Ummagumma

Release date: October 25th, 1969

Recorded at: The live part was recorded at 3 live venues - Bromley Technical College, Bromley Common, Kent (April 26th, 1969); Mothers, Erdington, Birmingham, Warwickshire (April 27th, 1969); and College of Commerce, Manchester, Lancashire (May 2nd, 1969).

Total Playing Time: 86'33

 

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Tracks:

Live album:

Astronomy Domine (Barrett) [08:28] Vocals by Waters (name chanting), Gilmour (high harmonies) and Wright (low ones).

Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour) [08:47] Vocals by Waters; Gilmours does the "ooooh".

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun(Waters) [09:22] Vocals by Waters [12:49] Vocals on Celestial Voices by Gilmour

A Saucerful of Secrets (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour)

a. Something Else [00:00]

b. Syncopated Pandemonium [03:57]

c. Storm Signal [07:16]

d. Celestial Voices [10:14]

 

Studio album:

Sysyphus [part 1-4] (Wright) [13:17] Vocals on part 4 by Wright.

Grantchester Meadows (Waters) [07:28] Vocals by Waters.

Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict (Waters) [04:57] Vocals by Waters.

The Narrow Way [part 1-3] (Gilmour) [12:14] Vocals on part 3 by Gilmour.

The Grand Vizier's Garden Party(Mason) [08:45] Instrumental

Part 1 (entrance)

Part 2 (entertainment)

Part 3 (exit)

 

Musicians:

David Gilmour: Guitar, Vocals

Nick Mason: Drums

Roger Waters: Bass Guitar, Vocals

Rick Wright: Keyboards, Vocals

 

 

 

Live Album

Astronomy Domine (Barrett)

Lime and limpid green, a second scene

A fight between the blue you once knew.

Floating down, the sound resounds

Around the icy waters underground.

Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania.

Neptune, Titan, Stars can frighten.

Lime and limpid green, a second scene

A fight between the blue you once knew.

Floating down, the sound resounds

Around the icy waters underground.

Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania.

Neptune, Titan, Stars can frighten.

 

Blinding signs flap,

Flicker, flicker, flicker blam. Pow, pow.

Stairway scare Dan dare who's there?

Lime and limpid green, the sounds around

The icy waters under

Lime and limpid green, the sounds around

The icy waters underground.

 

 

Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour)

(Instrumental)

 

 

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Waters)

Little by little the night turns around

Counting the leaves which tremble at dawn

Lotus's lean on each other in yearning

Over the hills a swallow is resting

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

 

Over the mountain watching the watcher

Breaking the darkness waking the grapevine

Knowledge of love is knowledge of 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

(...)

Witness the man who waves at the wall

Making the shape of his questions to heaven

Whether 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

(...)

 

 

A Saucerful of Secrets (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour)

(Instrumental)

 

 

Studio Album

Sysyphus (Wright)

(Instrumental)

 

Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave an Grooving With a Pict (Waters)

[Brian Tompsett's interpretation]:

 

Aye an' a bit of Mackeral settler rack and ruin

ran it doon by the haim, 'ma place

well I slapped me and I slapped it doon in the side

and I cried, cried, cried.

 

The fear a fallen down taken never back the raize

and then Craig Marion, get out wi' ye Claymore out mi pocket

a' ran doon, doon the middin stain

picking the fiery horde that was fallen around ma feet.

 

Never he cried, never shall it ye get me alive

ye rotten hound of the burnie crew.

Well I snatched fer the blade O my Claymore

cut and thrust and I fell doon before him round his feet.

Aye!

 

A roar he cried

frae the bottom of his heart that I would nay fall but as dead,

dead as 'a can be by his feet; de ya ken?

 

...and the wind cried back.

 

 

[Mike Merriam's interpretation]:

 

Aye an' a bit of Mackeral (Fagger, wreck'n) fear

Ran it doon by the (haim)

And I (flew).

When I (slapped) me,

And I flopped it doon in the shade,

And I cried, cried, 'n cried.

 

The fear o' fallen down 'a taken, ne'er back t' raise.

 

And then cried Mary,

And I took that weighted claymore right out of (---),

And ran doon, doon the mountain side,

And back unt' the fiery horde that was fall'n round y' feet.

 

Never, I cried,

Never shall ye take me alive,

Y' rotten hound and the (----- --rew).

 

Well I (snapped fore) the blade o' my claymore,

Cut and thrust,

And I fell down before him.

Right at his feet. Aye!

 

A roar, he cried,

Fr' the bottom of his heart,

That I would nay fall

 

But as dead,

Dead as I can, by feat

(D' ya ken?)

 

And the wind cried Mary.

 

 

Grantchester Meadows (Waters)

"Icy wind of night be gone this is not your domain"

In the sky a bird was heard to cry.

Misty morning whisperings and gentle stirring sounds

Belie the deathly silence that lay all around.

 

Hear the lark harken to the barking of the dark fox

Gone to ground.

See the splashing of the kingfisher flashing to the water.

And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees

Laughing as it passes through the endless summer

Making for the sea.

 

In the lazy water meadow I lay me down.

