breath of fresh air

Picnic - A Breath of Fresh Air

Picnic - A Breath of Fresh Air is a sampler issued by the Harvest Records label, originally released in 1970 and is remarkable for including the full-length version of the unreleased Pink Floyd song, "Embryo".

A Breath Of Fresh Air - A Harvest Records Anthology 1969 - 1974,, released on 14 May 2007 this borrowed most of the original title, but had only three tracks in common with its precursor (Pink Floyd's Embryo, Panama Limited's Round and Round, and Quatermass' Black Sheep of the Family). Although most tracks featured were of similar vintage, the album was a retrospective compilation, rather than a promotional sampler.


EMI as a record label did not generally have a reputation for taking risks; however, having seen that progressive music had become popular, the niche Harvest label was launched in 1969 to take advantage of that market. As with many record labels at the time, a budget-priced showcase album of their artists was produced. This was Picnic, and Harvest's roster of artists was large and interesting enough to support a double album retailing at 29s/11d (approximately £1.50/$3.00 in 2007). The result was an eclectic mixture of traditional folk, hard rock, psychedelia and the wilfully obscure.

The 1970 Release Track Listing

Side One

  1. "Into The Fire" (Blackmore/Lord/Paice/Gillan/Glover) - Deep Purple (from LP "In Rock" SHVL 777)
  2. "Mother Dear" (Barclay James Harvest) - Barclay James Harvest (from LP "Barclay James Harvest" SHVL 770)
  3. "Embryo" (Waters) - Pink Floyd (no attribution; previously unreleased)
  4. "Twisted Track" (Spedding/Brown) - The Battered Ornaments (from LP "Mantle-Piece" SHVL 758)
  5. "Glenlogie" (Trad. arr. S. & D. Collins) - Shirley & Dolly Collins (from LP "Love Death and The Lady" SHVL 771)

Side Two

  1. "The Good Mr Square" (May/Waller) - Pretty Things (from LP "Parachute)" SHVL 774)
  2. "Song Of The Ages" (H. Ash) - Roy Harper (from LP "Flat Baroque and Berserk" SHVL 766)
  3. "This Worried Feeling" (Clempson/Poole) - Bakerloo (from LP "Bakerloo" SHVL 762)
  4. "Eleanor's Cake Which Ate Her" (Ayers) - Kevin Ayers (from LP "Joy of a Toy" SHVL 763)
  5. "Again and Again" (Watt/Roy) - The Greatest Show On Earth (from LP "Horizons" SHVL 769)

Side Three

  1. "Water" (Coff/Minns/Smith/Sweeney) - Third Ear Band (from LP "Third Ear Band" SHVL 773)
  2. "Terrapin" (Barrett) - Syd Barrett (from LP "The Madcap Laughs" SHVL 765)
  3. "A Glade Somewhere" (Welham/Allenby/Welham) - Forest (from LP "Forest" SHVL 760)
  4. "Golden Country Kingdom" (Brown/Mullen) - Pete Brown & Piblokto! (from LP "Things May Come and Things May Go But The Art School Dance Goes On Forever" SHVL 768)
  5. "Round and Round" (W.Shade) - Panama Limited (from LP "Panama Limited Jug Band" SHVL 753)

Side Four

  1. "Black Sheep of the Family" (Hammond) - Quatermass (from "Quatermass" SHVL 775)
  2. "Postcards of Scarborough" (Chapman) - Michael Chapman (from LP "Fully Qualified Survivor" SHVL 764)
  3. "Maybe My Mind (With Egg)" (Daw/Phillips) - Tea & Symphony (from LP "An Asylum For The Musically Insane" SHVL 761)
  4. "Old Gopher" (S. Broughton) - Edgar Broughton Band (from LP "Sing Brother Sing" SHVL 772)

The 2007 Release Track Listing

Disc One

  1. "Evil" - Edgar Broughton Band
  2. "Listen Learn Read On" - Deep Purple (from The Book of Taliesyn 1968)
  3. "Druid One" - Third Ear Band
  4. "Station Song" - Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments
  5. "Rainmaker" - Michael Chapman
  6. "Singing A Song In The Morning" - Kevin Ayers
  7. "Foresaking Our Captain Cried" - Shirley and Dolly Collins
  8. "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" - Pink Floyd (single b-side)
  9. "Armchair Theatre" - Tea and Symphony
  10. "Big Bear Ffolly" - Bakerloo
  11. "Round And Round" - Panama Ltd. Jug Band
  12. "Octopus" - Syd Barrett (from The Madcap Laughs 1970)
  13. "Painter" - Deep Purple
  14. "Country Morning" - Pete Brown & Piblokto!
  15. "Francesca" - Roy Harper
  16. "Bad Penny" - Forest
  17. "Backwood" - Chris Spedding
  18. "Real Cool World" - Greatest Show On Earth
  19. "Breathe" - Roger Waters and Ron Geesin (from Music from "The Body" 1970)
  20. "Taking Some Time On "- Barclay James Harvest

Disc Two

  1. "There's No Vibrations But Wait" - Edgar Broughton Band
  2. "Soulful Lady" - Michael Chapman
  3. "Entropy" - Quatermass
  4. "Black Sheep Of The Family" - Quatermass
  5. "Grass" - Pretty Things
  6. "Salisbury Plain" - Shirley & Dolly Collins
  7. "Embryo" - Pink Floyd
  8. "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" - Dave Mason
  9. "Speed King" - Deep Purple
  10. "Magic Woman Touch" - Greatest Show On Earth
  11. "Aeroplane Head Woman" - Pete Brown & Piblokto!
  12. "Baby Lemonade" - Syd Barrett
  13. "Don't You Grieve" - Roy Harper
  14. "October 26" - Pretty Things
  15. "Song From The Bottom Of A Well" - Kevin Ayers
  16. "First Leaf Of Autumn" - Michael Chapman
  17. "Call Me A Liar" - Edgar Broughton Band

Disc Three

  1. "She Said" - Barclay James Harvest
  2. "South Africa" - Roy Harper
  3. "Evening Over Rooftops" - Edgar Broughton Band
  4. "Do Ya" - The Move
  5. "When The City Sleeps" - Bombadil
  6. "Lady Rachel" - Kevin Ayers (from Joy of a Toy 1969)
  7. "10538 Overture" - ELO
  8. "The City (Part Three)" - Mark-Almond
  9. "Spaceship" - Spontaneous Combustion
  10. "Macbeth" - Third Ear Band
  11. "Fresh Air" - Jan Akkerman
  12. "Twelve Hours Of Sunset" - Roy Harper
  13. "Wells Fargo" - Babe Ruth
  14. "Showdown" - ELO
  15. "Jet Silver And The Dolls Of Venus" - Be Bop Deluxe

The Album Cover

It has been pointed out elsewhere (You Can All Join In, Bumpers, El Pea) that sampler album covers are not necessarily kind to the musicians involved; in the case of Picnic this is taken to a new level; none of the artists are portrayed in any way whatsoever. The front and rear of the gatefold show a group of people wearing World War II gas masks sitting in sand dunes: there is a dead bird on the sand. The interior of the sleeve is a little more accessible: covers of the albums (or most of them) from which the tracks are taken are shown, against the background of an incoming sea tide, with a family walking across the sands - all of this in a washed out monochrome. The cover design and photographs are credited to Hipgnosis, later to become famous for their progressive rock album cover designs.


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