Pink Floyd was by no means a one-hit-wonder styled group. From the beginning, they combined a real passion for music and art, which was informed by the music of the day and their art school background. Put simply, they were a band on a mission to create some of the finest artistic and enjoyable music, which they did so. This album is a compilation of pieces from their early days as a band, primarily with legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist Syd Barrett. Sadly, Syd became a mess after 1967, but this is a nice collection of his songs in Syd Barrett Pink Floyd. It’s not exactly a short listening experience, as it is over two hours long. Still, let’s jump into the music and hear what it sounds like.
We begin with Lucy Leave which begins with some clean electric guitar, a retro 1960s feel and some decent melodic guitar work. It is very much a song that sounds a lot like The Rolling Stones, and it sounds glorious and good. In fact, given that this is an early Syd Barrett era based tune, it sounds joyful and youthful. Nobody makes this sort of music anymore, and it is a special reminder of the excellent music of the 1960s. Syd sings well, despite the lo-fi nature of this song. A very nice guitar solo is on this track, and the whole thing sounds really excellent for what it is. A nice start to such a compilation, and it sounds really awesome.
Next along is Double O Bo which begins with pounding drums, a catchy melody and great singing and guitar playing. This sounds really awesome and extraordinary, although this sounds like a bluesy song along the lines of The Rolling Stones, yet again. It is very awesome all the same, and just sounds like a killer listen. Really cool, and catchy too. It is a burst of youthful expression and sounds really great. Good tune and a solid listening experience that is less than three minutes long. Pink Floyd rule.
Remember Me begins with clanging chords and a very 1960s feel, once again. It doesn’t sound very good with the main blues style voice impression, but is an interesting listen throughout nonetheless, particularly with the keyboard sound and furious guitar playing. A really cool sounding piece of music when the singing isn’t going on, there is a very nice melodic keyboard solo. A very different listen, this is not bad, despite the vocals. Not that great, but for early Pink Floyd, this is a good try nonetheless.
Walk With Me Sydney is another strangely ordinary tune with some terrible singing. Just remember this is very early Pink Floyd and is a good effort in an era with no autotune. It is clear that the band worked a lot from this point on to make their music sound a load better. Anyway, it is enjoyable for what it is. A very good example of what the 1960s was about, complete with an organ solo. In any case, good to hear that even these guys had to begin somewhere. Interesting music.
Next along is Butterfly which is three minutes of Pink Floyd Pop music. It is a very male sounding tune that is different and Psychedelic in its imagery. The singing here isn’t that good, once again, but it is still a good effort regardless, given that these guys were not in their prime, at least not yet. A really garage band sort of piece, although these were very early tunes. Interesting tune all the same.
Following is I’m a King Bee which begins with a sustained guitar note, Syd’s vocals and a very Bluesy sounding feel to this song. It’s a typical male lust sounding piece that would not see the light of day today but still sounds very good. The bass guitar by Roger Waters is very prominent, and the whole thing is a very old school and groovy piece. Really fresh and exciting, this sounds different from anything that made it onto a proper Pink Floyd album. Good and groovy listening, all the same, an amusing sort of listen in a way. Very good, however.
Arnold Layne is Pink Floyd’s first single. It’s a very Psychedelic territory by Pink Floyd, and the lyrics are actually about a transvestite thief who steals people’s clothes and gets caught by law for doing so. A strange lyrical topic nonetheless, it is a really excellent listen with clanging Fender Esquire sounds and a great sense of melodic beauty unlike anything else ever recorded. There is a trippy 1960s organ solo that is interesting. A truly great song, it sounds like a piece of brilliance. The conclusion is fairly simple and very obvious to the listener.
See Emily Play is the next single by the group. It begins with super spacey slide guitar, interesting keyboards, textured drumming and Syd’s well-delivered vocals. It is a simple, catchy and childlike song that is really fine and excellent listening to this day. If postmodern musicians followed songs more so such as these, we would have a better world of music out there. Really good listening, this sounds lively and incredible. It’s not an understatement to say how influential Syd Barrett was as a musician, both in and out of Pink Floyd. A very interesting Psychedelic Pop/Rock music piece, it sounds very grand and beautiful. A very good song. It ends with a trippy outro and a repeated bass guitar note.
The next single Apples and Oranges follows. It has an interesting riff lead intro, before going into another underrated Syd Barrett classic. These early singles are truly amazing sounding, and just go to show how unique and wonderful Syd’s talent truly was. A very beautiful and wonderful song about childhood delights and being in love with a girl of imagination, Pink Floyd were brilliantly good from the start. The multitracked harmonies are truly beautiful in the solo section, before launching into a whacky bridge section. The term Apples and Oranges is now an English language comparison tool. A very good piece of music.
