Syd Barrett

The Radio One Sessions

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With Syd Barrett's 1970 five-song session for John Peel having long since proven one of the most popular and successful of all the exhumations from that particular vault, it was inevitable that the remainder of the man's BBC archive -- a 1971 session for Bob Harris' show -- would be unleashed sooner or later, with only its absence from the official archive standing in the way. A usable if somewhat fuzzy bootleg recording, taped off the radio during the original broadcast, had long lurked in the underground, however, and -- presumably acting on the premise that beggars cannot be choosers -- it was this rendering that was finally granted an official release in 2004. As a result, a number of fans felt somewhat cheated -- they already had the bootlegs, of course; they hoped that a "proper" release might at least venture to an alternate, cleaner, source. And, when it didn't -- indeed, when the three songs didn't even seem to have been cleaned up -- the Internet buzzed with complaints and curses. All of which are justified. If you already own the Peel session in any one of the various guises it has appeared in over the years, the Harris material adds little beyond a distorted buzz to the proceedings. And if you don't, then you're better off gaining your introduction to Barrett from the regular studio albums and compilations that are out there. This shoddy package will just turn you off altogether.

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