Sydbarrett-barrettWhere I dig into something I’ve not heard before, from the reviews section of old Mojo Magazines, on an irregular basis.

Syd Barrett
1970 – Harvest

I’m not much of a Pink Floyd fan, although I must say in recent years I feel that wall breaking down. Maybe it’s age, but even listening to some of the new, apparently final Pink Floyd album, I find a lot of it nice. Maybe it’s what someone my age does instead of buying jazz….later Pink Floyd.

What I do like about Pink Floyd was Syd Barrett. He’s easy to like. Firstly, he looked great. Syd in 1967 was as striking as any figure in popular music – that mess of hair, those deep eyes, those fancy shirts. Not to mention that wild, wild imagination.

Musically, I definitely could have spent more time with him. Piper At the Gates Of Dawn is never one of my go-to’s. I love ‘Bike‘. Somewhere along the line I picked up The Madcap Laughs and quite enjoyed it. I never got any further, and his second a technically last record Barrett passed me by. If that Crazy Diamond box set didn’t look so awful, I probably would have picked that up.

So what of Barrett? It seems widely accepted that this record is more of the Madcap Laughs style acoustic mumbling. The pair would make a nice twofer, and are both reviewed together in this issue of Mojo. It’s part of the very first proper reissue of Barrett’s stuff.

The record – a lot of it is very nice, and his random imagination is still spinning. But this feels more Daniel Johnson than Ray Davies – it’s more naive pop, not a craft master.

There is some lovely stuff, and top of the pile is ‘Gigolo Aunt‘. A bright, sparkling pop song that maybe could have been a chart hit like ‘See Emily Play‘ if it had been performed by steadier hands. ‘Baby Lemonade‘ and the other English weird folk stuff still taste the best. The blues-y jams…god. Utterly disposable. ‘Effervescing Elephant‘ – genius. Overall it’s a fine record, and that naivety gives it quite a lot of charm. And god knows I love obscure little quirky records such as this.

Poor Syd. I think I’ve always liked the story of Syd Barrett more than his music. He was barely functioning at this point, and there’s probably an awesome biopic in the works that tells the rest. I’m probably still going to reach for Madcap first, but it’s great to finally cover off many of these songs.