Following is the B-Side Candy and a Currant Bun which begins with a spacey keyboard solo, before launching into another classic 1960s Pop/Rock piece that sounds excellent. It’s about more innocent romance and similar simple and iconic statements that sound really unique and excellent. We have an original keyboard solo, followed by some excellent guitar lead guitar work. A very nice sounding piece of work, it sounds very beautiful as we travel through inner and outer space musically. Excellent song.
Paintbox is next, which has some excellent acoustic guitar and basslines, before going straight into a piece of pretty music. It’s another early B-Side that sounds really decent. A grand and beautiful sounding song, this is a majestic listening straight from the minds of Pink Floyd. All sorts of original and Psychedelic instrumentation are a perfect match for the song’s lyrics and singing. Absolutely wonderful, and a real joy and treasure to hear. Very few could ever match Pink Floyd at their craft, and nobody could surpass this sort of music. Craftily made and really excellent, this is very enjoyable. The outro is simple and catchy.
Matilda Mother (2010 Mix) is a different mix to the original song with different lyrics as well. It’s a strange song piece as a result but is just as dramatic and decent listening. The midsection is also very lively and brilliant as well. Different, but the original was likely a better job. That doesn’t mean this is bad, it just doesn’t sound as well thought out as the original. It finishes with those illustrious harmonies, a really fine effort. The outro on this version is very amazing, and it sounds like a classic Pink Floyd jam.
Following is Jugband Blues – 2010 Mix is a very pretty and (somewhat) remixed version of the original that sounds amazing and very Psychedelic listening. It sounds just as decent and good as the original, and it is so good to hear this amazing classic by Syd Barrett. The jug band midsection sounds really fantastic, as does the sound of those harmonies. A quirky remixed section follows before the signal of the clanging guitar in the final section, which is just Syd Barrett on vocals and guitar. Amazing, although this is the final proper piece Syd Barrett did with Pink Floyd. Lyrically, you can hear just why. Great song.
After that is In the Beechwoods – 2010 Mix which begins with rolling drums and wah-wah guitar, which sound different. Some clanging piano then enters, and we are propelled into a spacey piece of music. It oddly sounds a bit like proto-Disco music, which is strange. Nonetheless, this is a really good instrumental and a nice addition to this compilation. It launches into a joyful second section which sounds really cool. This is not straight ahead Pink Floyd, it is a very refreshing sounding instrumental that is decent and different. A good listen all the same, but certainly not a huge highlight of this compilation. It’s just different, which is welcome. A nice listen from start to finish, with some different guitar work. It ends with different fragments of sound.
Vegetable Man – 2010 Mix follows, but proceed with caution. It begins with weird guitar work, before going into the aborted single that sounds like Syd Barrett is not having it. It may have been the case that Syd had pre-existing mental health issues. Regardless, he doesn’t sound in the right frame of mind or happy on this song. “Vegetable man! Where are you?” is called out on this song, obviously referring to the state of mind that Syd Barrett was in about this time, the post LSD Syd Barrett, so to speak. Some rather angry sounding harmonies are in the midsection, followed by self-realisation of oneself by Syd as he doesn’t sound happy at all. A very freaked out sounding song that ends with a load of laughter. Very weird.
Scream Thy Last Scream – 2010 Mix is the last song on Disc One. It’s the second half of the last Syd Barrett single and is sung by Nick Mason. It is another warning sign of the fragility of the band around this time, just sounding very unusual. In any case, it is a reminder of what long term drug use can do to musicians (or Syd Barrett, at least). It has a drum led midsection that gradually speeds up, which is very dramatic. It gets faster and faster before going back into the bridge. A sad and rather weird piece of music that was shelved as a B-Side for a long time. Towards the end are some random strange instrumentation, followed by some unusual sounds, before concluding with a drum roll. Weird.
Beginning side two is Introduction – Live in Stockholm 1967 which is a simple introduction to Pink Floyd’s appearance of a live set on this album. Not a huge deal, it is less than half a minute long.
