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Blue Floyd - Live at Birch Hill

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 11 / 11 / 2010

Blue Floyd - Live at Birch Hill
Label: Floating World Records
Format: CD Box


Inventive fourth album recorded live at a concert in 2000 from American supergroup Blue Floyd, who take Pink Floyd tracks and then improvise and rework them as blues, jazz and funk work-outs

The songs are all familiar- 'Another Brick in the Wall', 'Young Lust', 'Money' - but the versions are something altogether different. Blue Floyd is an American jam band in the tradition of the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band and groups like Widespread Panic. Uniquely they take the music of iconic British rock giants Pink Floyd and infuse it with blues, jazz and funk instrumental improvisation. The songs of Blue Floyd are at once Pink Floyd covers and yet something new. Blue Floyd has included various line-ups of well seasoned American musicians, including the late great Allen Woody of the Allman Brothers and Government Mule. 'Live at Birch Hill' captures a year 2000 USA concert. This is the fourth live Blue Floyd set to be released. According to the Allman Brothers Band website, 'Birch Hill' includes the line-up of Marc Ford from the Black Crowes, Duane Betts, Alex Orbison, Johnny Neel and Berry Oakley Jr. With 'Space/In the Flesh', Blue Floyd start out jamming- innovative and electric- true to the Pink Floyd sound, but with this band’s own original take and twists. The familiar lyric from 'The Wall' album is heard: “So you thought you might like to go to the show.” The band segues into 'Hey You' as the energy builds. The vocals aren’t as strong as Pink Floyd’s, but the songs are performed with a high level of musicianship. Particularly in the early going of the concert, the songs stay true to the Pink Floyd classics. As the show progresses, the takes become more and more blues based. On 'Interstellar Overdrive' drums pump, keyboards dance and guitars wail. The band next captures a beautiful rendition of 'Wish You Were Here'. The lyric is again instantly recognizable: “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year.” With great organ crescendos and stinging electric guitar solos, Blue Floyd progresses from the famed version of this this tune, as they depart into jamming out with inspiration. 'Money' starts out as a pure blues, almost unrecognizable until a ways in. Clearly some of these versions are more faithful than others to the originals. On 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' blues harmonica spices up the epic classic as Pink Floyd meets the blues. There is a soothing version of the lovely 'The Dark Side of the Moon' classic 'Us and Them', as well as a fine rendition of the gorgeous 'Fearless'- one of the highlights of the concert. The musicians flow seamlessly into one another. Meanwhile 'Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)' as an extended blues song (barely resembling the original) doesn’t work as well. Clearly this is not some faithful Pink Floyd cover band. It is distinctly Blue Floyd, an entity unto itself, using Pink Floyd as a springboard and simultaneously creating something new.

Track Listing:-
1 Space
2 In The Flesh
3 Hey You
4 Interstellar Overdrive
5 Wish You Were Here
6 Sheep
7 Money
8 Shine On You Crazy Diamond
9 Have A Cigar
10 Us & Them
11 Jam
12 Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
13 Drums
14 Percusion Jam
15 Bass Jam
16 Fearless
17 Another Brick In The Wall (Pt I)
18 Young Lust

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