179 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Floyd
1967's "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is the one that started it all for Pink Floyd, back in the early days when bassist Roger Waters, keyboardist Richard Wright & drummer Nick Mason were led by the genius, but doomed singer/guitarist Syd Barrett. Psychedelic rock doesn't get much more trippier than "Piper," a totally far-out collection of avant-garde space rock, songs...
Published on June 30, 2004 by Alan Caylow
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179 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Floyd,
1967's "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is the one that started it all for Pink Floyd, back in the early days when bassist Roger Waters, keyboardist Richard Wright & drummer Nick Mason were led by the genius, but doomed singer/guitarist Syd Barrett. Psychedelic rock doesn't get much more trippier than "Piper," a totally far-out collection of avant-garde space rock, songs about gnomes and scarecrows, off-the-wall production and sound effects, and superb performances by a tight British art-rock band that were destined to become rock legends. Although he made one last "cameo" appearance with the Floyd on their second album, "A Saucerful Of Secrets" with that album's closing number, "Jugband Blues," the lion's share of Syd Barrett's legacy with the band is all contained right here on "Piper," barring a few early singles. Writing all but one song, and, with a charismatic singing voice and incredible guitar-playing skills, Barrett was truly a musical genius, and his equally-talented bandmates match him song for song. Every track on the album is a highlight in it's own right, but certainly worth mentioning are such tracks as the opening space rock of "Astronomy Domine," the before-there-was-alternative alternative rock of "Lucifer Sam," the far-out instrumentals "Pow R Toc H" and "Interstellar Overdrive," the frenetic rock of "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" (written & sung by Waters, in his debut composition for the band), the charming tale of "The Gnome," and the classic, half children's song/half freak-out finale, "Bike," which starts out cheerily enough before giving way to some deliciously wacko noises and sound effects.Sadly, and tragically, shortly after the release of "Piper," Syd Barrett's experimentations with psychedelic drugs ultimately destroyed him, and he was finally ousted from the band. Roger Waters more-or-less took over as the group's leader, and Barrett's vacated slot was filled by guitarist David Gilmour. Barrett, despite his drug-addicted state, would record a pair of solo albums before dropping out of the music business altogether. Not well enough to look after himself, he quietly lived in the care of family members until his death in 2006. Pink Floyd, meanwhile, would go on to major superstardom and sell millions of albums, with such classics as "Dark Side Of The Moon," "Wish You Were Here," "Animals" and "The Wall." But "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" was the band's very first chapter, and one that would not have been possible without the great Syd Barrett. "Piper" is outstanding psychedelic rock, and a Pink Floyd classic. And thank you, Syd, wherever you are.
55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ACROSS THE STREAM WITH WOODEN SHOES ...,
Wondering and dreaming, the words have different meanings, Yes, they did ... (Matilda Mother). This album is so full of charm, wit, creativity and artistry that it might as well be called "Syd At The Gates Of Dawn": "There was a king , Who Ruled the land, His majesty, was in command, With silver eyes, The scarlet eagle, Showered silver on the people ..." (Matilda Mother again).
He is the Pied Piper here, leading the way through lime and limpid green: "Floating down, the sound resounds, around the icy waters underground, Jupiter and Saturn Oberon Miranda and Titania Neptune Titan - Stars can frighten" (Astronomy Domine). And through spacey, but playful musings: "You're the left side, He's the right side, Oh no! Somewhere, Anywhere, Always by your side" (Lucifer Sam, about a cat, that could describe the shifting waves of Interstellar Overdrive, my favorite on here probably). The soundscape brought together here (forming a unique, far-out conceptual universe) is energetic and adventurous pandemonium!
Even the song by Waters on here, Take Up Thy Stethescope & Walk, is funny and WATERS down the boyish wonder and beauty gazing with a familiar dose of gloom: "gold is lead, choke on bread, underfed, Jesus bled ... Gruel ghoul greasy spoon, used spoon, dark doom" (he's just getting started, looking back. Don't get me wrong, I admire all of his later work, he took the band to great places, as did the other members).
Change return success! Thousands of journeys began with a single step. Thank you Syd and the band, this is a whimsical and trippy delight! I have always been fascinated by the quirky poetry and unusual melodies Syd's songs contain, and his guitar playing was fantastic.
"[Syd's] got a Bike, you can ride it if you like ... and a clan of gingerbread men, take a couple if you wish, they're on the dish" (Bike). "Look at the sky, Look at the river, isn't it good? Winding, Finding places to go ..." (The Gnome). "Streaming through the starlit skies ... Hey ho here we go, ever so high, Alone in the clouds all blue, lying on an eiderdown, yippee! You can't see me, but I can see you" (Flaming). Here is a visionary you WANT to follow! That cat's something I can't explain (Lucifer Sam). This is certainly one of the most influential (psychedelic) albums of all time. Enjoy!
