With Syd Barrett's unpredictability on stage reaching the point of embarrassment for the band, Pink Floyd forged ahead into 1968 with fellow Cambridge guitarist and friend David Gilmour in tow. Driven by pressure from EMI for another hit, they first released a single, "It Would Be So Nice" b/w "Julia Dream" in April, but it was mostly throwaway. The album, A Saucerful of Secrets, however fared much better.
Caravan's history begins as half of The Wilde Flowers - the hotbed of musical proclivity that it was - that originated in Canterbury, Kent. (Soft Machine, of course, was the other half ). With its members drifting both in and out of the band and the continent (France was the popular destination), the Wilde Flowers ranks were constantly revolving. At some point, the reigns were left to guitarist Pye Hastings and drummer Richard Coughlan. Adding cousins Richard and Dave Sinclair, bass and keyboards respectively, they eventually transmogrified into Caravan in early 1968.
Fairport Convention got its start in the same London underground as their more psychedelic counterparts and eventually became England's first (and finest) electric folk-rock band. Fairport too was absorbing their influences, considerably West Coast (The Byrds) with the requisite Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell covers. Their debut is a pleasant and gentle affair that showcased the talents of guitarists Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol. In particular, "Sun Shade" and "The Lobster" portend the King Crimson debut in some respects - except of course, Mellotron.
Family centered on the talents of guitarist Charlie Whitney and vocalist Roger Chapman, and found early acceptance in the London underground scene. The pair was originally in the Leicester-based Farinas, along with sax/flute player Jim King and bassist Rick Grech. American producer Kim Fowley gave them their name, a reference to their “mafia” appearance. Rob Townsend arrived on drums and after recording one single for the Liberty label they were signed by Reprise.