Exposé Online banner

Syd Barrett — Crazy Diamond
(Harvest 0777 7 81412 28, 1988/1993, 3CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-05-01

Crazy Diamond Cover art

With the exception of some live sessions recorded for the John Peel show, this 3CD box set purportedly contains all of the surviving post-Pink Floyd recordings of their one time bandleader Syd Barrett. Syd's story by now should be a familiar one to many, the bright star of the early band who wrote nearly all of their material, played guitar and sang; whose fondness for chemicals led to a gradual unpredictability, a cancelled US tour, an inability to perform live, and ultimately to the recruitment of David Gilmour to cover Syd as second guitarist. The last straw, however, came during the early sessions for the second album when Syd recruited part of a marching band to join Floyd (as evidenced by the two tracks "Jugband Blues" and "Corporal Clegg"). Syd and his buddies in the marching band were out, and Floyd would carry on from that day forward as a four-piece without him.

This set contains three discs, the first two which contain Barrett's two solo albums from 1970, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett, featuring, for the most part, a stark, stripped down sound, very unlike that of his former band. Some of the tracks on the former consist only of acoustic guitar and vocals, often painfully tortured sounding ("She Took a Long Cold Look," "If It's in You") while others ("No Good Trying," "Octopus," "Golden Hair") have a more lush production and feature guesting by members of Gilmour's pre-Floyd band Joker's Wild, and the then-current lineup of Soft Machine.

The second album, although overall a bit more even, seemed somewhat less inspired than the first. The third disc in the set (Opel), originally released in the late 80s, consisted of outtakes from the sessions for the first two and aborted sessions for a third album. There is some surprisingly interesting material here: a new version of "Dark Globe," "Birdy Hop," "Word Song," and others, most of which had been circulating through the years as bootlegs or semi-legitimate 7" releases. All of these, though, bear little resemblance to early Floyd, save their eccentricity. Overall, as a solo artist, Barrett's output could be considered uneven and rough at best, with many shining moments, but not enough to make any of these albums more than curiosities for those interested in his unique perspective.

For the box set, each of the three discs has a handful of bonus tracks, consisting of alternate takes of the original tracks — again, interesting material, but not essential. The box contains a 24 page booklet offering photos, a history, lyrics for some of the songs, and exhaustive details of all the recording sessions (and a few tracks that were not included here).


Filed under: Archives, Issue 3, 1993 releases, 1988 recordings

Related artist(s): Syd Barrett

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Phideaux - Friction – Phideaux (pronounced like "Fido") is New York singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Phideaux Xavier. His debut release, Friction, is a dense and quite impressive piece of work. Featuring something in...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues