ON THIS DATE (34 YEARS AGO)
May 25, 1978 – David Gilmour: David Gilmour is released in the UK (June 17, 1978 in the US).
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# Allmusic 2.5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
David Gilmour is the eponymous solo album from David Gilmour, released on this date in May 1978 in the UK and on 17 June 1978 in the US. The album reached #17 in the UK and #29 on the Billboard US album charts and was certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. The album was produced by Gilmour himself, and consists mostly of bluesy, guitar oriented rock songs except for the ballad “So Far Away”.
In an interview with Circus Magazine in 1978, Gilmour said this:
“This album (David Gilmour) was important to me in terms of self respect. At first I didn’t think my name was big enough to carry it. Being in a group for so long can be a bit claustrophobic, and I needed to step out from behind Pink Floyd’s shadow.”
The album was recorded at Super Bear Studios in France between December 1977 and early January 1978 with engineer John Etchells. Then the album was mixed at the same studio in March 1978 by Nick Griffiths. The cover was done by Hipgnosis and Gilmour.
Before David Gilmour virtually “became” Pink Floyd he was always the most likely member of the band (with the possible exception of de-facto leader Roger Waters) to release a solo album. 1978’s welcome eponymous debut showcased his multi-faceted performing talents.
The album opener “Mihalis” is an Animals period instrumental, which, along with “Raise My Rent,” sounds like an outtake from that album. The beautiful “There’s No Way Out of Here” begins with a lonely harmonica and, with “No Way” and “I Can’t Breathe Anymore,” expounds the album’s main theme of being trapped in an untenable situation. “Cry From the Streets” is a nod to the blues, while the lovely “So Far Away” harks back to the ballads of Obscured By Clouds. Almost a missing mid-period Floyd album, this solo effort is a must-have for all Pink Floyd fans.
ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW
In his work with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour’s exact, blues-based guitar solos function as tense pivotal points that set the stage for the next revelation. On his first solo album, however, Gilmour simply flirts with his own crystalline perfection. Drummer Willie Wilson (from the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver) and bassist Rick Wills (a ubiquitous hack from Frampton’s Camel, Roxy Music and the reconstituted Small Faces) are constrained to the sluggish tempos favored by Floyd, and Gilmour dives in like a duck to water. But the alien overview, the philosophical paradoxes that make Pink Floyd’s lazy playing so poignant and pregnant, are sorely missed here. Gilmour affects a bland innocence in the face of earthly perversity in lyrics barely worthy of Samuel Beckett’s shoeshine boy.
One cut stands out: “Short and Sweet,” coauthored by muckraker Roy Harper. A long-time Floyd ally–he sang the biting “Have a Cigar” on Wish You Were Here–Harper is widely regarded as the most uncompromisingly honest songwriter in England. Here, he articulates the existential riddle of David Gilmour better than Gilmour himself can.
There’s nothing amiss with David Gilmour as an immaculate guitar sampler, but as far as providing genuine ideas–forget it. (RS 273)
~ MICHAEL BLOOM (September 7, 1978)
All songs by David Gilmour except as noted.
“Mihalis” – 5:46
“There’s No Way Out of Here” (Ken Baker) – 5:08
“Cry from the Street” (Gilmour/Electra Stuart) – 5:13
“So Far Away” – 6:04
“Short and Sweet” (Gilmour/Roy Harper) – 5:30
“Raise My Rent” – 5:33
“No Way” – 5:32
“Deafinitely” – 4:27
“I Can’t Breathe Anymore” – 3:04