Will the Real Syd Barrett Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up Special Edition/Faine Jade/Syd Barrett: Faine Jade — “A Brand New Groove”, Syd Barrett — “Baby Lemonade”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 10, 2022



As we learned yesterday, Bohemian Vendetta backed Faine Jade on his sole album — Introspection: A Faine Jade Recital— in 1968 (see #313). Today, we turn to that album, which has deservedly become a critical darling. Most interesting is that is that Faine Jade (real name: Chuck Laskowski) is often described as highly reminiscent of Syd Barrett, though he claims not to have heard of Barrett at the time. Well, the album actually is very reminiscent, and so I will also spin one of Barrett’s post-Pink Floyd solo gems (see #87). Please compare and contrast.

314) Faine Jade — “A Brand New Groove”

A triumphant song with lyrics (perfectly epitomizing their times) to die for. As Richie Unterberger describes FJ’s trajectory in All Music Guide:

[He] began performing and recording . . . in the mid-’60s, with basic, energetic, angst-ridden material that differed little from literally thousands of other like-minded garage bands . . . . His solo LP . . . showed a quantum leap in songwriting with reflective, enigmatic lyrics and a swirling but disciplined melodicism. It has ranked among the most coveted collectibles of the psychedelic era . . . . [and] sounds as if he was besotted with Pink Floyd’s first LP, which was barely known in the States at the time. Jade’s vocals and songwriting uncannily evoke an American Syd Barrett with their evocative, cryptic lyrics, thick organs, and psychedelic guitar lines.

Rockasteria enthuses that:

[The album is] a minimalist psychedelic masterpiece. . . . bursting with curiously off-center British-influenced psychedelic pop . . . . [It] passed through the orange-colored skies of 1968 like a pink and lavender comet, then was gone . . . . detail[ing] every deliciously enigmatic, Syd Barrett-inspired twist and turn of the short but sweet career of this mysterious artist.


As does Dr. Schluss:

[A] first rate collection of sun-drenched psychedelic rock. . . . Faine Jade’s songwriting and vocals were definitely taking notes from Syd Barrett, and he does a damn fine job of it. . . . . Jade takes the sound of British Psychedelia and executes it as a garage-rocking, awesomely low rent version of the L.A. studio sound. A very groovy sound indeed. . . . If you’re looking for a straight up Americanized Barrett fix then you can’t go wrong with . . . “In a Brand New Groove.” . . . Really, this album belongs in the Pantheon of top rate, obscure psychedelic rockers . . . .


As does Michael Saltzman:

[Introspection] ranks as one of the most highly-coveted lost psych classics, and it’s obvious why. Fronting a sparse combo complemented by a distant droning organ . . . Jade . . . sings quirky, melodic tunes drenched in the flavour of their time. The feel is tense and fractured . . . the songwriting . . . pithy and pop-radio accessible. . . . Syd Barrett-era Floyd [is] the most obvious influence throughout (surprisingly, Jade claims he hadn’t heard of Barrett at the time of recording).


315) Syd Barrett — “Baby Lemonade”

From Barrett’s second ‘70 solo album, Barrett,

Recorded while his old band was holding tandem sessions for what would become Atom Heart Mother [see #38, 260], Barrett’s second solo album was co-produced by [David] Gilmour and [Richard] Wright, who also served as sidemen. . . . Barrett’s wild-eyed whimsy was evolving into songcraft of the highest order, despite his well-documented mental state. Sadly, getting there was remained simply tortuous. “Syd was very difficult,” Gilmour [said] in 2003. “We got that very frustrated feeling: Look, it’s your fucking career, mate.” Even so, Gilmour felt compelled to help, in whatever way he could. “The guy was in trouble, and was a close friend for many years before then,” he added, “so it really was the least one could do.” . . . [The album] sounded tough — and incredibly modern. Most of [it], and in particular “Baby Lemonade[” . . . ] and “Gigolo Aunt,” [see #87] could still fit easily into a college-radio rotation.


To me, the lyrics’s meaning are pretty hard to pin down, but they’ve even been interpreted as an attack on the perfidious members of Pink Floyd (see Black&Green Achilles’s comment at https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3458764513820560141/):

BBC ’70:

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