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Ummagumma

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Ummagumma
Ummagumma
Released October 25, 1969
Recorded 1969
Genre Progressive Rock
Length 86:11
Label Harvest, EMI
Producer(s) Pink Floyd, Norman Smith
Ummagumma is a progressive and psychedelic double album by Pink Floyd released in 1969. The first disc is a live album of their major hits of the time while the second one contains individual compositions of each member of the band.

Background

Ummagumma is a double album. One disc was recorded live at Mothers Club, Birmingham, on April 27, 1969 and the following week at Manchester College of Commerce, on May 2; the other included four solo segments, one half-side of vinyl each by David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason and Roger Waters.

The album was released in the UK on October 25, 1969 and then in the USA on November 10. The album would reach #5 on the UK album charts and #74 on the US album charts, marking the first time the band reached the top 100 in the US. The album was certified Gold in the US in February, 1974 and Platinum in March, 1994.

In 1987, the album was re-released on a two CD set. A digitally re-mastered version was released in 1994 in the UK and 1995 in the US. Neither CD release includes the picture of Waters' first wife, which had appeared on the inner-gatefold sleeve of the original vinyl issue.

The cover of the original LP varies between the British (and Canadian) and American releases. The British version has the album Gigi leaning against the wall immediately above the 'Pink Floyd' letters. On the original American album version, however, this was airbrushed to a plain white sleeve, apparently because of copyright concerns (though the Gigi cover appears in US CD version's booklet). Inside the cover is a picture of David Gilmour in front of the Elfin Oak. The rear cover (or cover of the Live Album) shows the band's equipment laid out on a runway at Biggin Hill Airfield.

Personnel

  • Roger Waters - bass guitar, guitar and vocals on "Grantchester Meadows", all tape effects on "Several Species…"
  • David Gilmour - vocals, guitar, all instruments and vocals on "The Narrow Way" (guitars, vocals, keyboards, drums and bass guitar)
  • Richard Wright - keyboards, vocals, all instruments on "Sysyphus" (keyboards, drums, guitar and voices)
  • Nick Mason - drums, percussion, all instruments on "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" (except flute)*

with

  • Lindy Mason (then Mason's wife) - Flute (uncredited)

Miscellanea

  • The title Ummagumma comes from a British slang word for sexual intercourse.
  • The album is the last to feature photos of the band members on the outer cover. They are seated in the order, from front-to-back, of Gilmour (in his bare feet), Waters, Mason and Wright. In each successive "reflection" in the upper-left corner, they move each band member forward one space, with the front-most member going to the back. On the US album (with the airbrushed Gigi cover), in the smallest "reflection", with Wright in the foreground, instead of another "reflection" the cover of A Saucerful of Secrets appears. On the UK version, the "reflection" has Gilmour in the front once again.
  • Until the release of The Division Bell, Ummagumma was the only Pink Floyd studio album to feature a female instrumentalist. Lindy, Nick Mason's wife at the time, played flute on parts 1 and 3 of "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party". Part 3 is amongst the shortest Pink Floyd studio recordings ever released; only "Stop" 0:32, from The Wall, and "A New Machine, Part 2" 0:38, from A Momentary Lapse of Reason, are of equal or shorter length.

Track Listing

Live Disc - Disc One

  1. "Astronomy Domine" – 8:29
  2. "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" – 8:50
  3. "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" – 9:12
  4. "A Saucerful of Secrets" – 12:48

Studio Disc - Disc Two

  1. "Sysyphus Part 1" (Wright) – (1:03) 4:29
  2. "Sysyphus Part 2" (Wright) – (3:30) 1:49
  3. "Sysyphus Part 3" (Wright) – (1:49) 3:07
  4. "Sysyphus Part 4" (Wright) – (6:59) 3:38
  5. "Grantchester Meadows" (Waters) – 7:26
  6. "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" (Waters) – 4:59
  7. "The Narrow Way Part 1" (Gilmour) – 3:27
  8. "The Narrow Way Part 2" (Gilmour) – 2:53
  9. "The Narrow Way Part 3" (Gilmour) – 5:57
  10. "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party Part 1: Entrance" (Mason) – 1:00
  11. "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party Part 2: Entertainment" (Mason) – 7:06
  12. "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party Part 3: Exit" (Mason) – 0:38

On the original vinyl release, "The Narrow Way" and "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" were single tracks. On the remastered re-release, Part 1 of "Sysyphus" was split into two tracks and labelled "Part 1" and "Part 2". Part 2 on vinyl became "Part 3" on CD, while "Part 4" of the re-release consists of Parts 3 and 4 ("Part 4" beginning with the large orchestral thud). Original track times are listed in brackets above. The band had also recorded a live version of "Interstellar Overdrive" (from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn), intended for placement on the live album. The track was dropped at the last minute, most likely to maintain the sound fidelity of the record, but numerous bootlegs were given to friends of the band including John Peel.

Quotes

"What was your inspiration for The Narrow Way (on Ummagumma) your first major Floyd composition?"

"Well, we'd decided to make the damn album, and each of us to do a piece of music on our own... it was just desperation really, trying to think of something to do, to write by myself. I'd never written anything before, I just went into a studio and started waffling about, tacking bits and pieces together. I haven't heard it in years. I've no idea what it's like." - David Gilmour - Sounds "Guitar Heroes" Magazine, May 1983
"What do you think of your early records like Atom Heart Mother and Ummagumma today?"

"I think both are pretty horrible. Well, the live disc of Ummagumma might be all right, but even that isn't recorded well." - David Gilmour - German news magazine "Der Spiegel" No. 23 - June 5, 1995
"When you listen to Ummagumma, you get the feeling that each one of you is doing his own music, not caring much about the others."

"That's right. I can't be precise, but we were very individualistic at the time." - Nick Mason - March 1973



"The back of Ummagumma comes from something Nick Mason did." - Storm Thorgerson - Guitar World - February 1998

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