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It was probably Monday the 28th of March 1994 when the Reverend came
home from work and had a burning hot CD in his pocket. On the train from
work to Atagong mansion he had already opened the booklet, had
thoroughly scrutinised the artwork by Storm
Thorgerson, trying to read the music in the intriguing images. Cerro
Tololo, the boxing gloves,
the paper heads
(and headlines)... The Reverend's heart literally skipped a beat when he
found out that Rick
Wright had been given a song
he could call his own. Rick's first Pink Floyd song for nearly two
decades (and literally the centrepiece of the album).
Probably the Atagong family had supper first, then LA-girl sat in the
couch, and after the Reverend had put the CD in the player he sat next
to her. It must have been a rather chilly day because there was some
wood burning in the stove and Mimi, the fat and pregnant cat, was
enjoying the heat in her basket.
The earth noises came in... and a new legend was born...
All this came back to the Reverend when, on the 19th of May 2014 a new
Pink Floyd website appeared, called Division
There was a countdown clock and a new - Storm Thorgerson inspired - video
for the excellent Marooned
instrumental, that grew out of a jam at the Astoria
recording studio between David
Gilmour & Rick Wright. There were immediately some rumours in Pink
Floyd internet land, some clearly more inspired than others, but the
general consensus was that the album would be re-released in an
anniversary or even an Immersion edition.
The obvious nod towards Thorgerson and Wright made the fans hope for the
release of The Big Spliff, a Division Bell satellite album whose
demos had been lying in the vaults since 1994. Nick
Mason in Inside Out:
After two weeks we had taped an extraordinary collection of riffs,
patterns and musical doodles, some rather similar, some nearly
identifiable as old songs of ours, some clearly subliminal reinventions
of well known songs. (…) But even having discarded these, forty ideas
were available. (…) We eventually ended up with enough left-over
material that we considered releasing it as a second album, including a
set we dubbed ‘The Big Spliff’, the kind of ambient mood music that we
were bemused to find being adopted by bands like the Orb, although –
unlike Gong’s Steve Hillage – we never received any invitations to join
this next generation on stage.
It needs to be said that the Reverend's expectations were running in
overdrive as well, he was hoping for a new Publius
Enigma clue (or perhaps a modest explanation of the riddle - stroke
- hoax), hidden in the artwork somewhere, and of course the anticipation
of some unreleased tracks, as on the other Immersion and Discovery sets
(see also: Fuck
all that, Pink Floyd Ltd).
Four Star Daydream
When the clock reached zero the website indeed revealed a pricey
Division Bell box-set (actually it crashed at first, as it was hit by
thousands of fans at the same time). Limited at 500 copies worldwide it
contained an exclusive Limited Edition Division Bell 20th Anniversary
T-shirt, a remastered double vinyl in gatefold sleeve, a Division Bell
CD and a Bluray with 3 alternative mixes and the new Marooned music
video. Some 7 and 12 inch coloured vinyl singles were thrown in as well,
together with a 24 Page 12" (30 cm) booklet, 4 art prints and... some
So basically Pink Floyd decided to ride the gravy train (again) by
repackaging the same product five times in the same box and throwing it
at the fans for the giveaway price of £157.50 (about 263 $ or 193 Euro,
the unlimited box [without t-shirt and coasters] comes somewhat cheaper
and is still available).
Each man has his price, Fred
The fact that it is Gilmour now who spits the fans in the face even made
it into the papers
and generally there is much disdain from the fanbase. What seemed to be
the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to sell some recycled
material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of Rick Wright and the
legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a cynical million
bucks more makes this release even more sickening. Polly
Samson once wrote: “David Gilmour should be cloned so that every
crowded house might have one”, but at this rate she can keep him inside,
lock the door and throw away the key.
Did you understand the music, Fat Dave, or was it all in vain?
And when you feel you're near the end And what once burned so bright
is growing dim? And when you see what's been achieved Is there a
feeling that you've been deceived? Near The End - David Gilmour, 1984.
