The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me? (2001)

Syd Barrett

"I'm a poet, don't you know it? ..."

Harvest/EMI proved that 30 years of silence from Syd Barrett didn't imply we'd heard the last from the co-founder of Pink Floyd. In April 2001, the label issued "The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me?" — yet another repackaging of Barrett's work, following the extensive "Crazy Diamond" box set from 1993.

Lost track

While "Crazy Diamond" included a number of Barrett outtakes and alternate takes, "Wouldn't You Miss Me" boasted something better: a Barrett song recorded 30 years prior that had never been released in any form. In addition to being the proverbial never-heard-before track that entices a legion of fans to run out and purchase what would otherwise be a collection of recycled songs, "Bob Dylan Blues" is a real gem.

The song is likely one of the first Barrett ever wrote. Though he likely penned it shortly after he and future Floyd bandmate David Gilmour saw Dylan in concert in London in 1963, the track wasn't recorded until 1970. Syd had left Floyd a couple years prior, and was now working as a solo act — albeit with assistance from some of his former bandmates. The song was recorded Feb. 27, 1970, by Gilmour, as part of a session that included "Waving My Arms in the Air," "Living Alone" and "Wolfpack." (Barrett would later re-record "Waving My Arms in the Air" and "Wolfpack" for the "Barrett" [1970] album.) Why Gilmour took the recording following the session and kept it in his personal collection for more than 30 years, before he and the Barrett estate granted approval for its inclusion on "Wouldn't You Miss Me," had been a mystery.

"Those sessions were done so quickly," Gilmour offered as an explanation in the Spring 2001 edition of Mojo Collections, Mojo magazine's periodic collector's publication. "We were rushing off to gigs every day and we had to fit the recording sessions in-between. I probably just took it away to have a listen and simply forgot to take it back." He added, "Obviously it wasn't intended to be a final mix: Syd knocked it off, I took the tape home."

Accompanying himself on guitar, Barrett pays homage to the former Bob Zimmerman, while taking the opportunity to poke a little fun at him as well. Barrett sings clever references to Dylan songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Bob Dylan's Dream" in a talking blues style that is at once tribute to and parody of the famed songwriter.

While the rest of the tracks on the album can be found on Barrett's previously released albums, one other standoust is "Two of a Kind." Recorded for a BBC radio program just three days before "Bob Dylan Blues," "Two of a Kind" was previously only available as part of a hard-to-find EP title "The Peel Session." The track originally aired on the "Top Gear" program May 30, 1970.

"Wouldn't You Miss Me" features some insightful liner notes by Mojo Collections editor Mark Paytress, and detailed notes of each song's recording.
the best of syd barrett: wouldn't you miss me? album cover

Release date

Apr 16, 2001 (UK)

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Track listing

  1. Octopus
    03:48 (Barrett)
  2. Late Night
    03:14 (Barrett)
  3. Terrapin
    05:04 (Barrett)
  4. Swan Lee (Silas Lang)
    03:14 (Barrett)
  5. Wolfpack
    03:45 (Barrett)
  6. Golden Hair
    02:00 (Barrett/Joyce)
  7. Here I Go
    03:12 (Barrett)
  8. Long Gone
    02:50 (Barrett)
  9. No Good Trying
    03:26 (Barrett)
  10. Opel
    06:27 (Barrett)
  11. Baby Lemonade
    04:10 (Barrett)
  12. Gigolo Aunt
    05:45 (Barrett)
  13. Dominoes
    04:07 (Barrett)
  14. Wouldn't You Miss Me? (Dark Globe)
    03:00 (Barrett)
  15. Wined and Dined
    02:57 (Barrett)
  16. Effervescing Elephant
    01:53 (Barrett)
  17. Waving My Arms in the Air
    02:08 (Barrett)
  18. I Never Lied to You
    01:50 (Barrett)
  19. Love Song
    03:03 (Barrett)
  20. Two of a Kind
    02:35 (Barrett)
  21. Bob Dylan Blues
    03:14 (Barrett)
  22. Golden Hair (Instrumental)
    01:50 (Barrett)