Beyond Rhyme Nor Reason
[Flux & Reflux 6CD] This
looks like it is a compact version of the huge fan project
Have You Got It Yet?, more than 14CDs. All the music with
one radio program. The rest of the interviews have been removed.
VG to Ex from SBD and live sources.
Here are some tracks featured on Beyond Rhyme Nor Reason.
Click on the highlighted track to download the MP3. As far
as we can ascertain, none of these tracks have been officially
01. Lucy Leave (Oct 65, acetate)
02. I'm A King Bee (Oct 65, acetate)
03. Interstellar Overdrive (Halloween 1966, demo)
04. Arnold Layne (28/1/67, acetate)
05. See Emily Play (23/5/67)
06. Jugband Blues (24/10/67 mono)
07. Vegetable Man (Oct 67, Peter Jenner 1974 mix)
08. Scream Thy Last Scream (7/8/67, Peter Jenner
09. Octopus (6/6/70, Olympia London)
10. Terrapin (6/6/70, Olympia London)
the world of Syd Barrett, a world that fell silent on July 7 this
year, when it was announced that the diabetes from which hed
been suffering for years had killed him at age 61, at home in
But it didnt
really fall silent, because things have never been that simple
where Syds concerned. The only difference is, instead of
the acolytes lining up at his front door, to see if hell
answer it with his underpants on his head, theyll be going
to his grave instead, to dream the mystic visions that his music
has always invoked, and mourn that the world never truly understood
is true - it never did. He understood the world, though, and he
played it like a harp.
as laid out both in the early accounts of Pink Floyds history,
and across the first four discs in this collection, is simple.
Graduating out of the workaday blues of the King Bees (the first
two tracks, best-ever quality renderings of "Lucy Leave"
and "Im A King Bee"), Floyd were in the van on
the way home from a gig somewhere, when Barrett started messing
around on his guitar, mutating the chords of Loves "My
Little Red Book" and coming up with something else entirely.
known rendering of "Interstellar Overdrive" dates from
Halloween 1966, some six months after the first Love album was
released, and already it's changed beyond recognition - a 14-minute
instrumental freak-out that was so in keeping with the tides of
Psychedelia now lapping around London that, for the next six months,
the band barely recorded anything else (fully one third of disc
one is consumed by versions). But then "Arnold Layne"
gave them their first hit single; "See Emily Play" followed
it up, and Piper at the Gates of Dawn confirmed Barrett
as the poet laureate of the British underground.
Floyd parted ways during the sessions for A Saucerful of
Secrets, the Floyd's second album. You can hear the hewing,
on the album itself ("Jugband Blues," once described
as a self-diagnoses of schizophrenia, but really just a reaction
to Waters increasingly noodle-packed meanderings) and more
especially on bootleg.
The last songs Barrett recorded with the Floyd, "Vegetable
Man" and "Scream Thy Last Scream", remain in the
official vault, Floyd's office once said, because it wouldn't
be doing Syd any favors to let them be released. Booting him out
of the band and convincing the world hed gone insane, on
the other hand...
legend likes to treat the Syd Barrett
story like some kind of vast romantic
tragedy, and draws on the events of
a few months in his very early 20s as
evidence of that. But what if it was all
one giant piece of PR... something to keep
the accountants off Barrett's back,
the back catalog ticking over, and Floyd
didn't exactly do badly out of their
association with the legend, either.
halfway through disc three by now, and your mind is reeling to
the treasures unearthed
alternate takes and obscure foreign
acetates, possible Piper and Saucerful out-takes,
brilliantine BBC sessions, strange flashes from the television,
interview snippets and the occasional live cut (theres more
on disc six, but the sounds a lot scratchier). Syds
mind was apparently doing more than that, though. We may never
know the truthful truth about his departure from the Floyd...
did he jump, was he pushed, did he turn into a penguin and pour
paint down Nick Masons periscope? But when Floyd lost their
muse, their management gained a solo artist, and discs three and
four trace its trajectory.
two solo albums following his departure from Floyd, The Madcap
Laughs (1969) and Barrett (1970). Both
are locked within the twilight world of Syd's own supposedly burgeoning
madness, both are trapped within their own legend. Fiercely idiosyncratic,
they are nailed around songs that either stride purposefully towards
pure pop immortality ("Octopus," "Late Night,"
"Terrapin") or else bumble and tumble into their own
unsteady laps ("She Took a Long Cold Look,") ("Feel,"
"It Is Obvious"). But the biggest regret upon hearing
them today is that you didn't hear them when they first came out,
before all the mythologizing was kicked into play, and the albums
could still be accepted on their maker's own terms.
legend really didnt kick in for another four years. True,
Barrett did fall ominously silent following the release of Barrett
- a distinctly disinterested Rolling Stone interview, a
couple of under-rehearsed gigs around Cambridge, the occasional
sighting at his publishers office, and a secret liaison
with former Tyrannosaurus Rex mainstay Steve Peregrin Took appear
to sum up his entire musical output of the age. But that was all
hed done - fallen silent. There were rumors that hed
taken up painting...
