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SYD BARRETT

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Syd Barrett biography
Roger Keith Barrett - 6 January 1946 (Cambridge, UK) - 7 July 2006

SYD BARRETT is very famous in the world of prog for helping found space/psychadelia prog giants, PINK FLOYD, and adding his unique vocals and lyrics to their classic debut album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". SYD BARRETT started to develop an unstable mental state and was unable to perform properly on stage or contribute much to the band any more. SYD BARRETT had to leave PINK FLOYD after contributing only one song to PINK FLOYD's second album, "A Saucerful of Secrets". This track, "Jugband Blues" was placed as the last track and served as a nice farewell and good luck song. The albums in this profile show what Syd did after his departure from PINK FLOYD.

His solo career was to be as short as his time in PINK FLOYD, as he only produced 2 real studio albums. The best of these is "The Madcap Laughs". Syd managed to write some memorable solo tracks that were quite remeniscent of his work on "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn".

SYD BARRETT's solo career is arguably the best solo career of any PINK FLOYD member. Fans of early PINK FLOYD should enjoy SYD BARRETT a lot. I would also recommend his work to lovers of 70s Psychadelia/Space rock as well as collectors who enjoy any PINK FLOYD solo efforts.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
SYD BARRETT is not only an important figure in the history of progressive rock but he also founded one of the first ever progressive rock albums and progressive rock bands. His solo work should be included on the archives as it displays similar progressive qualities that helped to make PINK FLOYD part of prog rock history. Rick Wright and David Gilmour also appear on some of his works and it seems right the other PINK FLOYD solo careers can be listed then so should SYD BARRETT's.

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SYD BARRETT discography


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SYD BARRETT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 238 ratings
The Madcap Laughs
1970
3.33 | 178 ratings
Barrett
1970

SYD BARRETT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.52 | 23 ratings
The Radio One Sessions
2004

SYD BARRETT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

1.26 | 17 ratings
Syd Barrett's First Trip*
2001
3.44 | 15 ratings
The Syd Barrett Story
2004
2.20 | 5 ratings
Under Review
2006

SYD BARRETT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 12 ratings
Syd Barrett
1974
2.45 | 64 ratings
Opel
1988
2.29 | 10 ratings
Octopus
1992
4.17 | 23 ratings
Crazy Diamond
1994
3.95 | 25 ratings
Wouldn't You Miss Me?
2001
2.74 | 12 ratings
The Madcap Laughs / Barrett
2003
3.33 | 3 ratings
Maximum Syd Barrett
2006
3.64 | 27 ratings
An Introduction To Syd Barrett
2010

SYD BARRETT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.45 | 11 ratings
Octopus / Golden Hair
1969
2.44 | 25 ratings
The Peel Sessions
1988
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wouldn't You Miss Me (Dark Globe)
1988
5.00 | 1 ratings
Crazy Diamond
1993

SYD BARRETT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Madcap Laughs by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 238 ratings

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The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by progrockeveryday

5 stars The Madcap Laughs. The first time you listen to this album you could say, what is this? A joke? Of course you have to know Pink Floyd's story, especially the first years with SYD, to understand better his situation, his musical thoughts, his style, to understand HIM. A difficult moment for the mastermind of Pink Floyd at that time, when he left the band (or he was "fired"), but he was still in the mood to write songs. Helped by his bandmates Gilmour and Waters, he barely could record this album (as they said in the documentary "Have You Got It Yet?", very recommended). He was not able to record two takes in the same way. However, knowing these facts, you have an album of acoustic solo songs and some produced tracks, that let you sail a bit more into SYD's incredible world. The lyrics are even better than in The Piper at The Gates of Dawn, deeper meaning and even sad. For Pink Floyd early years fans, this is a must.
 The Madcap Laughs by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 238 ratings

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The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by lukretio

2 stars Unfortunately there is not much of interest going on here, besides an harrowingly raw display of Barrett's talent.

