A Saucerful Of Tears

Five guys, one bike.

Pink Floyd’s sophomore effort could very well be the worst of all time. Syd Barrett, their guiding light, and principal songwriter, became the goose that laid the golden eggs, and infamously flamed out, leaving them at the apex and in the middle of recording. I don’t think it was just acid, or insanity. I think forming a band was fun, but it suddenly becoming a vocation, and pop stardom stopped being so. He really wanted to be a painter, and he was a pretty good one from what I’ve seen.

Anyway the rest of the band found themselves in quite the pickle with an album begun and no songs. The title track can only be described as a composition, as it’s not a song or even music,really, except for the last section by Richard Wright, which I’ve used as a long intro to “See Saw”. My band, The Smoove Sailors write more interesting “jams” every week than the title tune.

I’ve been thinking about fixing A Saucerful Of Secrets for a long time. It was the unlistenable half of A Nice Pair, and just as bad as Ummagumma (The best part of which is the picture of all the gear on the back). A Saucerful of Tears is almost long enough to be a double album. Like if the White album lost “Revolution 9” and “Goodnight”, which I would never miss.

It’s the most democratic Floyd album as it features at least four songwriters and five singers.

I’ve compiled all the Syd Barrett songs recorded after their debut, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, including the still unreleased “Vegetable Man”, and “Scream Thy Last Scream”, plus a couple singles with David Gilmour from the same period, but not on the album.

“Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” is not my favorite, but is the only one involving all five members. “A Jolly Bunch of Pop Tunes” Syd might say.

I think it plays rather well, and because it’s all from the same period, could have been released this way. Enjoy!

Rehearsing for “The Wall”

 

A Saucerful Of Tears

7 thoughts on “A Saucerful Of Tears

  1. Nice work! I sold those albums years ago when I was young and dumb and thought that you couldn’t be a punk with records like them on your shelves. PS, your article “Jimmy Plagarist” is a classic.

  2. I remember being young and dumb and selling records like that. At some point I decided trying to be cool was a waste of time, and being real was cooler. A big tent is braver.

    And thanks for the kind words re: Jimmy. His recent “autobiography” is all pictures. He can’t tell his story without sounding like a douche. And it’s too bad, because it’s not his playing or ear I object to.

  3. I’ve only just found your site but I feel I have to comment. I am astonished to discover that anyone thinks SFOS is a bad album! Your tone even suggests that this is a commonly held view – unbelievable!

    I bought it the day it came out and thought it was the best thing ever. I still love it to this day, especially the title track. I can’t say I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the album with other people over the years, but I honestly can’t remember anybody saying anything bad about it.

    Naturally, I accept that you are entitled to your own opinion, however indefensible and wrong-headed.

    Cheers!
    PS I’m a Londoner and saw PF with Syd a couple of times in small clubs in 66-67. Amazing/confusing/paradigm-shifting. I wish they had done a live album.

  4. It’s entirely my opinion, and I’ve never seen this argument raised anywhere else. Congrats to you seeing the actual artifact on stage. Your four word (two hyphenated) description is terrific.
    I’ve spent a lot of time with SFOS. “Jugband Blues” is one of Syd’s finest moments. The actual songs are pretty good in general. I have a low tolerance for noodling, and that aspect of PF prior tom DSOM is not my favorite. My premise is that SFOS has a lot of filler created under pressure, meanwhile songs like “It Would Be So Nice” were released as singles.
    I assembled the album “Saucer Full Of Tears”, as an exercise in “what if?” Syd had remained viable as a member, at least through the conclusion of the album (before going solo), coexisted with Gilmour as a five piece, and all the extant and unreleased singles were included. All five members have lead vocals, and the songwriting is quite democratic. It’s like PF’s version of “The White Album”.
    Anyway, you are obviously a fan, so I encourage you to download the file and try my alternative version, and have fun with it. It’s a solid playlist of 1967-8 PF.

  5. Hi bbj. I totally respect your “what if” and the outcome is a great album!

    Cheers
    Stuart

  6. Although he is not credited, and not generally acknowledged, I’m sure Syd plays on “Corporal Clegg”. He only appears during the first verse. There are some “Apples And Oranges” guitar sounds only Syd would make. Likely he didn’t/couldn’t complete the track.

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