All around me golden sun flakes settle on the ground.

Basking in the sunshine of a bygone afternoon

Bringing sounds of yesterday into this city room.

 

Hear the lark harken to the barking of the dark fox

Gone to ground.

See the splashing of the kingfisher flashing to the water.

And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees.

 

In the lazy water meadow I lay me down.

All around me golden sun flakes covering the ground.

Basking in the sunshine of a bygone afternoon

Bringing sounds of yesterday into this city room.

 

Hear the lark harken to the barking of the dark fox

Gone to ground.

See the splashing of the kingfisher flashing to the water.

And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees.

 

 

The Narrow Way Part III (Gilmour)

Following the path as it leads toward

The darkness in the north

Weary stranger's faces show their sympathy

They've seen that hope before

 

And if you want to stay for a little bit

Rest your aching limbs for a little bit

For you the night is beckoning

And now you can't delay

You hear the night birds calling you

But you can't catch the words they say

And you must you realize be on your way

 

Mystery swelling, creatures crawling

Hear the roar ger louder in your ears

You know the folly was your own

But the force behind can't conquer all you fears

 

And if you want to stay for a little bit

Rest your aching limbs for a little bit

For you the night is beckoning and you know

And now you can't delay

You hear the night birds callling you

But you can't catch the words they say

And you must you realize be on your way

 

Throw your thoughts back many years

To the time when love was life with every morning

Perhaps a day will come when the match for me the curlers past warning

 

And if you want to stay for a little bit

Rest your aching limbs for a little bit

For you the night is beckoning

And now you can't delay

You hear the night birds calling you

But you can't catch the words they say

And you must you realize be on your way

 

 

NOTER

Apparently this double disc--an obligatory purchase for all hipsters on its release in 1969--isn't too highly regarded by the Floyd themselves these days ("Ummagumma-- what a disaster!", Roger Waters is said to have remarked); but it's one of the most adventurous mainstream rock ventures of all time, and certainly the Floyd's best stab at being avant-garde.

 

As with the original LP, the CD set is divided into two discs. The first contains the live album of four old favourites, recorded at favoured Floyd venues of the time, with studio overdubs added later. The sparkling version of "Astronomy Domine" and a chilling "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" (the first of many Floyd tracks about insanity) are particularly outstanding, and helped cement the Floyd's status as cult superstars. Each group member was given half a vinyl side to experiment with (doing it all by himself, including lyrics, playing, etc) in the second disc -- the studio one. It is said that Nick Mason probably cheated as the flute is most likely played by his wife.

 

The original intention of the band was to include those live songs as a sort of "farewell" gesture. They would release the live versions, and then stop playing them. However with the popularity of the album, the public kept wanting to hear the songs from Ummagumma Live, and so they stayed in their set lists.

 

A version of "Interstellar Overdrive" was also recorded and mixed with the intention of being included on the album, but was eventually not included. John Peel received an acetate of it, which he liked very much, but this was stolen. What happened to it is unknown.

 

Nick Mason: "This was absolutely not a band album. The live stuff sounds incredibly antiquated now, although the fact of Pink Floyd playing at Mothers in Birmingham was considered a bit of an event at the time. We were looking for new ways of constructing an album, although I think what this demonstrates is that our sum is always better than the parts. EMI was very hidebound in those days. It was still run by guys in white coats. I was prevented from editing my own tapes by a studio manager who told me I wasn't a union member."

 

David Gilmour: "I'd never written anything before. I just went into the studio and started waffling about, tacking bits and pieces together. I rang up Roger at one point to ask him to write me some lyrics. He just said, No."

 

"Ummagumma" was a slang term for knockin' boots. (Knockin' boots of course being a slang term for doing the Wild Thang; which is, of course, slang for having sex.) Of course, Rock and Roll was a slang term for -- you get the picture. So, looked at that way, the album "Ummagumma" could simply mean "Rock and Roll." (From David Schuetz and Steven Dobbs)

 

On some album cover pressings, the album seen leaning on the wall is the soundtrack to "Gigi." It was deleted in US pressings due to copyright ownership problems. The US pressing had a "Special Buy" label on the cover. Also, the last "reflection" in the wall is of the cover to "A Saucerful of Secrets".

 

The picture on the back is taken at Biggin Hill airfield. The roadies on the picture are Alan Stiles (the same referred to in Atom Heart Mother's "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast") and Pete Watts. The "Jude" listed alongside Waters is Judy Trim, Roger's first wife.

 

The song "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict" was done all by Roger Waters himself. The weird sounds are obtained by playing human voices back at various speeds, whereas the drumming sounds are created by Water drumming with his hands on his body and a table (or something similar). A "pict" is a member of a possibly non-Celtic people who once occupied Great Britain, carried on continual border wars with the Romans, and about the ninth century became amalgamated with the Scots. There is are still discussions as far as what is said during the song.

 

On Rick Wright's "Sysyphus" you can hear the opening melody of "Silent Night, Holy Night". Sysyphus, more commonly spelled as 'Sisyphus,' was a figure of Greek mythology who was punished by being made to roll a rock up a hill for all eternity.