"Across the stream with wooden shoes,
Bells to tell the King the news
A thousand misty riders
Climb up Higher, ONCE UPON A TIME"
PEACE! We love you and wish you well Syd ... may your wooden shoes carry you to better lands that you could always so easily see.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Syd Barrett's Masterpiece,THE classic Psychedelic Album!,
This review is from: Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Audio CD)
This probably the 2nd most amazing and original psychedelic album ever released. The FIRST most amazing and original psychedelic album is the much better monoaural mix of the same album, as mixed by the band, and released only in Great Britain, in 1967, and briefly re-released on CD as a European Import only, back in 1997. But, since you probably can't find that one, please do make do with this one, which is also blessed with *all* the original artwork, which has never seen the light of day before as a CD reissue. This version of the LP *is* the original stereo mix by Norman(Hurricane)Smith, who you may remember as George Martin's assistant producer on Beatles LP's like "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver". Yes, it costs a bit more than the domestic release of the same CD, BUT it is an authentic miniature of the original stereo release. In fact, my only criticism, and the only thing that keeps me from giving a wholehearted five-star endorsement, is that they didn't include the several very different monoaural recording versions on the original mono mix of the LP, you see, three or four cuts really *are* significantly different, and could have easily been tacked on the end of the disc as bonus tracks!
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You might want to wait if you haven't bought this already...,
A new 40th Anniversary Edition of this CD has just been announced, a 3 CD Box Set!
Tuesday 5th June: Floyd Lays Plans For Piper
To mark the 40th anniversary of the original release of Pink Floyd's first
album 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn', a special edition is planned for
release via EMI Records on Tues 28th August in North America, and Monday
September 3rd in Europe.
The packaging, designed by Storm Thorgerson, resembles a cloth-covered book, and holds 3 CD discs, along with a 12-page reproduction Syd Barrett notebook.
Discs 1 and 2 will contain the full 'Piper' album, represented in both
stereo and mono versions. Both have been newly remastered by James Guthrie.
Disc 3 includes bonus tracks, including the following: all the Pink Floyd singles from 1967, ('Arnold Layne', 'See Emily Play', and 'Apples And Oranges'), plus the B sides 'Candy And A Current Bun' and 'Paintbox'. Other tracks are a version of 'Interstellar Overdrive' - Take 2 of the original recording sessions, previously only available on an EP in France - and the 1967 stereo version of 'Apples And Oranges'.
Other activities surrounding the 40th anniversary celebrations will be
announced in due course.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Piper At The Gates Of The Dawn Of Pink Floyd.,
In 1967, two albums changed the face of rock forever. Both psychedelic records, one of them of course was The Beatles', Sgt Pepper, and the other was Pink Floyd's debut, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Though they both were the highpoints of the psychedelic era, they differed as much as night and day as far as their content. A far more underground and avant-garde album "Piper" was also considerably more dark and bizarre than Sgt Pepper. More whimsical and ultimately more druggy, "Piper" rocked harder and was enticed more by classical and jazz influences. In fact it was one of the official starting points for the Progressive rock genre.
Then frontman Syd Barret, who as of July 7, 2006 is no longer with us, pioneered avant-garde techniques on the electric guitar which included massive distortion and reverb and other tricks such as sliding steel balls up and down the strings. Keyboardist Rick Wright was also a major factor in the line up; producing eerie keyboard licks and out of this world texures with his instrument. The songwriting was vastly different from latter day Pink Floyd. Most of the songs had a very noticeable British whimsical flavor to them. Many of the songs were pure nonsense stories about space travel, fairy tale creatures, as well as everyday things processed through the machine of an LSD trip. There's Progressive Pop/Rock such as "Astronomy Domine", psychedelic folk such as "The Gnome", and intrumental freak-out jams such as the infamous "Interstellar overdrive" which goes on for nine minutes with the band members making every possible noise with their instruments.
Syd Barret wrote or at least co-wrote almost every composition here. Bassist Roger Waters wrote one song but it's in the same league as the Barret songs. After the album was released Barret, through a combination of mental illness and heavy LSD use broke down and was forced to leave the band. He released two solo albums before withdrawing from the world altogether. Spending decades in recluse he eventually died of a diabetes illness in 2006, just a couple days before this review was written. After he had left the group, David Gilmour, a really good but more traditional guitarist, entered the line up. Many of Pink Floyd's later albums such as, Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here, explicitly reference mental illness. Many sources in fact explain that, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, were complete tributes To Barret.