Upgrade 2014: a month after the publication of this article it
was found out that a brand new 'recycled' Pink Floyd album was in the
make, loosely based upon the Big Spliff sessions. However, this resulted
in an unprecedented attack of the Floyd management towards its fans.
loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories...
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Sources (other than the above internet links): Mason, Nick: Inside
Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 315-316. Samson, Polly: Perfect Lives, Virago
Press, London, 2010, p. 225.
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Hop is not the biggest Syd Barrett (Facebook) group around, it isn't
the oldest Syd Barrett (Facebook) group around, but it surely is the
friendliest Syd Barrett group around. Don't take my word for it, visit
it for yourself one day.
It is a place were you can meet and greet with at least two dozen people
who have met the man in person, as a (hometown) friend, fellow student,
colleague, musician or even lover (but just like in the Cromwellian
heydays it isn't considered cool to bother these people too much). It is
a place were you don't need to expose your poster collection or your
playlist to attract some attention. With the exception of one particular
Reverend, all the administrators are friendly and don't switch into screaming
Roger Waters mode
whenever they have something to say.
The group is lead by Alex, who we call Papa
Smurf but only when he is not there, and who has a myriad of
psychedelic stories to tell if only he wouldn't be so bashful. About a
year ago, Alex invited some international Hoppers for a trip in and
around Cambridge and it still is a meeting people talk about. You can
read more about it here: Wasn't
it the most amazing meeting?
Two weeks ago his busy agenda lead him again into the UK where he
visited Libby Gausden at the south-west coast and headed for Cambridge
where the usual bunch of shady characters were expecting him. But in
between he took a slight detour to a small village in Sussex to have a
drink. And guess who was accidentally having a drink at the same place?
So for all people doubting about Iggy's existence, she's alive and
This is part one of Alexander's adventures in the UK, for part two, go
Hop Facebook group has also a side project where people with a
certain arty je-ne-sais-quoi are trying to get something on the
rails. For the moment it is still vague and too preliminary to predict
what may come out of it, but there are some ideas floating around and
these tend to trigger other ideas, and perhaps one day it will surprise
In contradiction to the Reverend, Rich
Hall - one of Birdie's administrators and the creator of the amazing
tribute album Birdie
Hop and the Sydiots - didn't sit on his lazy ass while Alex was
frolicking with the girls around the British landscape (see part one of
this article: A
sunny afternoon with Iggy). He took Syd's Opel track and
added several guitar layers to the original version to make it sound a
bit more finished. Of course it still has the quirky singing, but Rich's
attempt is something of a definitive version and one that could be put
on any Syd Barrett compilation album to come.
Update 2016 06 17: Soundcloud deleted this version a while ago,
but it can be found on Facebook as well:
In Cambridge Alex had the opportunity to meet some people who already
had an advance copy of the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
album that will come out any day now. Another reason to join Birdie Hop
is that you read and hear things first, straight from the horse's mouth,
so to speak. And, with Alex's blessing, we publish here what well could
be the very first review of this record in the entire world!
A big thanks to my friend and Punjabi brother Warren
Dosanjh who sent me the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band CD (I
had to look three times on the cover to write that correctly).
Of course, the sound and recording quality is not the best, but not as
bad as I feared. It is much better than the 1967 live recordings we have
of the early Pink Floyd. The main members Jack
Monck and Twink
do a great job in all songs, no doubt. The singer, Bruce Michael Paine,
makes some of the songs sound like a special performance of Uriah
Heep or Steamhammer
(obviously). The track listing is a collection of late fifties or early
sixties blues / rock 'n' roll / boogie tunes and a little bit of early
seventies hard rock as well.
I can only hear two guitars.
I hear the perfection of Fred
Frith in the first four songs and again in track 8 and 9, I´m not so
sure of #8 though. Frith is nearly a perfect guitarist and can almost
play nearly everything, nearly (lol)!
