HOMEMADE LOFI PSYCH --- WHERE TO START?





"There is so much groovy music here..." WHERE TO START???

I recommend to
start with the HLFP-Samplers (especially HLFP 04).
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Monday, October 19, 2015

Two excellent Compilations I listen to a lot

Usually I don' like compilation CDs that much.
I prefer to buy the complete (or almost complete) work of a band or a musician (e.g. The Byrds or Patti Smith) – and to create my own sampler. Simply for the reason that almost all sampler CDs that I bought were disappointing to me.
Anyway, there are two notable exceptions:

1. Way to Blue – An Introduction to Nick Drake
This is just excellent! A very pleasant listening experience from start till end.
I'm not the greatest Nick Drake fan on earth, but I really enjoy this compilation. This guy only managed to record 3 LPs when he was still alive and in fact I don't like to listen to them very much. The one I like the most is probably "Bryter Layter" produced by the exquisite JOHN CALE. I mean John Cale! You can't go wrong with a John Cale produced record of that era. Just think of the 2nd Nico LP "The Marble Index".
Anyway, I don't like the sparse arrangements on Drakes last album that much.
And now: "Way to Blue" – it's compiled in a way that really surprised me and finally made me a Nick Drake fan. For the first time I really got into his music.

2. Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me?
This one is even better than "Way to Blue".
I've known Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd since I was about twelve. I'm now almost fifty years old and STILL I'm a huge Pink Floyd fan. And I mean HUGE. Don't ask me about collecting bootlegs and books ...
Listening to Barrett's solo works – two records, if you only count the regular ones excluding the outtakes collection "Opel" – was always kind of ... hm ... embarassing, no, not exactly the right word, but you know ... to me. But come on, listening to "The Madcap Laughs" at times can really be quite hard – disturbing. I still can't understand why Gilmour and Waters decided to include the more painful tracks like (especially) "Wouldn't You Miss Me", that simply sound sung wrong. Sketches at best. Turning the pages, stumbeling and stopping after a wrong beginning ... Come on, guys, give me a break!

Barrett was said to be difficult to work with, ask Norman Smith for that one, he often changed songs during the recording process and was fond of improvising. All facts very well known. And on "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" this worked perfect, but one shouldn't forget the producer's job on that band's first album. It would be interesting to listen to some of the unedited stuff of the sessions or to some more outtakes. I think Norman Smith did a great job and "The Piper" surely would have sounded very different with another producer. What I'm trying to say: It's the editing process that is important when you work in a way Pink Floyd and/or Syd Barrett did in the old days. And Waters/Gilmour rellly did not do Syd a favour when they decided to leave all the babbling and confusion and the wrong singing in. 

"The Madcap Laughs" could have been a fantastic record. There are many fantastic songs on it. But sadly it is not – due to Waters' and Gilmour's decision. One of the reasons, why they did this to him, was probably to show in what kind of confused mental state Syd was at that time. But hey – we are listening to a record, not a therapy hour. At least I wish it was so.
The compilation "Wouldn't You Miss Me? – The Best of Syd Barrett" does not include the original version of the title song but gladly the one from "Opel" which is much better and much less painful to listen to. Why didn't Waters and Gilmour choose this version in the first place? I really wonder.

You will find all the great Barrett songs on this compilation, not all are classics, but hey: it's the "solo" Syd Barrett really at his best. "Octopus", "Late Night", "Dominoes", "No Good Trying" – you name it, even "Two of A Kind" from the 1970 BBC session is included. Great choice – without the disturbing unnecessary "mental illness indicating" elements that I dislike so much (which you find on "Madcap") and that really don't do justice to Syd Barrett, musical genius or not. 
The only song that may get hard to listen to on this compilation is in fact "Opel" the title song from the later outtakes collection; and one gets an idea, why that track was left off the album in the first time. The singing voice is not as good as the song itself.
The previously unreleased "Bob Dylan Blues" doesn't do much harm, I could have lived without it, but okay, it's a nice extra to have the opportunity to listen to that song finally.

This is by far the Syd Barrett CD that I listen the most often to – and I always enjoy it very much; and remember: I'm a huge Pink Floyd/Barrett fan!
It took me many years to "understand" the different sounds that Syd made solo in comparison to the ones with his old band, and listening to this compilation I recognized for the first time: Hey, it all is still there, the things that made "Piper" and the first Floyd singles so great: the wit, the psychedelic improvised guitar technique, the oh so cool original lyrics ... Not as different as I thought. Just two years later – and still very fascinating.
I love this compilation. The one Barrett CD that shows all the facets of his music. And it's VERY enjoyable.

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