SYD BARRETT AND ROB CHAPMAN – The Lyrics of Syd Barrett
Many marvelous books by or on musicians as well as those chronicling whole movements and styles and whatnot have seen the light of day these past many years, but once in a while you come across something that touches you profoundly; something that moves and inspires you beyond what the written word on the page actually conveys. "The Lyrics of Syd Barrett" is one such incredible gem and Omnibus Press have done a fantastic job with this one. With a brilliant foreword by former Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner and an illuminating introduction by author Rob Chapman, these 96 pages are a thing of beauty and contain the complete lyrics, or poems if you will, by the legendary and almost mythical Barrett, which is to say the 52 sets of lyrics to the magical songs he wrote for early Pink Floyd and his own solo records.
Some highly interesting illustrations and artwork by Syd (many of which have only been seen by few) as well as various pictures of both Barrett and Pink Floyd have been included too and complement the words perfectly. The exquisitely crafted affair succeeds in transporting one back to the London psychedelia of the late sixties while simultaneously evoking inner visions and mental images of such strange and original character that only a highly creative soul (and arguably also a tortured genius) such as Syd would have been able to conjure. His compositions and words were otherworldly and surreal yet vivid and vibrant – almost as if you could reach out and touch them. Depending on one’s perspective and how one approaches "The Lyrics of Syd Barrett", his poetic and literary excursions were in some ways a comment on the human condition but conceived and written in such unique fashion that one can only sit back and marvel at how potent and exhilarating they are when one digests and absorbs them. Having said that, I would never be so bold or brave as to try interpreting one of them here.
This may sound a little strange to some out there, but I feel that the less said about "The Lyrics of Syd Barrett" the better in the sense that it ought to be experienced and felt rather than described and dissected. If you are like me and cherish Pink Floyd’s "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and Barrett’s solo outputs, it goes without saying that this unusual and eccentric (and I mean that in the best way possible) piece of incomparable poetry belongs in your collection.