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, was a turning point in rock-n-roll just as much as Sgt. Pepper was. It allowed the classical and jazz influences as well as the extended lengh compositions of Progressive Rock to florish in the next decade. Though psychedelic rock died, its memories and, of course, its music did not. Albums like this proved once and for all that rock was an art form and not just juvenile noise.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mono mix is the only way to truly hear this album,
This may seem like a strange statement to those not in the know, but any record nerd out there who knows what I'm talking about knows exactly what I mean. In most cases the difference between mono and stereo is not too significant, and stereo is obviously superior. The thing to understand about this album and others released around '67-'68 (i.e. Sgt. Pepper) is that two separate mixdowns were made from the original master tapes. ie. THERE ARE TWO VERSIONS OF THIS ALBUM. Because mono was still a more popular sound format, there was a tendency to spend more time and care on the mono. This is true for albums such as Sgt. Pepper which any audiophile geek will tell you sounds superior in mono, and beleive me it does. However, in the case of that and other albums the difference is not so overwhelmingly significant. But the difference between the stereo and mono mix of Piper is like night and day, and the stereo mix is a bastardized, botch job mix of this album. Unfortunately any CD version of an older album is going to be the stereo mix, leaving future generations the misfortune of never properly hearing this album. When I first heard about the mono mix of this album, it was some mythical thing worth so much money that I thought I would never hear it. But in 1997, due to the demand there was a 30th anniversary reissue of the mono mix of Piper released on CD and LP. Amazon has this CD listed, it's the limited edition re-issue with the weird green cover. Unfortunately, it's out of stock on amazon, but I occasionally see it on ebay for not too much money. Seriously, I would strongly encourage any fan of this record or Pink Floyd or Syd Barrett to get a copy of the mono mix of this album ASAP. When people first gave me this advice, I was like, come on, it can't be that big of a deal. Trust me, it is. The brilliance of this album was lost in the stereo mix. I'm talking full instrumentation, soundscapes, all gone. Once you hear the mono mix you will understand that this album truly is one of the greatest albums of this era. I'm a big Pink Floyd fan and personally I prefer their earlier work, though anything through The Final Cut is worthwhile music. Meddle was always my favorite Pink Floyd album, that is until I heard the mono mix of Piper. It stands as my favorite Pink Floyd album, hands down. If you love this band or this album, please please please get the mono mix, it breaks my heart to see it forgotten.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caution: CD may blow your mind,
By A Customer
I don't necessarily like writing long, lengthy reviews, so I'll try to keep the review medium length...
Don't buy this CD if you're expecting the Floyd sound and material from their seventies heyday. Buy this album if you want to listen to some excellent, trippy, spacey psychedelic music at its very best. For one thing, this isn't the classic lineup of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason, with Waters at the helm of such timeless albums as The Wall and Wish You Were Here. This is the ORIGINAL lineup of Syd Barrett, Waters, Wright, and Mason, with lead guitarist, songwriter, and singer Barrett at the controls, and it proves to be one of their best albums (I think it is actually THE best.)
The one major factor which makes this album so great is that the songs are simply amazing. I don't mean that in a real technical way (as in super fast guitar playing and Keith Moon style drumming,) but the fact that this CD really will blow your mind if listened to properly (the real effect comes only if you're stoned, but for a nice substitute, put it on the stereo, turn out the lights and kick back and close your eyes.)
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn combines a nice mix of longer, spacey songs (Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine, Pow R. Toc H., etc.) with short, extremely catchy pop songs (The Gnome, Lucifer Sam, Bike, Scarecrow, and pretty much the rest) for a pleasant, out of this world listening experience.
If you're new to Floyd, I recommend you pick this album up first, for it is much better than the seventies stuff (don't get me wrong, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall are all EXCELLENT albums, and I own each one of them, but this still beats them.) If you've already got their material when they peaked, perhaps you should download a few MP3's before purchasing right away. If you like one song, you're pretty much guaranteed to like the rest.
To sum, pick up this psychedelic classic for a guaranteed out of your mind experience. You won't be disappointed that you paid $13.00 for it... in fact, you'll probably listen to it over and over again.
Most importantly, Syd IS Floyd!
Rock on, brothers and sisters!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Entry into Early Pink Floyd, and Pink Floyd's First Album,
Piper at the Gates of Dawn is Pink Floyd's first album and in combination with Relics is probably the best way for a listener to introduce him or herself to pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd.
If you are one of these people, it is important to note that Piper at the Gates of Dawn represents the pre-David Gilmour and Roger Waters led Pink Floyd. This is the Pink Floyd of Syd Barrett, and can seem quite a bit different from the later Pink Floyd releases that Roger Waters led.
