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Pink Floyd: A Saucerful of Secrets

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: EMI Records
Released: 1968.06.29
Category: Pop/Rock
Producer(s): Norman Smith
Rating: ******.... (6/10)
Media type: CD
Web address: www.pinkfloyd.com
Appears with: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright
Purchase date: 2000
Price in €: 5,99

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] Let There Be More Light (Waters) - 5:38
[2] Remember a Day (Wright) - 4:33
[3] Set the Controls for the Heart of the (Waters) - 5:28
[4] Corporal Clegg (Waters) - 4:13
[5] Saucerful of Secrets (Gilmour/Mason/Waters/Wright) - 1:57
[6] See Saw (Wright) - 4:36
[7] Jugband Blues (Barrett) - 3:00

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

SYD BARRETT - Guitar, Vocals
ROGER WATERS - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
RICHARD WRIGHT - Keyboards, Vocals
DAVID GILMOUR - Guitar, Vocals

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

1968 LP Tower ST-5131
1987 CD Capitol C2-46383
1994 CS Capitol 46383
1995 CD EMI 7243 8 29751 20

Our survival wirhout Syd

This is where we all knew that Syd wouldn't be able to write for the band anymore. It was all up to us, but the result was satisfactory for me.

Roger Waters , December 25, 1999

A Saucerful of Secrets is an uneven album that could glibly be called Pink Floyd's sophomore jinx, though it's a bit more complicated than that. The problems behind the band's second outing can be summed up in two words: Syd Barrett. Or rather, the absence thereof. The creative force behind Floyd's first distinctively baroque collection is credited with just one track here ("Jugband Blues") and the occasion marked the beginning of his decades-long withdrawal from public life, battles with mental illness, and burgeoning cult legend. What's left is essentially the first album by the "classic" Floyd lineup, though they're understandably a long way from their focused 1970s prime (as witnessed by the 11-minute title track); the dense sound and effects collages that are mere seasoning on later Floyd records are too often the whole point here. Roger Waters barely hints at his later glories on "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," a would-be stellar journey that's ultimately rather pedestrian. An album that seems alternately driven by a genuine experimental spirit one moment and creative panic the next.

Jerry McCulley - Amazon.com

Mit ihrem zweiten Album "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968) setzten Pink Floyd Maßstäbe des Psychodelic - Rock und einen Meilenstein der Rockmusik überhaupt. Roger Waters hatte sich zum Chef erklärt und Syd Barrett, bis dahin Mastermind der Band, aufgrund seiner Unzuverlässigkeit und seines übermäßigen LSD-Konsums, durch seinen Schulfreund David Gilmour ersetzt um der Band wieder ein wenig Boden unter die Füße zu geben. Atmosphärisch dichte Klangwolken umhüllen filigrane kleine Melodien, endlos lange Soundcollagen wechseln mit munterem blues-angehauchten Beat und so wie die Abwechslung wird hier auch die Wiederholung zur Kunstform. Man kann vieles, ja fast alles über dieses Album schreiben, nur Langeweile kann man ihm nicht vorwerfen. Stücke wie das Titellied oder "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun" sind kaum in Worte zu fassen, mehr Erlebnisse, Trips, als das, was refraingewohnte Schunkelohren unter Musik verstehen. Mitwippen oder pfeifen kann man bei diesem Sound nur schwer, man kann ihn jedoch erleben, in sich aufnehmen - und staunen. Ein Album, das Geschichte schrieb, in England bei Erscheinen auf Platz 10 der LP-Charts notiert hat sein zeitloser Inhalt bis heute nicht an Bedeutung verloren und seinesgleichen noch immer nicht gefunden - zurecht ein Meilenstein und ein geglücktes Experiment.

