Picnic. Video material includes 20 minutes of The Man/The Journey rehearsal at the Royal Festival Hall, directed by Anthony Stern, plus other live performance footage from that year.
1970 DEVI/ATION Never released on one disc, this volume compiles complete remixed and updated versions of the Zabriskie Point soundtrack material. Also included is the first live Atom Heart Mother performance for the BBC, featuring an orchestra and choir, as well as the original Quad mix. Video material includes Pink Floyd performing live at San Francisco cable TV station KQED plus extracts from historic performances of Atom Heart Mother.
1971 REVERBER/ATION This package includes part of the original Meddle demos, as well as a contemporary BBC session recording and the original unreleased Quad mix of Echoes. Video includes live band performances in 1971, including songs performed with Roland Petit and his Marseille ballet company.
1972 OBFUSC/ATION The video material here includes the performances from Live At Pompeii, edited to new 5.1 audio mixes, plus material from contemporary French TV as well as performances from Brighton Dome in June 1972 and more with the Roland Petit ballet company.
BONUS CONTINU/ATION This bonus CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc package includes a CD of early BBC radio sessions, the audio tracks from the film The Committee, Pink Floyd’s live soundtrack to the 1969 NASA moon landings, and more. Audio-visual material includes the feature films: The Committee, More and La Vallée (Obscured By Clouds), plus more live footage and festival performances by the band.
Fans not flush enough to buy this in one chunk can pick up each volume individually from early 2017 – but if you want the bonus set (and let’s face it, of course you do – look at the contents!), then you’ll have to buy the full box set, as it is exclusive to that edition. Damn.
And the more financially challenged / less completist fans can also pick up a 2 x CD ‘highlights’ compilation, though you’ll always be aware that you are missing out on the good stuff.
As big fans of (almost) everything the Floyd did, we would love to dig through this set. The chances of us actually reviewing it are – let’s be honest here – slim. But we look forward to feedback on the contents from those collectors more financially loose than us. And don’t forget – there is still the possibility – probability, even – of a second collection covering the later years to come…