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Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (33 1/3) Paperback – 6 Jan 2003
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...short, but intense...Piper at the Gates of Dawn is packed with interviews...and with great stories."""" --Anna Battista, www.erasingclouds.com
About the Author
John Cavanagh is a broadcaster and musician who has presented shows on several BBC Radio networks, and records under the name Phosphene. He owns a Farfisa Compact Duo organ which was used by Pink Floyd on their early recordings.
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The book is excellent in that based on many interviews with contemporaries it conveys what "swinging London" was actually like around the time the group started and the group's immediate ascendancy in local popularity based on some specific gigs esp. the UFO residency, to getting a prize recording contract with EMI (helped by a publicity quote from Paul McCartney). When they got into the studio it was largely Syd's show with valuable input from the recording production team in helping them realise their ambitions. The book is also not afraid to covers some hard facts of life on the general quality of musicianship in the group in the early days and that outside the London cognoscenti they did suffer when playing outside London in those early days.
Excellent read on what was Syd's sole (albeit very memorable) recording production for the Floyd before exiting so dramatically. This book also serves to underline that the best items in this eclectic series are those where the writer while fixated on a specific recording is especially able to both communicate their excitement and enthusiasm as to why the recording means so much to them.
Cavanagh casts multicoloured light on the 'underground' experimentation of a band that was often charmingly naive. Speaking to many who were around at the time, he builds a picture of the first great Pink Floyd lineup. The story is told in a straightforward way, with many many quotes. (Thankfully, without recourse to the pretentious literary allusions which have spoiled other books in this series. viz 'Forever Changes'.)
A good place to start finding out about the Floyd, and a great companion to the re-issuued, re-mastered 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' CD.
This book contrasts to a book on another LP of that era, the making of Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced - 'Not Necessarily Stoned, But Beautiful' by Sean Egan - a book which really worked.
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