Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
Side 2 of the LP has 4 tracks on it, and the idea is roughly the same as for the second LP of “Ummagumma” [see above], in that with the exception of the final track and the drummer, Nick Mason, each member contributes one piece. Each of the first 3 tracks is utterly brilliant, in its own way.
Track 1 is “If”, one of the shortest titles I know, and is the Roger Waters song. Two years earlier on the very first Fairport Convention album there is a track called “If (Stomp)”, which was also released as 5the B side of the band’s first single “If I Had A Ribbon Bow”,
but the two songs could not be more different. The stomp is indeed a stomp, but the Floyd song is an intensely soft and gentle thing of immense beauty. Roger sings the lyrics very quietly, kicking off with “If I were a swan, I’d be gone”. Dave Gilmour adds some extremely sensitive electric guitar, in his inimitable way, and the whole thing just flows like a tricking stream on a hot summers day; great stuff.
Track 2 is the Rick Wright song, and despite its basic simplicity, this is one of my favourite songs of all time. It is called “Summer ’68”, and is actually all about a groupie (being a girl throwing herself at a pop musician for sex). It has always entranced me from the opening piano break, which is a straight five semitone chord progression, but done uniquely in a way that to me is positively magical. This theme is improvised on in various ways throughout, including a jazzy middle 8, but the whole thing gells together in an ecstatic way. Rick sings the song with an intensity not quite bordering on regret, tinged with a hint of sweet nostalgic poignance, and this song always moves me in a manner quite unlike any other.
This is the back cover of the LP: