Call of the Wild: Barrett's first released solo album
Splitting this album into rock songs and folk songs means that one minute you're being treated to your favourite kind of music and then you're being introduced to something else you might like. This was considered a dangerous move for artists associated with the punk genre and world.
Released in the same year and compared against Otway's "Where Did I Go Right?" by his biographer, Dave Thompson, as being much better.
Recorded in Barrett's own studio, a barn. How clean and crisp does it sound? Special mention to Paul Ward, likely the engineer, in expert microphone placement and audio techniques.
Late Night Lady
As the first song on the album it has to deliver and by a large it does
The guitar intro. The only thing going on, being left to carry the listener and it never gets old
The clavichord-like sound underlying most of the song may well be guitar. It's hard enough making a guitar sound like another stringed instrument.
Again, a guitar intro but this time it's saying "I'm not getting out of your face!"
"Temptation, tearing at my soul..."
The bass ending seems to be improvised on the spot. Did it or did it not stay with you afterwards.
Heartbeat of the City
Barrett, who doesn't consider himself the best singer in the world, delivers a near perfect harmony with himself and his mandolin
When the mandolin gives way to the electric guitar melody and chops you know this song's just as badass as the previous two
Let's Play Schools
One of Barrett's finest self-penned songs, it doesn't disappoint
The Wordplay! "Once you've seen her looks you'll leave your books behind"
Barrett and Yvonne Grech, his then girlfriend, singing about roleplay without compromising the performance.
The fact this song was chosen as the only single makes things even more clear how much of a good songwriter Barrett is
The fiddle solo. Already having given "what the man reckons to be his best ever fiddle solo" in Me and the Devil, delivers a challenger.
Mark Freeman's drumming on Call of the Wild. It's some of the tightest in the history of music and when it grooves it grooves and when it growls it growls never losing the beat or dropping in excitement.
Mark particularly remembers this and says recording the album was "Great fun".
Barrett's bass playing. He's not a bassist by trade but this hardly matters.
The mid-80s singles. "Old Joe Clarke", "Rapping On A Mountain", "Hitchhiker and the Punk"
Rapping On A Mountain
The previous best is mere Let's Play Fools compared to this. Whereas the previously great one was likely not performed to a click, this one certainly was and Barrett doesn't fluff at all. Considering what kind of a performer and what ethic he has it's not out of the imagination to say that it was nailed in less than 5 takes.
One wouldn't normally associate awesome with double (and sometimes triple) tracked fiddle but it's never-the-less a badass sound.
Hitchhiker and the Punk
If the lyrics don't give you the shivers then the backing track certainly will. Sparse, mythical and magical it's certainly not uninteresting and very much exemplifies how Barrett was progressing and diversifying as a producer.
Recorded on a very tight budget and still manages to kick the butts of music with funds injected in the most trivial of things. The instrumentation is some of the most pleasing ear candy
Please Don't Throw Me To The Christians
Described by one reviewer on the internet as "This is folk rock on angel dust , pubrock in delirium , but it is the worst of all: it swings like hell."
The guitar work is spot on, expect to find no sloppiness here