Felix von Vietsch - Amazon.de

A transitional album on which the band moved from Barrett's relatively concise and vivid songs to spacy, ethereal material with lengthy instrumental passages. Barrett's influence is still felt (he actually did manage to contribute one track, the jovial "Jugband Blues"), and much of the material retains a gentle, fairy-tale ambience. "Remember a Day" and "See Saw" are highlights; on "Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun," "Let There Be More Light," and the lengthy instrumental title track, the band begin to map out the dark and repetitive pulses that would characterize their next few records.

Richie Unterberger - All Music Guide
© 1992 - 2001 AEC One Stop Group, Inc.

'A Saucerful of Secrets' continues the freakouts, though Water's emergent songwriting voice surfaces on the eerie "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun". Gradually, David Gilmour asserts a fresh musical personality into Floyd's mix: his probing solos and coherent tone are a far cry indeed from Barrett's hyperkinetic, unpredictable outbursts.

© Copyright 2001 RollingStone.com

The success of Pink Floyd's two first singles and Piper proved to be too much for Syd. The other members of the group decided to bring an additional guitarist to cover for Syd. With the addition of Gilmour, shortly after New Years, 1968, and Syd's declining state, it was decided that the band could carry on without him, and so one night they simply didn't pick him up on the way to a show. So it was decided, on March 2, to break up the management partnership of Blackhill Enterprises, and Syd was thus formally and officially out of the group. The press wasn't informed until April 6th. Incorrectly sensing the end, managers Peter Jenner and Andrew King jumped off the ship. Pink Floyd went to be fantastically successful.

Peter Jenner: "It was really stressful waiting for Syd to come up with the songs for the second album. Everybody was looking at him, and he couldn't do it. Jugband Blues is a really sad song, the portrait of a nervous breakdown. The last Floyd song Syd wrote, Vegetable Man, was done for those sessions, though it never came out. He wrote it round at my house; it's just a description of what he's wearing. It's very disturbing. Roger took it off the album because it was too dark, and it is. It's like psychological flashing."

Rick Wright: "I did the title track and I remember Norman saying, You just can't do this, it's too long. You have to write three-minute songs. We were pretty cocky by now and told him, If you don't wanna produce it, just go away. A good attitude I think. The same reason why we'd never play See Emily Play in concert."

David Gilmour: "I remember Nick and Roger drawing out A Saucerful Of Secrets as an architectural diagram, in dynamic forms rather than in any sort of musical form, with peaks and troughs. That's what is was about. It wasn't music for beauty's sake, or for emotion's sake. It never had a story line. Though for years afterwards we used to get letters from people saying what they thought it meant. Scripts for movies sometimes, too."

Syd plays on some tracks on the album, including "Remember a Day" and "Jug Band Blues". He's also on a tiny bit of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun". Also, some people say that he played on "Corporal Clegg" and "See Saw".

In many ways, "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is the Floyd's strangest album. Something of a transitional work, it features recordings made during the "Piper" sessions the previous year alongside tracks from May 1968, after Syd Barrett had left the group. It is, in the words of the late Pink Floyd biographer Nick Schaffner, "a hodgepodge of possible Floyds".

It was the first Pink Floyd album to feature cover art by Hipgnosis. The cover art uses Dr. Strange (of Marvel Comics fame), astrology and infrared photography symbolizing altered states of consciousness. The band is shown on the cover as well.

The lyrics to "Let There Be More Light" are influenced by various Science Fiction books and historic persons, including:

Mildenhall: a United Kingdom air force base
Hereward the Wake: An Anglo-Saxon rebel leader, known as "the last Englishman". Fought against the Norman oppressors, and hid on Ely island (where Ely cathedral, from the cover of The Division Bell is now located. Carter's father: Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) wrote a series of novels about John Carter of mars.
The Rhull: A.E.Van Voght wrote a book called "The War against the Rull." The Rull should not be confused with the "Krull" from the silver age Fantastic Four (a Marvel comic book series) stories.
Roger Waters based the lyrics for "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" on a book of Chinese poetry. Some of the poetry came from Li Ho (his poem "Don't go out of the door" contains the line "witness the man who raved at the wall as he wrote his question to heaven") and Li Shang-Yin, whose poetry contained the lines "watch little by little the night turn around", "countless the twigs which tremble in dawn" and "one inch of love is an inch of ashes". The title of the song is taken from a Michael Moorcock novel, "Fireclown", which was also released as "The Winds Of Limbo".

Roger Waters explained the song "A Saucerful of Secrets" as being about war or a battle. (where Something Else and Syncopated Pandemonium are the actual battle, Storm Signals is the aftermath and Celestial Voices the mourning of the dead).


'A Saucerful of Secrets' is the second album Pink Floyd made was still very much in the early psychedelic era of Floyd. It was also the beginning of the end for the early Pink Floyd era as this was the last Pink Floyd album with input from founding member Syd Barrett. In fact only one song, the last on the album 'Jugband Blues' is a Syd Barrett song. But the whole album is very much in his style. However I believe that this album has something more than the first album had. 'A Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' is a fantastic psychedelic album with some timeless, classic songs, and some really weird stuff to think about. But somehow I prefer to listen to this second album, I think musically it has more mystique. My mum overheard me playing it the other day (through several walls I confess, but then you HAVE to play this album loud or you miss a lot of what's going on.) and she described it as "Arty Farty Music."
Yes I suppose it is arty, and I think that's what makes it such a worthy member of the early Pink Floyd era. In later years every little sound had some kind of hidden meaning. Even what seemed like mistakes had been made on purpose with some hidden meaning. And more than that, the later albums all got very serious dealing with very real issues. I love all the later stuff, probably more than the earlier stuff but I have to say you don't always want to be thinking about how nasty Maggie Thatcher was and all that stuff. Sometimes you just want to escape, escape into another rather bizarre world created for you by the music of the earlier Pink Floyd material!

The cover art is, as nearly always from Floyd, both interesting and thought provoking. The whole package mirrors the mystique of the album itself nicely.

My favourite song on 'A Saucerful of Secrets' is 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' a Waters masterpiece! On the face of it there isn't much to it, no really strong tune or big lyrical catch lines. But upon repeated play it's the song that really really really gets stuck in your head! You wouldn't believe the number of times I've been walking around and suddenly as if listening to Floyd was actually taking acid I have a flash back to that song. And end up walking end constantly just repeating the low, unenthusiastic line "set the controls.. for the heart of the sun, set the controls.. for the heart of the sun" and over and over!

The title track 'A Saucerful of Secrets' is just under 12 minutes of the most bizarre avant-garde trippy music you are likely to find. It's amazing!

And what of Syd's last Floyd album song? Well I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into the lyrics but the way I read them makes 'Jugband Blues' one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. He sings of not being here, of the moon being so big and blue and the line of the song in my opinion "And I'm wondering who could be writing this song." It's a sad fairwell to Syd, even if his legacy would live on for a while longer. The song concludes: "And what exactly is a dream? And what exactly is a joke?"

This is a vital album for all Floyd fans to own. It sees the departure of Syd Barrett and the arrival of David Gilmour, but Pink Floyd remain throughout the album very much in a Syd Barrett frame of mind (bare in mind Syd was a schizophrenic hippie on acid! Shine on you crazy diamond!). It is very much for the Pink Floyd fan though, for most of today's music fans it most likely would be seen as too weird! I never understood the fuss made about Radiohead's 'Kid A' album, although perhaps I do.. perhaps it's just that pop music is all so bland and un-daring these days that as soon as anyone does anything slightly different there is an uproar of attention. Well this album is from the days when people dared to be different, to forget the rules and find their own way of doing things. To me this is one of the greatest tributes to the 1960s, experimentation and self discovery. An amazing album!


