Pink Floyd

Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Capitol Records

At best, Pink Floyd founder, guitarist and singer/songwriter Syd Barrett possessed maybe 18 months (1966-67) of sheer creative brilliance before LSD abuse basically splintered his personality.

Barrett re-emerged three years later, in 1970, managing to produce two solo albums filled with quirky yet catchy tunes. Wouldn’t You Miss Me? collects the best from these, as well as at least one track from a BBC session in ‘71, plus a never-before-released track from replacement Floyd guitarist David Gilmour’s private tape collection—the humorous “Bob Dylan Blues.”

The 24-bit remastered, more-familiar stuff—"Baby Lemonade,” “Terrapin,” “Effervescing Elephant,” “Wined and Dined” and (my personal favorite) “Gigolo Aunt,” to name only a few, have never sounded better. These tracks are in no way “professionally” performed; by this time Syd was supposedly so lackadaisical about the recording process that he often couldn’t be bothered with retakes. Still, if you’re a fan of the “Madcap,” you’ll love this.

Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd follows the band-that-Barrett-built beyond Pink Floyd‘s ‘60s glory days right through its commercial success in the ‘70s to tracks from ‘93’s The Division Bell. While it contains an impressive number of Barrett songs (five, including “See Emily Play” and “Arnold Layne") plus the usual suspects from the ‘70s ("Money,” “One of These Days,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Wish You Were Here,” and so on), one might rightfully question some of the later selections. Yet, somehow, it all works.

In fact, the CDs’ contents take on the aspects of suites, each of the songs smoothly segueing sonically and even somewhat thematically into the next. Obviously, the sequencing suggestions from guitarist David Gilmour, bassist Roger Waters, keyboardist Rick Wright, and drummer Nick Mason were significant. The results considered, this CD set could well be the most creative "compilation" ever.