Half of the album is comprised of acoustic tracks with only Syd's voice and guitar. On the other half of the tracks, Syd is helped by a handful of musicians including Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper and Mike Ratledge. The former tracks sound more like demo versions of unfinished songs, but are also the tracks where Barrett's talent shines more brightly, especially in the disturbing dark psychedelia of "Terrapin", "Dark Globe" and "Golden Hair". The "band" songs are more refined and polished, but are also less interesting, dabbling in a sort of primitive psychedelic blues that feels outdated already for 1970.

Overall, The Madcap Laughs is a hard album to listen to: it leaves the listener with glimpses of Barrett's talent and the regret of the greatness that it could have led to, but sadly didn't.

 The Madcap Laughs by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 238 ratings

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The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by Lupton

1 stars I have always loved the quirky songs Syd Barrett made with Pink Floyd in the early years especially Arnold Lane, See Emily Play and Bike. However the truth is, what made these songs so much fun to listen to were the supremely clever musical backings they were couched in and for that Rick Wright should be given a lot of the credit.Anyone looking forward to more of the same on Syd Barrett's solo offerings especially the Madcap Laughs is in for a particularly rude shock. I am going to come right out with it and say it- this album is simply terrible.The songs are accompanied primarily by himself strumming crudely for the most part on a guitar and his singing is dreadful.I am not going to describe each song individually but one song in particular is so bad I honestly cannot believe it was allowed on the record at all such that it is.The song I am referring to is of course "If It's In You".It would be funny if it was not so sad. Clearly this is the work of a seriously unraveling mind but whatever- it is utterly cringe-worthy.I am not easily seduced by the concept of the "damaged genius" or whatever sacred cow like tag people inevitably assign Syd Barrett but for me the phrase "The Emperor's new clothes"springs to mind.
 An Introduction To Syd Barrett by BARRETT, SYD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
3.64 | 27 ratings

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An Introduction To Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by TenYearsAfter

2 stars Everybody loved the handsome, witty, creative, smart, charming and charismatic, 'Bohemian dressed' Syd. He was also considered as an extraordinary tunesmith, with a potential at the level of John Lennon and Ray Davies. And Jimi Hendrix praised Syd for his experimental use of echo and feedback. But then in July 1967 Syd didn't appear for a BBC Radio session, and when he came back after a few days his friends noticed that 'the crazy diamond' had changed: "Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky". I agree with those who think this was his first psychotic decompensation, part of a severe underlying mental disease, paranoid schizophrenia, and triggered by excessive LSD use. One month later Pink Floyd its debut album Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was released, Syd was embraced as the highly creative force. But more and more he felt depressed and confused, about his status as rock star, and his increasing inability to keep control over his mind and behaviour. Like catatonic states on stage and frequent physical aggression to his girlfriend in his apartment. Due to this unpredictable and erratic behaviour Syd was even fired in Pink Floyd, in April 1968. But Syd was still able to make two solo albums in 1970, with the help of many known music friends. Unfortunately shortly after Syd was no longer able to function as a musician. He went to a mental hospital for a few months and then lived for the rest of his life in Cambridge: first with his very caring mother Winifred (who died in 1991), and later in a semi-detached-house, where Syd died in 2006 (due to the complications of diabetes). It's an honour to Syd his creative mind that his songs were covered by known bands, like Al About Eve (See Emily Play), The Boomtown Rats and The Damned (both Arnold Layne), REM (Orange Crush), The Smashing Pumpkins (Terrapin), The Jesus & Mary Chain (Vegetable Man) and Neil from The Young Ones (The Gnome). And keep in mind that in 1992 Atlantic Records offered Syd 500.000 dollars for new material, but his family turned it down, afraid for too much pressure on Syd.

This compilation starts with 6 Pink Floyd tracks, including the legendary psychedelic pop songs Arnold Layne and See Emily Play featuring Syd his distinctive voice, wonderfully blended with Rick Wright his soaring Farfisa organ. The song Apples And Oranges contains Syd his raw Fender Telecaster guitar sound. And it is trademark whimsical Syd Barrett in the cheerful and funny Bike, let's name it typical British humor.

