Although On An island is a great David Gilmour solo album, his best solo album is his first album, simply entitled David Gilmour.
David Gilmour was released in May 1978 in the UK and on June 17, 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.
David Gilmour was recorded at Super Bear Studios in France between December 1977 and early January 1978 with engineer John Etchells. It was mixed at the same studio in March 1978 by Nick Griffiths. The cover was designed by Hipgnosis and David Gilmour.
The tracks are:
Mihalis – 6.00
There’s No Way Out of Here (Ken Baker) – 5:24
Cry from the Street (David Gilmour/Eric Stuart) – 5:18
So Far Away – 6:12
Short and Sweet (David Gilmour/Roy Harper) – 5:33
Raise My Rent – 5:49)
No Way – 6:14)
It’s Deafinitely – 4:29)
I Can’t Breathe Anymore – 3:40)
All songs by David Gilmour except as noted.
A five song promotional film was made to promote the album. The band comprised Gilmour himself on guitars and vocals plus the two musicians on the album (bass player Rick Wills and drummer Willie Wilson) plus David Gilmour’s brother Mark on rhythm guitar and Ian McLagen on keyboards and performed “Mihalis”, “There’s No Way Out of Here”, “So Far Away”, “No Way” and “I Can’t Breathe Anymore”. There were additional female backing singers on “There’s No Way Out of Here” and “So Far Away”. The performances of the tracks in the promotional film differed to the album versions.
“Mihalis” had an extended ending guitar solo.
“There’s No Way Out of Here” was slightly shorter as one of the verses was deleted but the ending guitar solo was different from that on the album and had a clean ending instead of fading out like on album version.
The track “So Far Away” had an extended ending guitar solo on this performance and ended in a faster tempo than the album version.
The performance of the song “No Way” had Gilmour playing regular lead guitar solos at the end of the track on his Fender Esquire (with distortion) instead of the lap steel guitar solos (with distortion) that had appeared on the album version and had a clean ending instead of fading out like on the album (the remastered CD version of the album had Gilmour’s lap steel solo extended this time to feature a duel between himself playing high notes on his lap steel and lower notes on his trademark Stratocaster during the fadeout on the remaster). The middle part of the album version, for where the first of two lap steel guitar solos were on the album version, was deleted.
“I Can’t Breathe Anymore” had Gilmour playing a regular guitar solo at the end of this song’s performance whilst on the album version (and on the remastered CD in an extended coda), a distorted lap steel guitar countered the ending guitar solo. The ending of the promo performance of “I Can’t Breathe Anymore” was longer than on the album.
And that’s David Gilmour for you. Arguably, it’s David Gilmour’s best solo album.
David Gilmour © R J Dent (2010)