The first song on this live performance is Reaction in G – Live in Stockholm 1967 which is a seven-minute-long piece. It sounds really excellent from the start, with loads of guitar feedback and some interesting playing from the band. It sounds a lot like Jimi Hendrix, in fact, although this is clearly Pink Floyd. The rhythms and melodies here are really quite good on this Pink Floyd rarity. After about a minute, the band goes into a frenzied jam band territory which sounds very awesome. This is definitely something that audiences back in the 1960s would have loved, and should not turn off new listeners today, either. The sense of melody and precision here is really great, obviously one of the better performances from Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. Towards the middle, it gets very subtle, just in time for the keyboard solo. Catchy and very good, this is a real treat for those who have not heard Pink Floyd live. A really cool instrumental that speeds up in the second half, this is really amazing. A great listen throughout, it sounds like an intelligent and well thought out instrumental. The bassline in particular is very catchy, showing that Paul McCartney had some rivals out there. An excellent introduction to a live Pink Floyd set, it sounds very good indeed. It gets noisy towards the end, before concluding with some suspenseful drums and guitar work, followed by applause. Momentous.
Matilda Mother – Live in Stockholm 1967 follows with an organ introduction, followed by nimble bass playing. Unfortunately, Syd’s vocals are barely audible at the beginning of the song, and there is a huge amount of microphonic feedback from the guitars. Regardless, the band play along well. It’s more instrumental on this live recording, which is different. The wah-wah guitar sounds here are magnificent. In any case, despite any technical issues that the band may have on this performance, it is a very promising listen for the then young band. The midsection is really brilliant, and although there should be vocals that can be heard, it’s a great sounding piece nonetheless. It becomes very catchy in the second half, with Syd singing along in the very distant background. The outro shows the instrumental magnificence of Pink Floyd, even without vocals being prominent. Good effort, no matter the circumstances. It finishes well, with some clapping by the audience.
Pow R. Toc. H – Live in Stockholm 1967 which begins with Syd’s proto-beatboxing and the weird vocal sounds from Roger Waters, before this piece gets going. It’s a loud and awesome live version of the original song, which sounds really top and great. The jangling guitars and rhythmic feel of this song drive it along. It is a very interesting and extraordinary piece that is more a sonic journey throughout rather than sticking to the original piece on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. It sounds fresh, funky and full of vibe. After a few minutes, the whole thing gets subtle with just bass and drums for the most part. It is a very incredible listening experience, being very suspenseful. A really good piece with pummeling drums and great Fender guitar sounds, it eventually launches into the incredible midsection. This is definitely a highlight, with a hint of Progressive Rock about it, although that was in the future musically. This is suspenseful to the max, and the melodies and sounds are really amazing. The sound launches into some cleverly intertwined keyboard and guitar parts. The drums are the driving force on this piece, just sounding really awesome. An epic journey through the possibilities of sound with Pink Floyd, it sounds very incredibly good. A lively and interesting listening experience, the drums become more punchy and pronounced as this piece progresses along, showcasing how much an underrated musician Nick Mason is. The bassline here is super catchy as well. A really fine listen, it eventually progresses well towards the conclusion of the song. It sounds like an intelligent and well thought out piece of sonic jamming. An excellent piece, and a must-hear for fans of Pink Floyd. It ends with more proto-beatboxing by Syd and the furious conclusion. Awesome.
Next is Scream Thy Last Scream – Live in Stockholm 1967 which begins with guitar riffs, before launching into the song itself. It is excellently melodic, although there are no vocals here, oddly, at least not audibly. It sounds like a wonderful instrumental mesh of sounds, which are well played and cleverly thought out. Perhaps there were no clear vocals due to Syd’s incoherent mindset? You be the judge. It speeds up as the song progresses, becoming the frenzied piece of music that it is. A really cool sounding piece of music, it reaches full-on force, before returning back to song-based territory. This is no doubt really excellent and is a good four-minute-long example of Pink Floyd doing an instrumental. At the end, we hear a very faint introduction to the next song.
Following is Set the Control for the Heart of the Sun – Live in Stockholm 1967 which begins with some clanging Fender Esquire styled riffs, along with an awesome keyboard melody. The vocals here are much more audible, fortunately. This mammoth piece of music actually is sung by Syd, oddly enough. He sounds vocally as though he is singing without passion, but this piece is wonderful nonetheless. A really good example of what the late 1960s could deliver, no doubt. The keyboards take centrepiece over the repeated vocal refrain, and this piece really gets grooving along nicely. If you have 3D glasses on, you’re halfway there. The piece goes into instrumental mojo mode with pounding drum beats and a really great sound about it. This is really fantastic music to listen to, although this is a recording that is not an album cut. Syd’s Fender Esquire sounds really wonderful, and he gets singing towards the end in a wonderful way. It’s not Syd’s best vocal performance ever but sounds like a good piece of Psychedelic music nonetheless. It speeds up right towards the end, before reaching a logical conclusion. Good work. Some clapping is at the end before some counting into the next song occurs.