The other 12 tracks showcase hardly the Syd Barrett who became famous as the inventive Pink Floyd psychedelic pop tunesmith. Many tracks feature Syd as a troubadour, strumming on his acoustic guitar and singing with strong melancholical undertones. Like in Terrapin (a bit bluesy lullaby), Dark Globe (with the legendary Wouldn't you miss me?, sung slightly hysterical), Here I Go, She and Took A Long Cool Look. But Syd also went back to his roots, as a young teenager who discovered rock and roll and The Beatles and Rolling Stones: Octopus (energetic climate with nice rhythm guitar and in the end fiery rock guitar) and Baby Lemonade (captivating psychedelic guitar sound). Some tracks even sound more elaborate, like Dominoes (dreamy with Hammond organ, dark vocals, a distorted experimental guitar sound and electric piano) and Gigolo Aunt (catchy beat, delicate Hammond, funny lyrics and sarcastic vocals, the exciting distorted raw rock guitar sound is my highlight). The track Effervescing Elephant is trademark Syd, simplistic and humorous, like My Bike. A very special composition is Bob Dylan Blues, Syd sings in the vein of Bob Dylan, like a tribute, but looking at the lyrics he is pretty sarcastic about his former musical hero. Finally the 'download bonus track' Rhamadan: a 20 minute improvisation with strong propulsive percussion (from the T Rex drummer), mellow organ and electric piano and experimental guitar work, to me this composition sounds too unbalanced, sometimes close to cacaphonic, with only a very few sparks that reminds of great improvisional work like Interstellar Overdrive.

Syd was far from easy to collaborate with in those days, nonetheless a wide range of known musicians were willing to contribute to his solo efforts, from his former Pink Floyd collagues Roger Waters, Rick Wright and David Gilmour to Mike Ratledge, Hugh Hopper and Robert Wyatt. They did a fine job to support an often fragile and vulnerable Syd Barrett. Although in general I miss that captivating vibe, energy and creativity as in Pink Floyd, I like some more energetic tracks, I am touched by Syd his pure emotion in some troubadour songs, and I consider his lyrics as the most interesting part of Syd solo, in many ways!

A final note. Due to the increasing amount of royalties from Pink Floyd and Syd solo albums, Syd could stay in luxury hotels, watching tv and ordering every meal he liked, because his family wanted him to be happy, this gives an ironical extra dimension to the title of his first solo album, The Madcap Laughs!

My rating: 2,5 star.

 Barrett by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.33 | 178 ratings

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Barrett
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by mariorockprog

4 stars 3.5: The second and last album from Barret, also produced by Gilmour as the first one and with the help of Richard Wright, instead of Roger Waters this time. After hearing Madcap, I wasn't entirely satisfied with what I heard, I was expecting something better, It has its moments, but really doesn't stand out. So, for this one, I wasn't expecting too much, also by the given rating in the page, but musically and lyrically, I think is better and make more sense. I liked the way Syd Barret composed for Pink Floyd, and I think I can hear here some of those moments in this record. Obviously, musically is better than the first one, it is not only acoustic songs without feeling and nothing more, as in te first one, but it includes better produced moments adding the music of his past members of Pink Floyd. There is so much difference with the first, lyrically it makes more sense, the lyrics are more deep and with different level of interpretations. Musically, so much better, Roger Water didn't put any effort in the first one, I think, and I can say that the Wright feeling improve a lot the quality of the songs. Finally, is a good record, better than the first one, however you are not going to have a lot of prog here, so It is a nice to hear album, but nothing more.
 The Madcap Laughs by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 238 ratings

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The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by mariorockprog