Piper at the Gates of Dawn is probably the definitive psychedelic rock album of the 1960's. The song writing is excellent and the musicianship is fantastic. The songs Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive are probably two of Pink Floyd's best ever. Astronomy Domine has even made appearances in some of the most recent Pink Floyd and David Gilmour concerts (and David Gilmour wasn't even in Pink Floyd when the album came out). On the whole, the album really holds up well and shows that with Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd would probably still have had a fantastic, albeit different career. Of course, with psychedelic music, one has to wonder about consistency, and this is probably the most consistent of the early Pink Floyd. That and perhaps Relics (which is a compilation package) really make these the logical entry point into the world of Pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb remaster of Pink Floyd's debut, still sounds ahead of its time nearly 45 years on,
This review is from: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Audio CD)
In August of 1967, English rockers Pink Floyd released their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in the UK and a month later in the US as The Pink Floyd.
This was the first introduction to a band that would conquer the world in a few years time. The band consisted of bass player/singer Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason (credited as Nicky on this album's original sleeve), keyboard player Rick Wright and guitarist/singer and main songwriter Syd Barrett, whom was the mad (as in "crazy") genius of the band.
The members of the band were in groups known as The Abdabs, The Megadeaths and The T-Set among others until Syd hooked up with childhood friend Roger and Roger's architectural school classmates Rick and Nick and another friend Bob Close to form the group The Pink Floyd which was named after two old Georgia bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Bob Close left after recording Syd's demo of "Lucy Leave".
Throughout 1966, the band were a concert sensation in London's underground music movement and proceeded to get a deal with EMI in Europe and was signed to EMI's US affiliate Capitol under the subsidary Tower (way before the record store chain existed throughout the US).
The band's first two singles were "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play" which were both Top 20 hits in England though did nothing in the US.
Then, the group's entered Abbey Road Studios to record their debut sometime in March of 1967 with producer Norman Smith, whom worked with The Beatles from 1962-65. Ironically, The Beatles were in the same building finishing their classic contribution to rock history Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
All but one track on Piper at the Gates of Dawn was either written or co-written by Syd Barrett. His songs were whimsical works of art almost fairy tale and child-like in lyrics but superb.
The original UK album started with "Astronomy Domine", which was about going into space to explore the universe (strangely this song was eliminated off of the original American vinyl release). Next is "Lucifer Sam", a tale about a Siamese cat. "Matilda Mother" and "Flaming" (which was also left off of the original US vinyl release) follow and are great songs. Next is the first of two instrumentals "Pow R Toc H" which grabs the attention. Next was Roger Waters' first song written for the band "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" which is a silly song with some excellent jamming.
The second half of the album starts with the instrumental "Interstellar Overdrive" which was a number the band had played live before signing with EMI and was written by the band. "The Gnome" follows and is about a gnome named Grimble Crumble. "Chapter 24" follows and is my favorite Syd track. "The Scarecrow" follows and is a funny but great song. The album concludes with the whimsical "Bike" (also left off the original US vinyl release in favor of "See Emily Play") which then turns into a collage of sound effects and duck-call noises.
The album showed Syd Barrett at his best before his abuse of drugs, such as LSD, caused his behavior to become erratic and unpredictable and his songwriting skills started to sadly go down the drain.
The US version of the album hit the lower reaches of the Billboard Top 200 while the UK version hit #6 in England and the UK version would eventually be released in the US on the double album A Nice Pair in 1973 and properly on CD on its own in 1987. Now in 2011, as part of the Why Pink Floyd? campaign, the album is re-released for the second time in four years, once again remastered by longtime Floyd associate James Guthrie with digipak like packaging almost reminiscent to the original LP. I rank the remasters as the 2007 still first (for the stereo and mono mix) then this new remaster comes in close second followed by the 1994 remastered CD (for stereo mix), the 1997 mono CD remaster (in fourth) and the 1980s CD is last. The mono mix and the third disc of Piper will be included in an Immersion Version due out in 2012.
Excellent start to an outstanding career.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Syd's Pink Floyd,
Well I finally picked up this amazing CD and can honestly say it was money well spent. The significant difference between this Syd Barrett guided disc and the later discs guided by Roger Waters & David Gilmore is almost beyond words. If you listen to this expecting the PF of DSOTM or the Wall you will be extremely disappointed. Check out the stellar craftsmanship of the songs here and guitarmanship of Syd. Sure, we are all used to Gilmore's beautiful guitar work but I wonder where the band would be had Syd been around. Most of you have heard Astronomy Domine, Interstellar Overdrive and maybe even Bike. Pow R Toch H is spacey and touches on the experimentation that would show in the bands later discs. The Gnome is a simple, playful little ballad. About the only drawback is Roger Waters early attempt at songwriting, Take Up thy Stethoscope and Walk, (The only reason for 4 stars). Some of the more standout tracks are Lucifer Sam, Matilda Mother & Interstellar Overdrive. Syd, we miss you and wish you well. Thanks for a terrific album. If you're a PF fan then you must own this.
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