Syd Barrett

The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me?

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You know the situation is getting desperate when a compilation recycles material from an outtakes collection released a decade prior. Such is the case with The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me?, a package that basically combines the best of Syd Barrett's two proper albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett, with a number of previously issued outtakes and a straggler from producer and Pink Floyd bandmate David Gilmour's vaults ("Bob Dylan's Blues"). But to be perfectly fair, the now-recycled outtakes release in question, 1989's Opel, was a rare instance where such a release lived up to the quality of the artist's proper studio albums. And it's not as if The Madcap Laughs and Barrett feature such a glossy, professional sheen that the average ear would need to tell the difference between the painstakingly crafted and the whimsically patched together. (Barrett wasn't exactly Jeff Lynne, was he?) So, in this most bizarre situation, it makes a fair amount of sense to consider some of the Opel material to be worthy of inclusion on a best-of. If you're keeping score at home, here's how the track distribution works out: Seven songs come from The Madcap Laughs, nine are from Barrett, four are from Opel. That leaves enough space for the early "Bob Dylan's Blues," a decent song that serves as a flimsy ruse to rope completists into buying the disc, as well as a previously available Peel Session version of "Two of a Kind." All in all, it is a fine introduction to Barrett's solo material, but does someone who released two proper studio albums really need an "introduction" to their work? Longtime fans might want to exercise some restraint, especially since those still-unissued outtakes are being released water-torture style.

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