See Emily Play – Live in Stockholm 1967 which begins with a very good sounding introduction, although not as good as the original. Plus, there are no vocals audible throughout for the most part. It may be clear that, whatever the issue, Syd Barrett may not have been singing clearly either due to technical difficulties or his own issues, best put. Either way, this song needs vocals, although it is okay to hear in this context. A very good listen all the same. The last song of this live set is then introduced.
Interstellar Overdrive – Live in Stockholm 1967 which has a really cool notably guitar intro, before bass guitar and the other instrumentation enters. This is a good live piece to end the night’s performance with, and just sounds really brilliant and rather Psychedelic. This is a well thought out jam piece that is highly suspenseful, which is not at all dissimilar to the album cut. Obviously, these guys followed a similar pattern of musical exploration with each live performance of the song, but it still sounds good regardless. The midsection has a bunch of really awesome guitar parts and playing that is quite stunning. This continues on throughout, with some very Psychedelic and interesting melodies during the midsection. Really cool, especially if you are likely under the influence of something. The sounds on this live performance are very amazing and different and is a good mesh of intricate melodies. This is quite a decent sort of piece that sounds incredibly good and requires attentive listening from start to finish to really enjoy such a piece. Before long, it returns to the intro riff in a chaos of sound, before reaching its conclusion which is really good. The crowd claps nicely for the end of this decent live set. Nice work.
Following is John Latham Version 1 which has some loose guitar and bass guitar parts. Before long, some weird drumming and sounds enter. It’s weird all right, and apart from having some interesting drumming, not really needed on this album. In any case, the melodies and rhythm structure are a lot like the future Pink Floyd piece Time. Very forgettable, and not worth listening to. It sounds too experimental and silly to be considered worth listening to. Adding such noodling to a compilation is not on. It’s over after a few minutes. Most listeners will not wish to hear this, it’s not worth it.
After that is John Latham Version 2 which continues the weird instrumental madness. Avoid is all that can be said about it, this is just pure garbage. Sure, there are some Psychedelic sounds, but not in a pleasurable way at all. It is very disappointing listening, and you should forget about these “John Latham” songs. Some pounding drums do enter, but this is worth nobody’s time. A total bore. Enough to send one to sleep, this is a joke. This is a rubbish jam that although has some musical ideas about it, is worth avoiding 100%. Just not on, guys. It sounds awful towards the end.
John Latham Version 3 is more of the same garbage. Nothing needs to be said at this point, just don’t listen to it. Simple as that. Forgettable. A bad musical session that went wrong, quite clearly. It sounds like Pink Floyd on meth. Hit the stop button if you can.
John Latham Version 4 continues the horrible experience, and it sounds like a musical nightmare or an equivalent of it. If you want to burn out your ears, this is for you. Otherwise, avoid totally. Go for a smoke break if you can.
The musical torture continues with John Latham Version 5 which has more random and terrible musical sounds. Honestly, why on earth would Pink Floyd place this onto an album? A very terrible idea, and poor marketing on such a product. Pure garbage.
Following is a continuation of this horrible experience with John Latham Version 6 which is more of the same. It is really sad that Pink Floyd couldn’t put something better on this part of the record. It’s worse than you could imagine, so please don’t listen to this. Awful.
John Latham Version 7 drags on. Don’t worry folks, it’s just as bad as the rest of this useless experiment in sound. Pink Floyd had some far better moments than this, so you can hit stop and go and do something better with your time. Avoid. Totally.
John Latham Version 8 continues the unfortunate madness of fragments of sound. Once again, it is the musical equivalent of projectile vomiting. Anyway, no need to hear this at all. Just don’t. There is silence at the end of this, which is odd.
Lastly, we have the conclusion to this double album with John Latham Version 9. It is an awful jam with some powerful drumming, and it still sounds terrible. John Latham series – the worst of Pink Floyd? You betcha. Anyway, it’s done so you can relax now and put on something different.
This is a good compilation to listen to, especially for fans of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. It is ruined by the John Latham songs at the end of it, which is a clear reason to hit stop at that point, and which are awful filler. Despite that, this is a good listen for those who want to hear more of what very early Pink Floyd was capable of. Syd Barrett is a musical legend, may his music forever live on. Shine on You crazy Diamond.
Mish-mash of Psychedelia.
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