EMI’s compilation originally came out after Atom Heart Mother but before Meddle as a kind of stopgap. That this was an accountants’ move is borne out by the track list, which should have been a comprehensive round-up of singles, Bs and outtakes (eg where are “Apples and Oranges”, “Candy and a Current Bun”, “Point Me At the Sky”, “Scream Thy Last Scream”, “It Would Be So Nice”, “Vegetable Man”?). Excising album cuts “Interstellar Overdrive”, “Cirrus Minor”, “The Nile Song”, “Bike” and “Remember a Day” would have made space for the above (though the latter track was released as a single).*
Which is not to say Relics isn’t a good listen, it is; and, with the inclusion of “Interstellar Overdrive” (along with the similarly lengthy “Careful With That Axe, Eugene”, presented here in it’s b-side/studio version), it’s probably more representative of their psychedelic-era sound than a strictly 45s anthology would have been.
Sharp-eyed types will note that this is the original Starline issue of Relics, replete with textured cover and uncolored unlike later re-releases. And this VG+ gem was only a pound at the chazza this afternoon.
*It took 21 years for the album I’m proposing to come out and then it was a “bonus cd” on the Shine On box set called, somewhat prosaically if perfectly accurately, The Early Singles; note that there were no rarities on that disc, eg “Biding My Time” which featured on Relics.