No Pink Floyd release nowadays without a controversy between the fans, the (ex-)band members and/or record company. The Pink Floyd's first album 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' has been celebrating its fortieth birthday and boys and girls that gravy train is riding again. Out comes a luxury package containing 3 disks: Piper in stereo, Piper in mono and a third disk containing the first 3 singles - 5 tracks, one B-side is exactly the same as on the album version and is not repeated - plus 4 alternative versions of Interstellar Overdrive (twice), Apples And Oranges and Matilda Mother.
So what is the controversy all about then?
1. EMI seems to release a special edition every decade.
Apart from the normal CD-issue that was basically just an analogue copy onto a digital carrier without fuddling we have already had a 1994 remastered stereo version and a limited (only a few million copies or so) 1997 mono version. The card box of the 1997 mono version was far too large to contain a single CD so that everyone could insert The First 3 Singles inside the box (that CD-EP had to be bought separately).
So basically this new edition combines the 1994 and 1997 versions in one package, adding 4 alternative takes. I know that EMI claims that the tapes have been remastered again (Why? Did James Guthrie do a bad job the previous times?) and the odd anorak will be able to tell you that the mono version of 1997 and the mono version of 2007 have a different fade out on one single track.
2. The tracks we are waiting for since decades are not included.
I don’t want to sound too ungrateful, collectors will find the 4 unearthed tracks worthwhile, but the tracks everybody was really waiting for are the final real tracks that Barrett recorded with his band: Scream Thy Last Scream and Vegetable Man. But perhaps these will find a place on an anniversary edition of A Saucerful Of Secrets.
And of course there are dozens of other (un)finished tracks and demos, believed to be lying in the EMI vaults that could have been included.
It would also have been a nice gesture to include the Pink Floyd's very first demo that has been circulating in bootleg circles for decades. Lucy Leave was Barrett's first song that was recorded by the band, including guitarist Bob Klose who would leave between the demo sessions and the band's debut at Abbey Road. The flip side of that acetate was the Slim Harpo classic (I'm A) King Bee, that has also been covered by Muddy Waters, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and The Grateful Dead.
3. One page is missing on the Fart Enjoy booklet.
Included with the Piper deluxe edition is an 'art' booklet that Syd Barrett made around 1965 for his friend Andrew Rawlinson. The existence of it was revealed in the Tim Willis biography Madcap that printed 6 out of the 12 pages (although a bit truncated). The remaining 6 could be found in the British Mojo music magazine (BTW, this month's issue of Mojo has a free CD entitled In Search Of Syd, containing 15 Pink Floyd inspired tracks).
One of the first people who confirmed that Fart Enjoy would be included on Piper was Ian Barrett, Syd's nephew. The official reason why the twelfth page of Fart Enjoy is missing is cryptically confirmed on the booklet:
This particular page has been left blank for legal reasons.
For further details see www.pinkfloyd.com.
Of course going to the official website of Pink Floyd doesn't give you extra information at all. Enough reasons for the fans to start speculating. The missing page contains 9 times the word 'fuck' and variations of the same verb such as 'fuk' and 'fuc'. According to a Pink Floyd manager who spoke with Keith Jordan, the webmaster from Neptune Pink Floyd, the reason was not the smutty language on the page but the accompanying copyrighted picture that couldn't be released. Very strange as the missing page has been published in Tim Willis's book before and can be found on the NPF website as well.
We haven't been amused like that since the Publius days.
Update March 2014: The Holy Church found out who the mystery woman is on the Fart Enjoy booklet and pinpointed the real date that the booklet was created (and that is quite a surprise). Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit: Smart Enjoy.
This post has been previously published at Felix Atagong's Unfinished Projects.