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Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd

1 rating: 5.0
An album by Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd: Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, Syd Barrett. Producers inlcude: Pink Floyd, Michael Kamen, Bob Ezrin, Joe Boyd, Norman Smith. Compilation producer: James Guthrie, Pink Floyd. Digitally remastered by James Guthrie. … see full wiki

1 review about Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd

Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd – stirrings in our souls

  • Dec 19, 2001
Pros: Great music, great lyrics

Cons: Syd Barrett

The Bottom Line: Even the Floyd novice could like some of these songs :)

Pink Floyd is a mystical and eclectic mixture of love and lust, dreams and desires, mesmerizing and meaningful and an echo of things lost and things found. Like most successful bands, they have few middle of the road fans – you love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Their latest compilation of moods and memories is called Echoes – The Best of Pink Floyd.

This double CD carries you into the mind bending world of the Floyd, 26 pieces included in the set along with a nice book which includes most words to the songs on the CD. There are two ways to view/listen/enjoy Floyd – you either go for the music or you go for the words. Often you get taken into the story and the music just caresses your soul, other times the music is the factor and the words are secondary.

I find this is true with my favorite on the CD, the lustful and peaceful Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts 1-7. Now I am sure there are a good deal of stories woven about this release, just as with Wish You Were Here, but the words, although fantastic, are second nature to me in this song. Were I able to put Floyd to written word, I certainly wouldn’t be peddling rose bushes for a living, but my meager attempt will have to be necessary in this case.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts 1-7 (Gilmour, Waters, Wright) 17:32
Vocals: Roger Waters, Sax: Dick Barry, Backing: Venetta Fields, Carlena Williams
The distinctive guitar of Roger Waters begins this release, plaintive and whispering notes introduces you to one of the most sexual and sensual pieces Floyd has ever produced. Drawing you into the song with his guitar, long held notes in the background, reminds me of two things.

First, for family hour, I think of rain. The beginning sounds are the storm off in the distance, gently building to a crescendo as it finally reaches the spot you are standing. Still a gentle rain, the soft rumble of thunder, small drops hitting large puddles of water. You feel the calming waters of streams flowing past you, water tumbling over rocks softly, barely disturbing the surface. Then the storm picks up as the words are introduced ….. Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun, shine on you crazy diamond, now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky, shine on you crazy diamond, you reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon, shine on your crazy diamond …….

The sax rolls over you like thunder, guitar pics still like gentle raindrops, you are surrounded by clouds, by moisture, by Mother Nature. Immersed in a dream world.

Now the second interpretation is a bit more risqué. Fingers trailing over your body, your blood heating up as the passion increases, you don’t hear the words this time, it is all about the music. All you can hear is the sax in the background like a hungry beast waiting to devour you, you arch your back and surrender to the sound and the music and ultimately to your love. A different dream entirely but one all so pleasant.

Now I guess you can see why I find so much in this piece. Both sensual and seductive yet calming and peaceful.

Time (Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour) 6:48
Vocals: David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Backing vocals: Doris Troy, Leslie Duncan, Liza Strike, Barry St. John. From Dark Side of the Moon, released 1973.
Probably one of the most recognized releases by Floyd, this piece starts with the overwhelming sound of a bazillion alarm clocks trilling. We are, one and all, governed by time but not perhaps in the Floyd way. Moving into guitar and bongo drums, you get the impression of time slipping away …… And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking, and racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death ……

As with most Floyd work, this is basically guitar and drum, slow and easy to sway to. Not quite the feel of Shine, etc and certainly a different story.

The Fletcher Memorial Home (Waters) 4:07
Vocal: Roger Waters, Piano Michael Kamen. From The Final Cut. Released 1983
Opening with Roger Waters irritatingly painful voice. Perhaps not the best description, but I always picture him in pain when he sings, perhaps because he generally sings of pain. This has the basic feeling of music from The Wall and maybe even a little Dark Side. Heavier guitar then the other two releases and the piano has replaced that seductive sax in the background.

Not a pretty story, I found it a satirical release regarding government strategies and the false-face front the politicians offer their minions. They gather in their little rooms and look out at us looking in at them. A bit eerie and probably one of the songs that keeps the mainstream from Floyd, they simply don’t understand the words.

