AN INTRODUCTION TO SYD BARRETT
On November 9, Capitol/EMI released An Introduction To Syd Barrett, a brand new collection bringing together for the first time the tracks of Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett on one compilation.
David Gilmour, who originally worked on Syd Barrett's two solo albums, as co-producer of The Madcap Laughs and as producer of Barrett, is the executive producer for the album. Damon Iddins and Andy Jackson at Astoria Studios have remixed five tracks including ‘Octopus,’ ‘She Took A Long Cool Look,’ ‘Dominoes,’ and ‘Here I Go,’ with David Gilmour adding bass guitar to the last track. Pink Floyd's ‘Matilda Mother’ also receives a fresh 2010 Mix.
Brand new artwork, including a 20-page booklet with brand-new graphics and all lyrics, was provided by long time Pink Floyd associate Storm Thorgerson and his estimable studio.
THE ALBUM COVER
Storm Thorgerson on the Album Cover:
"I think the principal thing about Syd which we wanted to represent or echo in the album cover was the richness and spontaneity of Syd's imagination. Notwithstanding the many theories and stories of his complex personality, erratic behaviour and subsequent decline, however sad and difficult the life, the creative output was plentiful and incandescent for a time, vivid and poignant by turns. This basic aspect informed the idea to 'illustrate' the songs, dedicate a page to each lyric and be, simply, ample and colourful.
Sometimes the illustrations were intended to be straightforward, at others more tenuous; some are graphic, some more pictorial, in order to reflect (albeit continuously falling short) the mischievous, essentially quirky quality of Syd: often a bit weird, often disarmingly direct - a bike is a bike, a cat is a cat, but their characters are imbued with unexpected color and a touch of lightness, deft, obvious nearly, but seemingly revelatory, both catchy and magical;
I got a bike you can ride it if you like
It’s got a basket and a bell and it looks good.
Three lead images, including the front cover, attempt to describe Syd and his work - the mirror that isn’t a mirror, reflections which are both insubstantial yet revealing, are they imagined or real? meaningful or fleeting? a virtual or transient scenario like Syd's 'hovering twixt fairytale and disturbance.
A swan, representing creativity, escaping explosively from the strait-laced confines of upbringing and education (the school desk) seemed an appropriate representation of Syd's burgeoning talent.
The feather trees refer possibly to 3 stages in Syd’s development - firstly the exuberance of youth, secondly success with Floyd, and thirdly the solo years dogged by uncertainty and a growing darkness. This illustration began as 3 birds but they flew away leaving feathers, whose fragility and elegance suggested an autumnal sadness, a sadness we all experience for the loss."
Born in Cambridge in 1946, Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett was the primary songwriter, guitarist and original lead vocalist in [the first incarnation of] Pink Floyd. He formed the band in the mid-1960s with drummer Nick Mason, bassist Roger Waters and keyboard-player Richard Wright. With their groundbreaking, semi-improvised sets at the legendary UFO Club in London's Tottenham Court Road, they became the prime movers of British psychedelia.
Barrett wrote the warped pop vignettes ‘Arnold Layne’ and ‘See Emily Play,’ the group's two hit singles from 1967, as well as 'Apples And Oranges,' and the lion's share of the material – the dreamy ‘Matilda Mother,’ ‘Chapter 24,’ and the whimsical ‘Bike’ – on their debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Recorded at EMI's famed Abbey Road Studios while the Beatles were making Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd's first album has proved an enduring classic, referenced by everyone from David Bowie to Spiritualized via The Damned.
Barrett contributed ‘Jugband Blues’ to A Saucerful Of Secrets, the band's follow-up, but his behaviour became increasingly erratic and he left in April 1968, a few months after the addition to the group of his Cambridge friend David Gilmour on guitar and vocals.
Syd Barrett's first solo album, The Madcap Laughs, was a long time coming but made the Top 40 on its release in January 1970. Barrett followed in November that year, and contains tracks such as ‘Baby Lemonade’ and ‘Gigolo Aunt’ that provided the names for two cult US groups in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Over the last four decades, Syd Barrett has become the ultimate rock enigma. In 1975, he paid an eerie visit to his former band mates at Abbey Road while they were recording ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond,’ the centrepiece of the Wish You Were Here album he had inspired. He never entered a studio again. In 2001, he was the subject of a BBC Omnibus documentary.
He died in July 2006 but his legacy lives on in the music of R.E.M., Robyn Hitchcock, Julian Cope, Spiritualized, Blur and countless other groups. Da Capo Press just published Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head, an exhaustive biography by a music writer with unprecedented access to Barrett’s family and friends, Rob Chapman.
1. ARNOLD LAYNE Pink Floyd
2. SEE EMILY PLAY Pink Floyd
3. APPLES AND ORANGES (Stereo Version) Pink Floyd
4. MATILDA MOTHER (2010 Mix) Pink Floyd
5. CHAPTER 24 Pink Floyd
6. BIKE Pink Floyd
7. TERRAPIN Syd Barrett
8. LOVE YOU Syd Barrett
9. DARK GLOBE Syd Barrett
10. HERE I GO Syd Barrett (2010 Remix)
11. OCTOPUS Syd Barrett (2010 Mix)
12. SHE TOOK A LONG COOL LOOK Syd Barrett (2010 Mix)
13. IF IT'S IN YOU Syd Barrett
14. BABY LEMONADE Syd Barrett
15. DOMINOES Syd Barrett (2010 Mix)
16. GIGOLO AUNT Syd Barrett
17. EFFERVESCING ELEPHANT Syd Barrett
18. BOB DYLAN BLUES Syd Barrett
An interesting addition to An Introduction To Syd Barrett is the previously unreleased 20-minute instrumental 'Rhamadan.' Produced by former manager Peter Jenner, it's rumoured to include congas by Steve Peregrine Took of Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is to be offered as an extra track with the CD, via a dedicated web page, and the iTunes version of the album. Once again, Damon Iddins & Andy Jackson mixed it in 2010.
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