Various Artists- Backs Against The Wall (Purple Pyramid)
review by Jim Clark

Disc 1

1. In The Flesh?
2. The Thin Ice
3. Another Brick In The Wall pt 1
4. The Happiest Days Of OurLives
5. Another Brick In The Wall pt 2
6. Mother
7. Goodbye Blue Sky
8. Empty Spaces
9. Young Lust
10. One Of My Turns
11. Don’t Leave Me Now
12. Another Brick In The Wall pt 3
13. Goodbye Cruel World

Disc 2
1. Hey You
2. Is There Anybody Out There?
3. Nobody Home
4. Vera
5. Bring The Boys Back Home
6. Comfortably Numb
7. The Show Must Go On
8. In The Flesh
9. Run Like Hell
10. Waiting For The Worms
11. Stop
12. The Trial
13. Outside The Wall




At best, tribute albums are something that I only listen to a handful of times until the novelty wears off and I find myself pulling out the original release. At worst, tribute albums are utter shit that ruin completely good songs and make me regret ever hearing them.

Fortunately for the latest Pink Floyd tribute, Back Against The Wall, it falls into the former category. Former Yes sidekick Billy Sherwood has assembled quite an impressive of musicians from the prog rock field to play on Roger Waters’ masterpiece, The Wall. Indeed, the lineup on this release is a virtual who’s who of progressive and classic rock – Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, Alan White and Steve Howe from Yes; Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull; Adrian Belew and Tony Levin from King Crimson; John Wetton from King Crimson/Asia/UK; Geoff Downes from Yes/Asia; Robby Krieger from the Doors; Tommy Shaw from Styx; Ronnie Montrose from Montrose; John Giblin from the Kinks; Fee Waybill from the Tubes; Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro from Toto; Steve Morse from Dixie Dregs/Deep Purple/Kansas and Larry Fast from Synergy, among others. So Sherwood deserves some definite credit for pulling this top-notch corps of musicians together.

And while most of the songs stay faithful to the originals found on the 1979 classic, some of these musicians add their own touches. “Another Brick In The Wall pt 2” moves at a faster pace with Waybill delivering a wild vocal and Montrose a fiery solo. Sherwood and Squire take over the vocals on “Comfortably Numb” and Sherwood even alters that song’s arrangement somewhat. But by the time “Comfortably Numb” comes around on disc two, I find myself wanting to hear David Gilmour’s classic guitar solo or Waters emotive voice. And it makes me realize that despite some great performances on this tribute, none of them live up to the originals. Honestly, none come even close.

Still, Sherwood and all involved do show a caring and respect for Pink Floyd’s work and nobody here embarrasses themselves, something very common on tributes. So as far as tribute CD’s go, you can do a lot worse than picking up this one. But you’d do even better by just listening to the original.    

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