Their second album, this group retains its psychedelic nature with new guitarist David Gilmour. Gilmour's guitar playing is still in its infancy, and this is clearly evident not only in the effects that are being used, but also in terms of the structure of the guitar leads---it is more experimental and broken. The songs all sound as a natural continuation of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and this is surprising given the absence of founding member Syd Barrett.

Ram Samudrala

 L y r i c s

Let There Be More Light

Far, far, far away - way
People heard him say - say
I will find a way - way
There will come a day - day
Something will be done.

Then at last the mighty ship
Descending on a point of flame
Made contact with the human race at Milden Hall.

Now, now, now is the time - time
Time to be - be - be aware

Carter's father saw it there and
And knew the rhull revealed to him
The living soul of Herrywood the Wake.

Oh, my, something in my eye - eye
Something in the sky - sky
Waiting there for me

The outer lock rolls slowly back,
The servicemen were heard to sigh,
For there revealed in glowing robes
Was Lucy in the sky

Oh - oh - did you ever know - know
Never ever will they
I cannot say

Summoning his cosmic pow'r
And glowing slightly from his toes,
The psychic emanations flowed.

Remember a Day

Remember a day before today
A day when you were young.
Free to play alone with time
Evening never came.
Sing a song that can't be sung
Without the morning's kiss
Queen - you shall be it if you wish
Look for your king

Why can't we play today
Why can't we stay that way

Climb your favorite apple tree
Try to catch the sun
Hide from your little brother's gun
Dream yourself away
Why can't we reach the sun
Why can't we blow the years away
Blow away
Blow away

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

Little by little the night turns around.
Counting the leaves which tremble at dawn.
Lotus's lean on each other in urning.
Over the hill the swallow is resting.
Set the controls for the heart of the sun.

Over the mountain watching the watcher.
Breaking the darkness waking the grapevine.
Morning to birth is born into shadow
Love is the shadow that ripens the wine.
Set the controls for the heart of the sun.
The heart of the sun, the heart of the sun.

Who is the man who arrives at the wall?
Making the shape of his questions at asking.
Thinking the sun will fall in the evening.
Will he remember the lesson of giving?
Set the controls for the heart of the sun.
The heart of the sun, the heart of the sun.

Corporal Clegg

Corporal Clegg had a wooden leg
He won it in the war, in 1944.
Corporal Clegg had a medal too
In orange, red, and blue
He found it in the zoo.
Dear, dear were they really sad for me?
Dear, dear will they really laugh at me?
Mrs. Clegg, you must be proud of him.
Mrs. Clegg, another drop of gin.
Corporal Clegg umbrella in the rain
He's never been the same
No one is to blame
Corporal Clegg recieved his medal in a dream

From Her Majesty the queen
His boots were very clean.
Mrs. Clegg, you must be proud of him
Mrs. Clegg, another drop of gin.

A Saucerful of Secrets


See Saw

Marigolds are very much in love, but he doesn't mind
Picking up his sister, he makes  his way  into the seas or land
All the way she smiles
She goes up while he goes down, down
Sits on a stick in the river
Laughter in his sleep
Sister's throwing stones, hoping for a hit
He doesn't know so then
She goes up while he goes down, down
Another time, another day
A brother's way to leave
Another time, another day

She'll be selling plastic flowers on a Sunday afternoon

Picking up weeds, she hasn't got the time to care
All can see he's not there
She grows up for another man, and he's down
Another time, another day
A brother's way to leave
Another time, another day
Another time, another day
A brother's way to leave

Jugband Blues

It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear
That I'm not here.
And I never knew the moon could be so thick
And I never knew the moon could be so blue
And I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes
And brought me here instead dressed in red
And I'm wondering who could be writing this song.

I don't care if the sun don't shine
And I don't care if nothing is mine
And I don't care if I'm nervous with you
I'll do my loving in the winter.

And the sea isn't green
And I love the queen
And what exactly is a dream
And what exactly is a joke.

 M P 3   S a m p l e s

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