2 stars 2.5: The first solo album from Syd barrett. After leaving or left behind for his addiction problem, Syd dedicated to make two albums, and create a lot of unreleased material. After really making a lot of investigation of the life of Barret, I got very interested to know more about his material. As a fan of Pink Floyd, I liked the first album, but really didnt think that it was the Pink Floyd I really love, however a different taste that I also like. So I re heard the Piper album and analyze the lyrics of every song, and really enjoyed more. As the other members of the band said, They will never started, if he wasnt there. So, although I like the style of Syd Barret with PF, I am not the PF fan that thinks that after Syd, there was not PF anymore. So, I began to hr in hearing more material of Syd Barret, first, with Pink Floyd and his unreleased songs, I liked them too, and then decided to get into his albums. The best of having a band with talent members is that the songs are filtered and improved for the contributions of the others, I say this because it applies to any of the solo works of any PF member. Musically you are going to find a folk album with really simple songs, not prog at all, sometimes funny and catchy lyrics, while a few having oustanding meanings, but some of them being really forgettable, in fact, some look unfinished or out of tune. Most of the song are about love, other about his acid trips and maybe about Pink floyd leaving him behind. I think most of the people try to find incredible meanings to his lyrics, I agree that sometimes he shines like diamond with his powerful lyrics, but I also think that his better work was made with Pink Floyd. So, I considered an average album, and recommended to any who love his style in composition, but if you dont listen to it, you are not going to miss too much.
 Barrett by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.33 | 178 ratings

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Barrett
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

3 stars This album "Barrett" has seen the light in 1970 as Syd's second (and the last) studio-based full-length album. Already he's been abused in and broken out by lots of illegal psychic agents and could have floated in another dimension, plus his distorted soundscape should have been overthere, and sounds like a couple of collaborators should have taken him back to the real world (sounds like he could not have beaten at all though). Anyway wondering why this album is less addictive than the previous one. Maybe as follows.

Honest to say, he runs along at full speed from the beginning "Baby Lemonade" until the epilogue "Effervescing Elephant", where such a psychic agent created by him is pretty effective for the audience. At least for me this track should be one of his masterpieces. Every single track is quite drenched in mad and polluted muddy space. Sounds more productive than ones in the previous creation actually. However, something confusing comes around me after completing this entire album. As though I would have drunk a bottle of wine where are many kinds of flavour and essence but the atmosphere is loose and disarrayed ... as a result, this wine is not so good, despite of many kinds of fascinating flavour. Guess Syd might have created material just as he wanted to do under abusive condition.

Sadly in this stuff a great madcap Syd got to be a real madman suitable for another dimension. This album would just be a moment he stepped into the inferno, Roger could never reach eternally.

 The Madcap Laughs by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 238 ratings

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The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

5 stars Exactly dispersed, dissected, distorted authentic acid folk. 'The Madcap Laughs' is kinda vertigo accelerator for me, that cannot be removed by antihistaminic agents. Am I wrong?

A transcendent musical madness 'The Madcap Laughs' has been created by Syd BARRETT, the frontman of Pink Floyd and at the same time the emotional support for their debut album / the progressive rock masterpiece 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn', and been released as his debut solo album in 1970. 'The Madcap Laughs' features Syd's acoustic guitar and lazy voices with a couple of simple rock instruments in collaboration with some session musicians like Roger Waters, David Gilmour or a producer Peter Jenner. Obviously such a simple formation should highlight Syd's composition or soundscape, each of that synchronizes with the other.

13 songs all are short and primitive, filled with downtempo, drone essence launched up via Barrett psychic world, where is no polyrhythmic footprint nor complicated melody line. But crazy, his terrific acoustic discharge based upon his own acid folk vision should drive the audience mad definitely. 'Here I Go' sounds like sorta mediocre folk song but in this track are lots of hallucinogenic or adrenalized melodic, rhythmic elements. 'Golden Hair', one of my faves, is full of Krautrock-ish acidity and antiviral activity. Even one of the most acceptable stuffs in this album 'Octopus' has melodically cynical atmosphere and weird symphonies of sickness. We the audience should digest this madcap enough to make ourselves schizophrenic. Yes enough is enough.

