Album of the Day: Pink Floyd (6/29/68)

Pink Floyd’s second outing, A Saucerful Of Secrets was one of the top psychedelic albums of the 60s. Released on June 29, 1968, it began the transition from the shorter, more concise psych-pop songs written by co-founder Syd Barrett on their debut album (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, August 1967) to the deeper, lengthier and stylistically progressive explorations of their next five LPs.

A Saucerful… also marked the end for Barrett as a member, chief songwriter, lead guitarist and de facto leader of the band. Barrett’s mental affairs were unraveling rapidly in late 1967, smack in the early stages of the recording sessions at EMI Studios on Abbey Road in London. In January 1968, David Gilmour was recruited to provide stability at lead guitar as Barrett faded away. Syd was out forever in March and his only written credit on A Saucerful… was the trippy, upbeat “Jugband Blues.” Taking control of the proceedings and the band’s direction, Roger Waters and Richard Wright (with obvious support from Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason), delivered lighter pop-psychedelic classics (“See Saw” and “Remember A Day” are baroque-poppers with a pastoral bend) and contrasting longer space-psych forays in “Let There Be More Light,” the title track and “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” (widely considered the aboriginal space-rock track).

With A Saucerful… Pink Floyd began the progressive art-rock voyage that would culminate in the massive hit album, The Dark Side Of The Moon in 1973. Casual Floyd fans, especially those who caught the bug with Dark Side, are advised to give an ear to A Saucerful Of Secrets. It’s a true gem and you’ll find it as a CD and mp3 tracks on Amazon and as iPod tracks on iTunes. My take on Pink Floyd’s Top 25 is in the Playlist Vault.

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