Comfortably Numb (Gilmour, Waters) 6:53
Vocals: Roger Waters, David Gilmour. From The Wall, released 1979
You would really have to see the movie to understand this piece. Even without having seen the movie, the words tell a story of their own. We close ourselves into our own tight little universes and seldom let anyone in. Then when we do, it is often to our detriment. Hello, hello, hello …… is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me, is there anyone at home ……

When The Tigers Broke Free (Waters) 3:42
Vocal: Roger Waters, The Pontardulais Male Voice Choir led by Noel Davis. From The Wall Movie Soundtrack, 1979.
Again, very restrictive to the movie, The Wall. A young boy’s dreams shattered by the realities of war and the death of his father, which tends to mold his future and his own realities. He reflects on the memory of running across the death notice, issued by the King, for his father during WWII.

As with most pieces from The Wall, the story is harsh and tends to assault rather than soothe. There is a beautiful horn introduction on this piece and the choir is outstanding, almost hymnal in feeling until the song breaks into its’ standard. However, the choir remains peaceful in the background.

One of These Days (Gilmour, Mason, Waters, Wright) 5:14
Vocal: Nick Mason (one phrase), double tracked basses: Roger Waters, David Gilmour. From Meddle, released 1971
Obviously enjoyed for the instrumental only, I get the impression of wild dogs running in a pack, or horses clamoring over an open plain. The guitar work is above reproach. The single phrase spoken by Mason is done with distortion, giving the idea of the devil, guttural and omniscient.

Us and Them (Waters, Wright) 7:51
Vocal: David Gilmour, Sax: Dick Parry, Backing vocals: Doris Troy, Leslie Duncan, Liza Strike, Barry St. John. From Dark Side of the Moon, released 1973.
Great introduction of horns again, with Waters’ guitar work. Slow, peaceful, whimsical. If you ignore the words in this song and just go with the music, it is well worth it, as the words are not a pretty story…..Us and them, and after all we’re only ordinary men, me and you, God only knows its’ not what we choose to do….. A war of words and feelings.

Learning to Fly (Gilmour, Moore, Ezrin, Carin) 4:50
Vocal: David Gilmour, Backing vocals: Darlene Koldenhaven, Carmen Twillie, Phyllis St. James, Donnie Gerrard. From A Momentary Lapse of Reason, released 1987 after Waters left the band.
You can definitely tell the difference in the band now, without Waters’ fantastic guitar accompaniments. Even his gravelly voice is missed in this release. Not that I disliked it, but it is definitely a different sound for the group. I think they were trying to break the ‘Pink Floyd’ mold. They better go back.

Arnold Layne (Barrett) 2:52
Vocal: Syd Barrett. Released 1967
A mix of synchronized sounds and I don’t necessarily care for Barrett’s voice on his own. He, of course, is the missing band member that Wish You Were Here was based on. Speaking of which …….

Wish You Were Here (Gilmour, Waters) 5:21
Vocal: David Gilmour. From Wish You Were Here, released 1975
Again, beautiful guitar from Waters, who I believe was the true master of this group. The story is, they were producing this release in the studio as a memoriam to Syd Barrett, who had disappeared over a year prior. Suddenly, in the middle of production, Barrett saunters into the studio like nothing was wrong and like he had just seen them the day before. Now, I don’t know if this story is true, but it makes for good press anyway.

Gilmour’s vocalization is much better than Waters ever could be, but my heart is with Waters and his guitar every time. You notice a lot of background noises and chatter. Waters and/or Gilmour decided to leave an auxiliary mic open to pick up sounds in and around the studio. The story goes, you can hear the exclamations when Barrett walks into the studio, but I have never caught it. Another Urban Legend maybe?

Jugband Blues (Barrett) 2:56
Vocal: Syd Barrett. From A Saucerful of Secrets, released 1968.
Nope, just don’t care for Barrett.

High Hopes (Gilmour, Samson) 6:59
Vocal: David Gilmour, Piano: Jon Carin. From The Division Bell, released 1994.
Trying to recapture the feeling of the original Floyd group, you can still feel the loss of Waters both musically and lyrically. A bit ominous and heavy for me. The piano was harsh, like they were beating the keys instead of stroking them. The lyrics start like old Floyd but work their way to new Floyd.

Bike (Barrett) 3:24
Vocal: Syd Barrett. From The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, released 1967.
Just from the three releases on this CD by Barrett, you can feel the destructive quality of his work. Probably one of the main reasons Floyd carried such a heavy load over their heads for years. Early work, I just can’t get into Barrett’s vocals or lyrics.

That is the end of Disc 2, started with it because I like Shine so much.

Astronomy Domine (Barrett) 4:10
Vocals: Syd Barrett, Richard Wright. From The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, released 1967

See Emily Play (Barrett) 2:47
Vocal: Syd Barrett. Released 1967
Way too psychedelic for me, the singing reminds me of The Monkees …. Arrggghhhh

The Happiest Days Of Our Lives (Waters) 1:38
Vocal: Roger Waters. From The Wall, released 1979.
....When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who would hurt the children any way they could, by pouring their derision upon anything we did, exposing every weakness however carefully hidden by the kids, but in the town it was well know, when they got home at night, their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives.... This classic introduction to the following song is probably another well known one by Floyd fans and not so Floyd fans.

