I am not a big Syd Barrett fan …

Syd Barrett

… And nor am I a big fan of Pink Floyd. However, I do have a copy of Dark Side of The Moon, an album largely about Pink Floyd’s founding member, but an album made in 1973, long after Syd Barrett (1946-2006) left the band and just before he left the music business.

I was reading on several blogs about Barrett’s many contributions in terms of introducing several innovative guitar techniques. But for that, I get an overwhelming impression of erratic, irrational behaviour, and of him being a burden on the other members.

Say what you like about his genius, his musical artistic output was very scant, and what he did needed the constant intercession of people like Roger Waters and David Gilmour. It appeared that the most difficult job was getting Syd into the studio to perform on his own album. And when he did, he only rarely performed with the rest of the band.

I see him more as a curiosity, a spectacle, than as a musician. It is politically correct to take the musical snob’s way out and lionize him as a mad genius, because what he actually did put out were never great hits. This ensures that a kind of “cult legend” aura is maintained.

Cultists often refer to tracks as “Interstellar Overdrive” as one example of Syd Barrett’s genius. The instrumental was recorded in the late 60s while he was still with Pink Floyd. I sat through the entire 17-minute performance to see for myself. True, he uses a lot of tricks that were innovative in the late 60s. Also, recalling that The Beatles were recording Sargent Pepper in Abbey Road Studios in a studio next to theirs, it must be granted that no one on either side of the pond had that sound until years later. But I wasn’t impressed by his guitar solo that I heard so much praise about (there was only a brief one in the entire 17 minutes), nor was I impressed by the composition in general. Original doesn’t always mean good. Just ask members of The Shaggs. The song kind of resembles today’s trance music. Except this one took live, and reasonably talented musicians, free of our current addiction to beat boxes, tape loops, and Auto-Tune software. Well, but not free of addictions of another kind, I suppose.

Interstellar Overdrive was repetitive, and had a monotonous rhythm. I don’t think a person should listen to it sitting down like I did. You need to throw a party where recreational drugs are abundant, and the music is loud. Then, you “get” the music, or more precisely, you “dig” the music.

Visits: 75

Crappy Album Covers #244 — Progressive Crock

Allmusic.com lists at least 100 albums under the name King Crimson. There are their main releases, countless live albums, and a raft of LPs under the label “King Crimson Collector’s Club” released as recently as 2004. And don’t forget the fact that Robert Fripp re-mastered the entire KC catalogue in the late 90s. And then there are all of those compilation LPs, released as recently as 2009.

This 1969 album, “In the Court of the Crimson King” is the LP that started it all. A prog rock heavyweight at a time that Led Zeppelin were just starting out, it expanded on the then-new idea of “The Concept Album”, started by The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper in 1967. “Crimson”, like “Sgt Pepper”, had no singles, but the LP peaked in 1970 at #28.

A view of someone having fun with this cover is found here.

Musicstack.com lists this vinyl LP as a collector’s item, commanding prices as high as $172.00.

This is Yes’s 1978 offering, Tomato. This album has most of the original Yes members, sans Bill Bruford. There were musical disagreements as to the direction of the music, divided into classical and pop-oriented camps, which hampered the quality of the album. So, not a single song on this LP is over 8 minutes long. By Yes standards, the songs are so short, you might as well be listening to K-Tel.

Then there was the album cover. Hoooly moly…. Rumor has it that the artist had this black-and-white photo of some dude with drumsticks which he thought would go nicely if a bright red tomato were thrown at it. Ohhhh… the contrast in colours! The juxtapositions! Whatever…

A copy of this LP in “excellent” condition currently sells on musicstack.com for as much as $54.95 (US).

Visits: 101

Crappy Album Covers #160 – Elvez Prezley

Album_Cover_Crap_212_-_kristianhoffman_com This would be the soundtrack to Elvis’s first comedy, GI Blues, released in 1960 by Paramount Pictures, where he acts as Tulsa alongside some token girl named Juliet Prowse, who plays Lili.
Album_Cover_Crap_211_-_kristianhoffman_com This is not Elvez, but “El Vez” (The Time), played by Hispanic smart aleck Robert Lopez. He is not strictly an Elvis impersonator, and has been known to do covers of other artists.Lopez was born when the original album was created, and this parody was released almost 40 years later, in 1996.

Visits: 137

Crappy Album Covers #126 — Four Guys on a Cover

Album_Cover_Crap_187_Flickr Here is the first of the cliche “Four guys on an album cover”. I first misread the title as “Jack not again”, but saw that the “n” had a tail like the way some people cursively write their lowercase p’s. 

So, the album set in what is likely the early 70s, is “Jackpot Again”. I have little information on this unconvincing-looking Beatlesque foursome.

Album_Cover_Crap_183_Flickr … But the Delltones show them that they can look unconvincing no matter what the clothing. 

The Delltones actually have five members in their 2009 lineup, with fellow Queenslanders Woody Finlayson, Danny Mayers, Merv Dick, Ian “Peewee” Wilson, and Owen Booth.

They have kept a following since 1958, and still perform in gigs in Australia. Peewee Wilson appears to be the only enduring member.

Visits: 104

Time to plug your ears

William Shatner (who played Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek) recites “Lucy in the Sky”. The animator wins big for visual accompaniment. It is kitschy in exactly the right way. Guest starring Lucille Ball and Lucy Van Pelt. Cameo appearance by Ricky Ricardo and The Flying Nun (with Shatner’s face pasted on).

Visits: 143