John Eric Cavanagh writes and presents Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn, a unique reflection on the formation and subsequent success of the legendary rock band, whose intense impact on the modern music world can't possibly be overstated.
Cavanagh draws on his own perception of the band as well as extensive interviews with friends and contemporaries to paint a rich portrait of Pink Floyd's aims and accomplishments. Cavanagh's rich accent and authoritative narration, in balance with an accessible conversational tone, all combine to create a thoroughly enjoyable and genuinely immersive listening experience not only for hardcore Pink Floyd fans, but for anyone interested in the history of rock and roll.
©2003 John Cavanagh; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
This account gives a lot of info on the band circa '67 as background to the songs and making of the album, which was new to me. It's packed with interesting details about the conditions that shaped the album. It also corrects a few misconceptions put about in recent years re: Syd. It's best at giving a picture of the living conditions he wrote, performed and recorded in and the band's early time in London.
Indeed, the album as a band creation is brought out well. Though, as the chief songwriter, Syd obviously dominated the final creative product, often accounts give the impression that this is really a Syd Barrett album supported by the Pink Floyd. Here the end result is shown to very much be a group effort --so that's a good re-balanced perspective brought to bear.
The book is not so good at talking about Syd's individual response to acid and how different the band's take on psych was as a result. Though obviously Syd's acid use is addressed (how could it not be), my impression is that the author was seemingly disinterested in playing that up for some reason. Maybe he thought it had been done to death. Whatever, he plays down the acid casualty aspect and talking about the characteristics of LSD25 and it's influence on the music --as if it was obvious and a hackneyed topic. Doing such a thing well is difficult of course but failure to do so in this case is to miss addressing the nitty gritty central issue: the album as a manifestation of psychedelic consciousness. It's not enough to just talk about style and cultural context. Consequently no really meaningful comparison with other forms of contemporaneous psychedelic music emerges. I would say that's a disappointment. But basically, as a pretty detailed stab at the band's early history, this a good one.
Not a definitive in-depth account then, but most definitely a worthwhile and welcome take on this enduringly fabulous album.
"Pink Floyd Fan's Delight."
I love all the quotes from people around that time describing swinging London, the Floyd and the Syd they knew pre-acid. Goes through most of the songs in some detail both in how they were recorded and lyrically what they were about. A lot of great background on each member of the band (except for maybe Gilmour who didn't come in until after this album). A great great background to the very beginnings of the Pink Floyd and while they were VERY different back then, how you can still see the impetus for what they were to become. Cavanagh, btw, did a fine job narrating the book.
My only caveat would be... that if this may not be as interesting to someone who is not already a Pink Floyd fan. But for me (an avid fan), it was fabulous!
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