Floyds growing immensity, and sales of their back catalog
certainly ensured he could afford that luxury, while Bowies
decision to cover "See Emily Play" on Pin Ups would
keep the wolf from the door even longer. No one was saying he
was in orbit, nobody thought he was strange. He was, simply, a
recluse, and it wasnt as if pop had never seen one of them
magazine ran journalist Barry Miles account of the Floyds
early years in August 1972, the worst account of Barretts
state of mind were a few wistful regrets about his dislike of
the circus into which Floyds pop star fame had suddenly
plunged him, and the occasional night when the acid got the better
of him. A year later, the Floyd themselves followed it up with
their own account of those heady days, and the only mention of
madness was in conjunction with his genius - the (tragically unrecorded)
day he tried to teach the band a new song, and kept changing it
subtly on every run through. The chorus, split between Barrett
and Waters, had one of them singing "have you got it yet?"
and the other answering, truthfully too, "no no no."
the New Musical Express published Nick Kents masterful
deconstruction of the disintegrating Barrett mind (13 April 1974),
and suddenly everything fell into place
for EMI, who suddenly
discovered an entire generation hankering for a couple of albums
that hadnt sold a sausage since 1970 (the Syd Barrett
twofer was released just three months later); for the Floyd, whod
been struggling to follow-up Dark Side Of The Moon for
two long years, then wrote the elegiac "Shine On You Crazy
Diamond" practically overnight. And for Barrett, who was
heartily sick of being asked for a comeback, and now had the perfect
excuse to postpone it forever. "Sorry, but havent you
heard? Im mad."
own final recordings, barely half a dozen inconsequential crackles
of guitar playing that wrap up disc four of this set, took place
in August 1974 and, listening to them, his lack of interest in
the proceedings is deafening. He was only in the studio because
someone somehow persuaded him to do it (a room full of brand new
guitars probably helped as well) and, apparently, he even brought
a few guitars with him.
But he knew
what people were saying about him, and he also knew that, if he
really wanted to be left alone, the best thing was to let them
keep saying it. He had his own life away from music and, again,
he had enough money coming in to keep it that way. If he truly
had redirected his muse away from music and back to his first
love, painting, why on earth would be need to try recreating it?
it's interesting to note that,
for all the hours of outtakes from both
Madcap and Barrett that have flooded out
over the last two decades of reissues,
not one unreleased note of Syd's time
with the Floyd has ever been given the
green light. Why is it that do you think?
likes to treat the Syd Barrett story like some kind of vast romantic
tragedy, and draws on the events of a few months in his very early
20s as evidence of that. But what if it was all one giant piece
something to keep the accountants off Barretts
back, the back catalog ticking over, and Floyd didnt exactly
do badly out of their association with the legend, either.
interesting to note that, for all the hours of outtakes from both
Madcap and Barrett that have flooded out over the
last two decades of reissues, not one unreleased note of Syds
time with the Floyd has ever been given the green light. Why is
it that do you think? Well, the official line, first spouted for
"Scream Thy Last Scream," but patiently reiterated on
occasion since then, is that its to save Syds blushes.
But what do you think would show him in the best light?
The pristine BBC sessions, or completed studio masters that rate
among this packages most glittering highlights? Or the sound
of him falling off his chair and dropping his guitar, as presented
in living stereo across the bonus tracks on the official reissues?
of course, is paranoid conjecture. There is no suggestion whatsoever
that anybody ever connected with either Floyd, Barrett or their
respective record companies ever woke up one morning and said
"wouldnt it be great if Pink Floyd had a tragic legend
hanging over their head, a spirit that could be invoked whenever
Roger writes another of his depressing songs about irrevocable
loss, and that would keep the back catalog ticking over, while
maintaining interest in the band as a whole."
Nobody ever sat down with Barrett and told him, "keep your
head down, sonny, and well see you alright
occasional song on our compilations, dig them out when were
playing live, and talk up your own records for the next wave of
romance-starved teenagers." And certainly nobody would ever
suspect a major record label of any form of complicity in such
a ridiculous plot.
But one thing
is for certain. A lot of people did very well out of Syd Barrett
being the way he was, and one just hopes that Syd himself was
one of them.
painstaking resurrection and remastering of every known Pink Floyd
(58 tracks) and Syd Barrett (38 tracks) recording that has yet
to see an official release, together with close to two discs
worth of often fascinating (if not, necessarily, especially revealing)
interviews, Beyond Rhyme and Reason is the last period
collection you will ever need to own; just as Syd Barrett remains
one of the most individual, exciting and unpredictable songwriters
of his or any other generation, a weaver of words whose very enunciation
was pregnant with visions.
of gigolo aunts and you can see them parading, of wolfpacks and
rats, and you see them as well. And then theres "Octopus,"
lost in the woods with cackling sails and dream dragons, and that
strange self-fulfilling prophecy as the madcap laughs in the bare
is, though, if Barrett was the madcap (well, John was the
walrus), ones thing for sure. If he is still laughing, then
hes laughing at us.
Note: Veteran music writer Dave Thompson is a regular contributor
writing on hard-to-find rarities. Dave is the author of many well
reviewed rock biographies, including the recent Virgin Books'
Red Hot Chili Peppers biography, works on The Cure and Kurt Cobain.
He wrote Cream: The World's First Supergroup which was published
early last year. In the past, Dave has written for Live! Music
Review and he is also a regular contributor to Rolling Stone,
Mojo and Q magazines. Click
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Reviews by Dave Thompson