Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
In the previous PF post I mentioned that 1969 is my favourite year. It was also a uniquely prolific year for prog rock. It was the only year in which the classic line-up of the Moody Blues released 2 LPs, the only year in which Fairport Convention released three and Led Zeppelin two; it was also the only year in which Pink Floyd released two albums. We have already seen that the first of these was “More”. The second was a double LP called “Ummagumma”; it was the very first Pink Floyd record I was ever aware of.
It seems that with the possible exception of the late Rick Wright, the band were still trying to come to terms with what they were trying to do. Dave Gilmour was probably the first to succeed, developing a brilliant, unique guitar style where his solos have been described as “sheets of sound”, which virtually defined prog rock for a decade.
On 14 April the band played a gig at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Nick and Roger were into the presentation side of things, whereas Rick and Dave concentrated on the music; this proved to be a very successful recipe for a stage show.
Work on “Ummagumma” had started early in the year, and the original idea was that it would be released in March. In fact, it turned out to be so atypical in terms of what EMI (the record company) were expecting, that it did not get released until October 1969. This delay was very fortunate; originally it was a single studio recorded LP, but when the time came for its release it had a second live LP added to it, because EMI thought it would prevent buyers feeling ripped off. It was also issued at a “budget” price, and sold far better than anyone expected.