This incredible creation notifies us of the reason Roger could not exceed Syd in a musical and emotional career. Yes because he lived in another world, another dimension of musical and real life. Anyway who is 'Madcap' he mentioned in this album. I do not consider it might be Syd but be all people around him, who would have thought himself decent I guess.

 Opel by BARRETT, SYD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1988
2.45 | 64 ratings

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Opel
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars 'Opel' is the final 'record' of Barrett. I say this with some reserve because this is a compilation of B-sides and unreleased tracks even recorded before his two solo albums 'The Madcap Laughs' and 'Barrett', both released in 1970.

The story of Syd everyone knows, the beginnings with Pink Floyd, the abuse of drugs, he becoming a vegetable because of this and the band kicking him away to later become the giant that everyone knows.

Much is said about how Syd Barret was brilliant, a lot is talked about how he was a genius, how he had so much to show... the only thing I see in 'Opel' (supposedly the best way to see such a genius in action without any masks) is a lost person who makes an absurdly simplistic music. When I hear a song like 'Opel' I remember 'Bike' from Pink Floyd's first album, a 3-chord song that if it was not for the rest of the band would be the dullest thing on Earth, well, that's it that happens here.

I'm not interested in the fact that these recordings are not the most refined one could have, it's even better, we see how Syd has nothing, the charm came from what happened to him, not the talent itself. Songs sung completely out of time, tracks so silly and ridiculous that even the lyrics of "Rock And Roll" by Led Zeppelin seem like a deep poem when compared. I'll never get back the 3 minutes of my life that I missed hearing something ridiculous like 'Rats', for example.

In short, if you are one of those people who believes Syd Barrett was a genius and who idolizes every note he recorded: this record will make you enjoy life with cheerful excitement. But if you're like me who believe he did (well) his part to the story of one of the biggest bands in history but that solo is just a forgettable Joe: Flee from it!

 The Madcap Laughs by BARRETT, SYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 238 ratings

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The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett Prog Related

Review by SteveG

2 stars No mere warning.

For those that can't, or refuse, to recognize that artist's such as Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and even the acoustic duo of Simon and Garfunkel, are folk rock artists, with massive hit folk rock songs like Cowgirl In The Sand, Sundown and The Sound Of Silence, which owe nothing to traditional folk music such as historical instrumentation, traditional instruments, atypical chord voicings, playing motifs like alternate tunings and finger picking, along with the typical subject matter, whether topical or traditional.

Basically, all of the folk music attributes that were jettisoned when The Byrds (An American group) created the folk rock genre (an American genre) after bastardizing Dylan's folksong Mr. Tambourine Man and placing it into the rock format of the times. Or to those that further think that folk rock grew organically out of folk music without the afore noted American genre establishing events having come first, it's important that those who do recognize the folk rock that permeates The Mad Cap Laughs receive a review with the album placed back into it's correct context, along with it's creator.

Long gone are the psychedelic blitzes of Astronomy Domine, Interstellar Overdrive, and outre avant-garde dada of Pow R, Toc H from Floyd's debut album, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. What remain are Barrett's whimsical story songs and ballads that are more akin to the Gnome and The Scarecrow that featured predominantly on Floyd's break through album.

With only a few psychedelic rock songs on offer like Octopus and Terrapin, Syd plummets into musical ground that's neither hard rock or acid rock. The minor psychedelic flourishes, on songs such as Long Gone barely raise these strickly low key verse/chorus songs into pure archetypical British psychedelic rock with it's many, at the time, distinguishing characteristics, and confined the songs to a boring folk rock style that is further devoid of the lyrical impact necessary to carry such music and raise it above it's mundane song structures.

This may have been Barrett's last true hurrah as a recording artist and, as a select few opine, even a musical and lyrical genius. I, for one, see only a fraction of the man's former talent, which was on the wane due to reasons that are fully known to all of us. I have no problem finding the folk rock in TMCL. I'd just like to know where the progressive rock is, of which this artist is said to be related. 2 stars. Proceed to the other reviews with caution. You have been not been merely warned, but informed.

Thanks to frenchie for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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