24 September 2015 (released)
24 September 2015
This not an easy ask – review a crossover between Pink Floyd and some of the most acclaimed Jam musicians around. I am a great fan of both but never in my dreams could I have imagined this.
Blue Floyd’s original lineup was Allen Moody on bass (Gov’t Mule & Allman Bros Band), Matt Abts on drums (Gov’t Mule & Dickie Betts), Marc Ford on guitar (The Black Crowes) Johnny Neel – Keyboards (Allman Bros Band) and Berry Oakley Jnr on bass (Allman Bros Band, Robbie Krieger and Bloodline) and at different times they added guys like Duane Betts (Dickey’s so) and Alex Orbison (Roy Orbison’s son) – so Jamband royalty. These three boxsets feature them playing the music they were patently not made for – the architectural and rigidly structured music of Pink Floyd. But somehow it works!
Not every track works, sometimes the metaphor is stretched to its limits and sometimes you just cry out for the originals, but when it does – oh wow!
Take their version of ‘Sheep’ from the Detroit album. The organ is wrong and the vocals lack the metallic timbre of Waters but then you move into their version of ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ and the synths and lightweight guitar make something utterly new of the track and give it a life that the original never did.
Or ‘HAL Intro/Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ from the Anaheim set where sound is changed slightly but the Hammond adds to the original and gives more of a sense of the schizophrenia behind Syd’s acid tinged demise.
All three sets have some remarkable playing and perfect matches to Pink Floyd’s music but equally there are some real turkeys – but that is the essence of jamming. If you aren’t taking risks and soaring free then it can’t work but sometimes you crash and burn.
On balance there is plenty here that soars free.