From the Vault...


Syd Barrett

© Capitol/Harvest Records

Year of Release: 1988

track listing
  • Opel
  • Clowns And Jugglers
  • Rats
  • Golden Hair
    (Vocal Version)
  • Dolly Rocker
  • Word Song
  • Wined And Dined
  • Swan Lee (Silas Lang)
  • Birdie Hop
  • Let's Split
  • Lanky (Part 1)
  • Wouldn't You Miss Me
    (Dark Globe)
  • Milky Way
  • Golden Hair (Instrumental)

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    Syd Barrett

    Syd Barrett...Syd, with a y.
    Syd Barrett...original member of Pink Floyd.
    Syd Barrett...musical genius behind the success of the early Pink Floyd.
    Syd Barrett...proved that drugs can and will screw up your life.

    Released in 1988, Syd Barrett's Opel, is an album consisting of outtakes from his first two solo albums which were released in 1970. A box set was released in 1994, featuring both of his albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett, plus the outtakes and whatever else that was found, from a man who was the original guitarist/vocalist of Pink Floyd.

    As the success of Pink Floyd was forming in 1967, Syd Barrett would do what almost every rock artist did in the sixties: experiment with drugs. Unfortunately, such rock artists would die from drug overdoses, but Syd Barrett would not only live through his drug addiction, it cost him his "job" as a musician in Pink Floyd. As his drug habit worsened, he was kicked out of the band before their second album was released, replaced by David Gilmour. We could only imagine how such future albums by the Pink Floyd would have sounded, if Syd Barrett had not taken his drug addiction to its full potentials. The band's 1975 album, Wish You Were Here, was dedicated to the man who named the band, PINK FLOYD.

    The Opel album is 99.9% accoustical; like a Syd Barrett UNPLUGGED session. As any outtake album release may prove, is that outtakes are experimental; they are pieces that would lead to the final outcomes of songs to be released on a major released album. But by 1970, not only was Syd Barrett out of Pink Floyd, he was trying to accomplish a solo career. But, in listening to this album, (as well as his two solo albums), you can easily hear that his drug addiction had already taken its toll. Soon afterwards, he would spend time in a mental ward, and he remains in seclusion in Cambridge, England.

    With his very thick British accent, it is sometimes hard to understand his singing abilities. His vocals are sometimes way off-key, and at times his guitar playing doesn't match his vocals. And throughout some of the songs, he stops and tries to correct a verse or two, rambling his words on-and-on. Being strung out as he was, it was obvious just to let the tapes roll and try to salvage each song later for the final cut.

    There are 14 songs featured on Opel. Various songs are produced by his fellow Floyd bandmates, David Gilmour and Roger Waters. Two songs that can be considered the "best ones" are Lanky (Part 1), and the instrumental Golden Hair. The key word for both of these songs is that they are instrumentals. How anyone can tolerate Syd Barrett's vocal style in his post-drug syndrome is beyond anyone's imagination. Syd Barrett was truly unique with Pink Floyd. But like the TV commercial that says This is your brains on drugs..., this easily describes Syd Barrett's career as a solo singer.

    Syd Barrett is still alive today, however Roger Barrett (his real name, as he his called now) has put his rock 'n' roll days behind him. He hasn't played a musical instrument in years. When approached by reporters asking about his involvement with Pink Floyd, he refuses to even talk about it.

    Syd Barrett...because of drugs, it ruined his life.
    Syd Barrett...because of drugs, his solo albums were terrible.
    Syd Barrett...because of drugs, he gave up rock 'n' roll.

    UPDATE, 2006: After suffering from diabetes for several years, Barrett died at his home in Cambridge on 7 July 2006. He was 60 years old. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

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    Previous Review: #555
    Edgar Winter Group--They Only Come Out At Night
    Next Review: #557