The Wall, Part II (Waters) 4:01
Vocals: Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Islington Green School Childrens Choir. From The Wall, released 1970.
You don’t have to watch the movie to understand this ditty. When we look back into ourselves, we realize no matter how great and powerful we ‘think’ we are, how successful, how rich ….. all in all we’re just another brick in the wall ……

By the way, I’ve heard this played live by an outstanding pianist, Charlie, at Pat O’Brien’s in Orlando, Florida. You really haven’t lived until you hear The Wall played on the piano!

Echoes (Gilmour, Mason, Waters, Wright) 16:30
Vocals: David Gilmour, Richard Wright. From Meddle, released 1971.
A distinctly different release, of course it deals with echoes. Echoes can be derived in many ways, often the repercussions of those lives that we touch daily, often passing strangers. Echoes of distant futures and painful pasts. I really enjoyed this one, classic Floyd both in lyrics and music. Stellar.

Hey You (Waters) 4:39
Vocals: David Gilmour, Rogers Waters. Fretless Bass: David Gilmour. From The Wall, released 1979.
Gilmour gives an outstanding presentation in both vocal and instrumental interpretation on this song. His melancholy guitar cords move you into the loneliness of this song and the desolation felt by the character, realizing how insular his world has become…….Hey you, out there in the cold, getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me…….. Once again, although the song plays well on its own, coupled with the movie it adds a different aura completely.

Marooned (Wright, Gilmour) 2:02
From The Division Bell, released 1994.
Pure Floyd, instrumental and soulful. The crying guitar played by Guy Pratt and the sensual keyboards by Jon Carin. A nice release, even by the new band.

The Great Gig In The Sky (Wright) 4:40
Vocal: Clare Torry. From The Dark Side Of The Moon, released 1973.
Almost operatic in sound, Torry sings without using words. A hard premise to understand but she gives a feeling of hope, peace and also a little bit of fear and mistrust in her presentation.

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Waters) 5:20
Vocal: Roger Waters. From A Saucerful Of Secrets, released 1968.
As with most of Floyds’ work, especially with Waters involved, more and more references are made to the elusive ‘Wall’. This could be the establishment, our parents, our partners, or ourselves. Everyone has a few walls that need broken down. Early sounds of what The Wall would become are introduced in this release.

Money (Waters) 6:29
Vocal: David Gilmour, Sax: Dick Parry. From The Dark Side Of The Moon, released 1973.
What time does not rule, money does, perhaps making us compulsive slaves to our own egos. This song opens with cash registers keeping time with the guitar or perhaps it is the reverse. Great sax in this song really makes it a hit.

Keep Talking (Gilmour, Wright, Samson) 5:57
Vocal: David Gilmour, Speaking Vocal: Stephen Hawking, Backing Vocals: Sam Brown, Durga McBroom, Carol Kenyon, Jackie Sheridan, Rebecca Leigh-White. From The Division Bell, released 1994.
Back to the feel of old Floyd, a good deal of over vocals and spiritual overtones. The speaking part, by Hawking, starts and ends the song and infers how the world could change with a little interaction between fellow man ……. For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk. It doesn’t have to be like this, all we need to do is make sure we keep talking….. .

Sheep (Waters) 9:46
Vocal: Roger Waters. From Animals, released 1877.
A soft and peaceful beginning to this release, gentle guitar strings that break into a typical Floyd song. Being Floyd, they are the master of innuendo. The sheep in this release are, naturally, humans drudging along their daily road of life. Not a favorite of mine, but I really didn’t care for the Animals CD anyway.

Sorrow (Gilmour) 8:45
Vocal: David Gilmour, Backing Vocals: Darlene Koldenhaven, Carmen Twillie, Phyllis St. James, Donnie Gerrard. From A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, released 1987.
A painful guitar introduction, you can feel the sorrow in the chords. Slow and remorseful. Great drums which were programmed by Gilmour, a solid beat almost like heart sounds as we hear the haunted voice of Gilmour produce his own sorrow ……..
And there’s dust in my eyes
that blinds my sight
and a silence that speaks so much louder
than words or promises broken …….

two hours, 33 minutes and 30 seconds of great sound.


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Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd
Label: Capitol/EMI Records
Artist: Pink Floyd
Release Date: November 06, 2001

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