Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets
OK. So it's late 1968 and I'm about twelve and a half. For the past year and a bit I've been going to William Ellis School, which is a bit of a bummer because nearly all my friends from primary school went to Creighton - a new "comprehensive" school that was formed when two local secondary schools merged.
Still, my friend Billy invited me to the Creighton school play, which was "Dark of the Moon" (by Howard Richardson and William Berney). I don't remember much about it, but there was a scene in it where the lights went down and the cast danced around the stage to this slow, swirly music. I thought this was fantastic and asked Billy to try and find out who the music was by, he came home from school soon afterwards and told me it was called "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" by a group called Pink Floyd. So I went into Tudor Records in Muswell Hill and asked the nice lady behind the counter if she had it - she didn't, and hadn't heard of it. I think we both thought it was a single.
Then, some time later, I was looking through the LPs in the record department of the Co-Op in Archway and I saw the sleeve above. I recognised the name and looked at the track listing - yup, that was the one. I got some money from somewhere and went back soon after to buy it. At this time I had a Dansette Major record player, this was a mono thing with a stereo-compatible cartridge (remember them?).
"Saucerful" was made when Syd Barrett was on his way out and Dave Gilmour had already been brought in to play guitar, although he isn't shown on the sleeve. It's still my favourite Floyd album and one of only two I bought on CD - the other one was Meddle. I saw them live for the first time in 1972 at the Rainbow theatre in Finsbury Park the first time they toured with DSOTM (then known as "Eclipsed") and soon afterwards bought the "Best of Tour 72" bootleg. I played it to bits and when the official album finally came out, some 18 months later, I bought it on the day of its release and was terribly disappointed. They'd overproduced the hell out of it and there was no guts to it at all - and that woman screaming at the end of side one drove me bonkers. I seem to remember I bought Wish You Were Here when that was released, but I haven't bothered with anything of theirs since. I don't even have vinyl copies of anything after Obscured By Clouds.
Anyway, from the days when Pink Floyd were interesting and experimental, this is my Album OTW.