"Some people say that we're a drug-orientated band. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. You can trust us!" (broad, stoned grin)

- David Gilmour, interview in Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii

Just how far David Gilmour's words could be trusted, at least in this instance, showed itself in Pink Floyd's second album, recorded and released in 1968 by EMI Records (LC 0542, CDP 7 46383 2, EMS 80318). To some, the departure of Syd Barrett appeared to be the band's doom. But they pulled themselves together by hiring Gilmour, the man who had taught Barrett to play a guitar in the first place.

The album rescued Pink Floyd from a premature end. This is another rare album which you can listen to all the way through. None of the seven tracks require hitting the "skip" button, a feat that Pink Floyd would not again achieve until Dark Side of the Moon:

  1. LET THERE BE MORE LIGHT
    Roger Waters, Lupus Music Co., Ltd.
  2. REMEMBER A DAY
    Richard Wright, Westminster Music, Ltd.
  3. SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN
    Roger Waters, Westminster Music, Ltd.
  4. CORPORAL CLEGG
    Roger Waters, Lupus Music Co., Ltd.
  5. A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS
    Waters/Wright/Mason/Gilmore
  6. SEE SAW
    Richard Wright, Lupus Music Co., Ltd.
  7. JUGBAND BLUES
    Syd Barrett, Westminster Music, Ltd.

Produced by Norman Smith


The title track to A Saucerful of Secrets is instrumental, for the most part. One assumes that it is supposed to evoke a "good" LSD trip (although I'm not going to go find out firsthand).

"A Saucerful of Secrets" starts out as a low rumble in the backgroud, perhaps oncoming thunder or an enemy bomber passing overhead (in acutality, Roger Waters beating a sheet of steel). Richard wright joins in on Hammond organ, and Waters switches to a gong. The organ accumulates until all sound abruptly ends. This is followed by Nick Mason and a twisted 4/4 syncopation, relentlessly beat over and over for 10 minutes. This mut be the most difficult drum perfomance in recorded music. Eventually, Waters and Gilmour overlay a collection of odd guitar pedaling, piano chords, and a guitar played with a bow. This also builds to a crescendo and abtuptly stops, followed by Waters on Hammond organ again, sounding like he's playing in a church hymn. Indeed, a choir joins in for the second sequence, singing "ahh" for 3 minutes. If you think of "The Great Gig in the Sky" it sounds somewhat less cheesy than that. Perhaps this track is one that a few people would have to hit "skip" for, but it somehow all fits together musically, although one has to wonder if Nick Mason was able to let go of his drumsticks afterward.

A live recording of "A Saucerful of Secrets" also appears on Pink Floyd's 1969 double album Ummagumma (CDS 7 46404 8).

A remarkable performance of "A Saucerful of Secrets" appears in the middle of the convert film Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii. We have a 360-degree view of the performance, as it is provided by a camera that circles around an through the equipment in Pompeii's ampitheatre on a little track. At the end, instead of a chorus, it is David Gilmour alone who sings the denouement, reminding us that he could sing well at one time.

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