""Works" is a collection of early Pink Floyd tracks from 1967 to 1973, and although the material chosen for the disc is all excellent---from the rare Syd Barrett-era singles "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play," to "Dark Side Of The Moon" favorites "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse"---the main reason for adding "Works" to your Floyd collection is the rare song, "Embryo," not available anywhere else but here (unlike the Syd Barrett singles, which you can also find on the CD, "Relics"). "Embryo" is a truly gorgeous song, a great Floyd buried treasure. Strangely enough, though, the band has always claimed that this song was never actually finished, a claim which seems to be proven true by the live bootleg recording of it I've heard. On record, "Embryo" is a soft, tranquil number. Live in concert, it was a powerful, amped-up rocker, featuring some awesome electric guitar by David Gilmour. Even so, this "embryonic" studio version of "Embryo" remains a hauntingly beautiful song, and one that demands to be added to your Floyd collection right now. "Works" isn't really an essential purchase for the casual Pink Floyd listener, but for the diehard fan, "Embryo" alone makes this CD a definite must-have."
The review directly beneath me is erroneous.
Alan Caylow | 07/17/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"After dark side of the moon was recorded in 1973, the floyd was lured to another record company away from capital records for bigger money. They'd been with capital for all their early works.Capital records, still owning the rights on all music dark side and earlier, decided to cash in on Floyd's new found fame by releasing a compilation. "Works" was done without Pink Floyd's input, nor did any band members receive any dividends from sale. It is strictly a Capital Records investment. And to many diehard floydians, it's blasphemy because not only did Capital do it on their own, they remixed many of the tracks, such as Brain Damage.Again, without the Floyd's consent."
Comes Close to Repeating the "Relics" Package
Bud | Seminole, Texas, USA | 08/17/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A 1983 compilation from Pink Floyd, "Works" comes too close to repeating the track selection purposes of a previous best-of/gems package, 1971's "Relics." Singles 'Arnold Layne' and 'See Emily Play' had already been included on the former compilation, while 'Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun' represents the album "Saucerful of Secrets," which had already been represented on "Relics." But there are a few tracks here that suggest "Works" could have been turned into a collection to document Pink Floyd's 1971-73 era (as "Relics" represented the 1967-71 years). Such tracks are 'Brain Damage' and 'Eclipse' (from 1973's "Dark Side of the Moon," here in an alternate mix), 'Fearless' (from 1971's "Meddle"), and 'Free Four' (from the 1972 soundtrack album "Obscured by Clouds"). 'Embryo' is a track left off of 1969's "Ummagumma," which was also represented here with the highly experimental 'Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict.' Perhaps "Works" could have been a record of Pink Floyd's era with the Harvest label, sprinkled with alternate and unreleased tracks."
"Relics, Part Two"
A Hermit | Southwestern Pa. | 02/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There isn't a lot to say about this record, positive or negative, that the previous reviewers haven't said already, this is a sampler of some choice material by the first two incarnations of Pink Floyd, the Syd Barrett era, and the earliest post-Barrett era. "Arnold Layne," and "See Emily Play," stand up well after all these years of decimation to the whole music business (two words that have nothing to do with each other, if you think about it) by the very type of people who helped fuel Barrett's breakdown. Some of it was self-administered, but all that pressure to remain this Pop Icon, in such a destructive atmosphere, is enough to push just about anybody over the edge. And I think I speak for all REAL Pink Floyd fans when I say, I wish Syd Barrett well.
What makes this such an excellent audio experience, as noted elsewhere, is the reformatting of the material, the subtle changes in the mixes and arrangements, and how the running order takes the listener foreward and backward through time, all the while avoiding the overplayed commercial numbers; really, as good as "Money" is, it was a very wise decision to keep this type of material off. The early singles by Barrett, though "Pop" singles, were of the earliest period of the band's success, and they are a reminder of what fueled their initial rise up the charts, circa 1967, and they do fit in here. Justaposing "Speak To Me" onto "One Of These Days" is a clever move, just a little garnish of another song cycle to spice it up, beginning this set in the same method as "Dark Side," and it's a tasteful touch. Fading the cheering soccer fans' singing "You'll Never Walk Alone," which is the outro to "Fearless", into the opening guitar line of "Brain Damage (I still say it should've been called "The Lunatic" or "The Dark Side Of The Moon," far better titles, in my opinion)," sounds like a radio station played the two songs in a row, the seamless segue always a selling point of Floyd records, works here, as usual.
As well as remixing the tracks, one thing about this disc that helps it, is the superior sound of all the material. Original vinyl pressings of "Meddle," as good a record as that is, and others, for that matter, sound "muddy." So, in this set, all the material leaps out of your speakers with such clarity, the resultant sound is huge, and impressive.
Closing this set with the previously unreleased "Embryo," seems like an anticlimax, because of it's soft, rambling nature, but it IS, after all, early Floyd. This selection remained in the vault for so long, because it was intended for inclusion on "Ummagumma," but it just didn't fit into the format of that LP. Reissued on CD, with the same running order as the original LP, this becomes obvious upon listening to it; Disc One is taken from two excellent live shows, and Disc Two is self-indulgent studio experiments. Written by Roger Waters, sung by David Gilmour, and played collectively by the whole band in the studio at the time, it just didn't work. So, it sat in the vault, unfinished for fourteen years, until the right time came to release it. And sadly, this was at a time when Roger Waters publicly called the band "creatively dead." But "A Momentary Lapse Of Reason" turned the band into the fabled Phoenix, with the reinstating of Rick Wright, who left the band after creative and professional differences with Waters, and the next chapter of this legendary, trail-blazing, band of pioneers was set in motion.
In all, "Works" is a great-sounding, interesting collection of what I would call, "Works.""
Only CD release of Embryo
P. J. Walstra | 10/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I would tend to agree with most reviewers that this compilation is not the strongest the record company could come up with. It has some tracks that are also on Relics, which doesn't make sense. I give this one 3 stars though as it has a different mix of Brain Damage & Eclipse and contains the only official release of 'Embryo'. This version appeared by mistake on a Harvest sampler album called 'Picnic - A Breath Of Fresh Air' and hadn't been released since. Embryo was played live at many Pink Floyd concerts in the early 70's but then in an electric version - very different from the acoustic version you'll find here."