Pink Floyd: “The Endless River” – 5 stars

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The “Endless River” was released by Pink Floyd in 2014 and in a way it completed the band’s full circle.  Floyd were formed in 1965 with Syd Barrett as guitarist, singer and chief songwriter, but after one album and two brilliant singles he left and chose the life of a recluse, becoming the first high profile rock-n-roll casualty.

Roger Waters was on bass guitar at the time and took over the lyric writing.  David Gilmour had been drafted into the band in 1967 to support an ailing Syd Barrett and became a full time member when Barrett left in 1968.  Nick Mason happily played the drums all the time as a Pink Floyd band member, but Rick Wright was the keyboard player who Waters found surplus to requirements during the recording of The Wall in 1979, so he fired his old school friend and co-founder of the band – not a very nice thing to do.

Waters himself left Pink Floyd in 1985, believing the band to be a spent force and that it would fold without his leadership.  Well he had not reckoned on the determination and drive of Dave Gilmour who kept Mason in the drum seat, recalled Wright to the keyboards and on they went.

After a lengthy and bitter court battle, Gilmour won the rights to keep the Pink Floyd name and carried on with two more albums and massive world-wide tours in mega stadiums whilst Roger Waters was left trying to fill up only small venues.  Who says there is no such thing as karma?

Both studio albums released by the Gilmour led Pink Floyd were smash hits: “Momentary Lapse of Reason” in 1987 and “Division Bell” in 1994.  The concert tours were the ‘must have’ tickets and the double live albums that went with the tours, “The Delicate Sound of Thunder” in 1988 and “Pulse” in 1995 were amongst the highest selling ever.

After this it was presumed by many that Pink Floyd had simply retired and sadly, in 2008, Rick Wright passed away from cancer and that was that.  Or at least it was until rumors started spreading that some instrumental music was still lying around in cases in Dave Gilmour’s recording studios on a house boat.  No songs as such, just sounds and ambient tunes, half ideas if you like.

A think tank was assembled on the house boat and possibilities started to become realities.  With Gilmour as musical ringmaster and Andy Jackson, the sound engineer from the “Division Bell” sessions on board, along with Nick Mason, Youth, Guy Pratt, the Pink Floyd bass player, and Phil Manzanera, a good friend of Gilmour and of course lead guitarist with Roxy Music, pieces of the musical jigsaw started to come together.

Apart from some spoken words from Rick Wright explaining the original dynamics of the band to start the album off, and words of wisdom from Stephen Hawkins, there is only one song with lyrics, the final track “Louder than Words”, which was penned by Polly Sampson, now Mrs. Gilmour.

Pink Floyd: (from left) Rick Wright, Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason.
Pink Floyd: (from left) Rick Wright, Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason.

There’s some wonderful keyboard playing from the organ at the Royal Albert Hall by Rick Wright in 1968 and when mixed with Gilmour’s emotional solo to finish off “Louder Than Words”, or when the latter lets his guitar soar away on the wings of a bird on “Anisina” it really bring goose-bumps to the skin.

Thank goodness the time was taken to put together what has now become my favorite Pink Floyd album.  It is best played in its entirety, first thing in the morning.

Pink Floyd (on this album):

Rick Wright – keyboards and spoken words

David Gilmour – guitar and vocals

Nick Mason – drums and percussion

Guy Pratt – bass guitar

Phil Manzanera – guitar

Youth and Andy Jackson – general genius

Track List:

Things Left Unsaid

It’s What We Do

Ebb & Flow

Sum

Skins

Unsung

Anisina

The Lost Art Of Conversation

On Noodle Street

Allons-Y 1

Autumn ‘68

Allons-Y 2

Talkin Hawkin

Calling

Eyes of pearls

Surfacing

Louder Than Words

Note: Written By Mott The Dog and Hells Bells.