“In The Beechwoods” is a could-have-been project for entertainment. Obviously, it is not 100% authentic. The live version of ‘Reaction in G’ would never have been used, since it is a fan-made recording that didn’t come into the band’s possession until the 2010s. But it is the only complete version with excellent sound known to circulate. I have taken the liberty to edit out 2 minutes because I felt it improved the quality of the performance. ‘Vegetable Man’ & ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ were never mixed down properly in 1967/1968, so these rough mixes from 1974, made for a nixed archive project – are the next best thing. ‘In the Beechwoods’ was never finished but even as an instrumental it is quite a strong track.
For the bonus section, we have a part of the first “Top Gear” session the band did for the BBC. It appears in the best quality so far here, mastered straight from the original source brought into circulation about 12 years ago. This was sourced from a 90m cassette that the show’s late original producer made for a friend from his master of the complete aircheck. The other two tracks that were aired on the show ‘Matilda Mother’ & ‘The Gnome’ thus also exist in this quality but do not circulate. The voice-overs are from Pete Drummond & the late John Peel. Only ‘Flaming’ was used for the official boxset and with lesser sound quality; the other tracks, amazingly, were mastered from an off-air source.
‘John Latham’ was an experimental piece recorded in one take with Floyd playing along to a short film called ‘Speak’ (which by 2020 standards looks like little more than a looped animation with a stroboscopic effect). This 30min recording edited down to an 11-minute composite. The edit is not linear; it starts out with music from the 3rd, 4th & 5th parts before heading back to section 1 & 2, and then finally from section 6 to 9. Purists should stay away. But having said that, the result is probably closer to an actual free-jazz composition. It holds more tension as a whole, whereas the original too often gets bogged down in moments of confusion and aimlessness.
‘Vegetable Man’ & ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ are the first band-sanctioned mixes of these historically important songs. The remixes are far superior to the 1974 ones or the 1987 mixes by Malcolm Jones, especially in this newly re-balanced form. However, they probably stick out a bit too much next to the vintage mixes, so I’ve put them in the back along with the enjoyable (if not quite essential) remix of ‘Jugband Blues’.
Lots of opinions about this, but the music is quite important.
- Apples & Oranges (1967 mix)
- Scream Thy Last Scream (1974 mix)
- Paint Box (1967 mix)
- Vegetable Man (1974 mix)
- In The Beechwoods (2010 mix)
- Reaction in G (Stockholm 1967)
- Remember A Day (1968 mix)
- Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (1968 mix)
- Jugband Blues (1968 mix)
- The Scarecrow (BBC 9-1967)
- Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (BBC 9-1967)
- Reaction in G (BBC 9-1967)
- Flaming (BBC 9-1967)
- Music For John Latham’s ‘Speak’ (2010 mix)
- Scream Thy Last Scream (2010 mix)
- Vegetable Man (2010 mix)
- Jugband Blues (2010 mix)
Total time: 1h 07m 17s