Early Singles does not strike the casual fan as something worth searching for, as the track listing is markedly similar to an official Pink Floyd release, the singles CD included with the Shine On box set. However, two things set the official release apart from this bootleg. Early Singles drops "The Scarecrow," the B-side to "See Emily Play,"" and adds two true lost gems, the Barrett-penned "Vegetable Man" and "Scream Thy Last Scream." "Vegetable Man" marks the beginning of the end of Syd Barrett as a coherent songwriter, with depressingly mundane lyrics ("In my paisley shirt I look a jerk/And my turquoise waistcoat is quite out of sight/But oh oh my haircut looks so bad") and an off-time vocal line. But at the same time, it's a real scream to hear the band run completely off the rails, especially considering how tightly composed their tracks would become in the near future. "Scream Thy Last Scream" also features a familiar Barrett trope, that of the guitar following the vocal line in the verse, and an instrumental middle section dominated by Rick Wright's keyboards. Both tracks beg the question -- just who thought these would have been commercial singles? Apparently no one at the label, as they were pulled from release and were never issued. While being markedly uncommercial for the time, they were massively influential to the lucky songwriters who found bootlegs of them at a young age (think Robyn Hitchcock, for starters). Also of note on Early Singles is the Wright penned "It Would Be So Nice," a perfect slice of forgotten late-'60s pop, comparable to nothing else in the Floyd catalog, and one of the only tracks that "Rick Wright" got sole writing credit for (the other being the ponderous and ultimately forgettable "Paintbox"). Be aware, the sound quality on some of the tracks is quite rough, and in places the sound of vinyl crackles is audible.
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