I definitively hear Syd Barrett in tracks 5 to 7. But he is not there
for just a little bit, he is almost dominating the songs. He is strong
and good and I´m sure he had practised a lot before, probably at home.
Syd doesn't has the perfection of Frith but he is full of ideas and he
is able to play parts that others can´t play or that others have not the
craziness to play these parts. But at other times he plays
conventionally and fits in perfectly with the song´s structures.
All in all this is much more than I had expected. I only listened to it
once, but I didn't want to withhold you of my opinion.
A last word. How we look at the quality of the performed songs has got a
lot to do with our viewpoints of today. Today we are spoiled by good
concerts and good audio productions, but I'm sure we would all have been
very happy to be there on the 27th of January 1972 in the Cambridge Corn
Perhaps my expectations were so low that I sound a little bit too
enthusiast now. But I am surprised by Syd´s guitar playing. I never
thought that he was in such a good shape as a guitar player. This lets
me believe that Twink is right and that the Stars concerts were far
better than what was written later by people who weren't there.
November 2005 was a pretty busy month for Floyd aficionados. John
Harris' eagerly awaited book 'The Dark Side of the Moon, The Making Of
The Pink Floyd Masterpiece' was published, but it failed to fulfil the
high expectations of those nerdy Floyd fan who already knew more about
the album than any author could ever write (for a short critical review,
go here: John
Cavanagh, so much to do, so little time). Rick Wright missed the UK
Music Hall of Fame ceremony, because he had a cataract operation.
However, David Gilmour and Nick Mason were there. Roger Waters gave a
small speech on video from Rome, where his Ca
Ira opera was premièred, with much acclaim from those who managed to
stay awake. The French Rock 'n Folk magazine causing something of a stir
by revealing the first dates of a 2006 European David Gilmour tour...
An incredibly rare recording of Syd Barrett, performing live on 27th
January, 1972, with the Last-Minute Put-Together Boogie Band, at a show
in Cambridge, has recently been unearthed, and plans are underway for a
The article further stated that Alan Barrett (on Syd's behalf) had
contacted Pink Floyd Music Publishing to have this tape released. But
the full story behind this story was, to say the least, an intriguing
one and could be found on the – now defunct – blog of FraKcman
and the (since then renewed) website of Spaceward
On 27 January 1972 a music festival was organised in Cambridge called Six
Hour Technicolour Dream. It was organised at the Cambridge Corn
Exchange, was advertised with an almost unreadable poster (orange on
brown, yuck!) and had the following bands: Pink Fairies, Hawkwind and
the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band (or LMPTBB or Boogie
Band, for short), featuring Bruce Paine, Twink, Jack Monck, Fred Frith
and a certain Syd Barrett.
The entire festival was taped, then forgotten, then (in 1985) found
back, then seized by Pink Floyd Ltd., then forgotten, then (in 2005)
found back and then shelved for 9 years with various people and
companies trying to resolve copyright issues.
This article (in a LMPTBB series
that will culminate in an interview with Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink'
Alder and perhaps some others) will try to reconstruct these steps. We
warn you that it is not always an easy read, where we quote FraKcman and
others we have not altered their testimonies, so Sydiots will find some
irregularities and mistakes here and there in dates, group names etc..
In September 2005 Mark Graham, aka FraKcman,
works on a 'recently rescued tape archive' from the Cambridge Spaceward
Studios, trying to reconstitute their discography, set up a database and
eventually re-release some of their hidden gems. What he finds is interesting
indeed, to say the least:
Spent yesterday in the studio with Gary Lucas making a 96kHz, 24
bit digital transfer of Spaceward's first recording which I found in
Gary's attic recently. It's a recording of a concert held at the
Cambridge Corn Exchange on 27/1/72. The bands were Hawkwind, Last Minute
Put-Together Boogie Band (featuring Syd Barrett) and Pink Fairies. Much
to our amazement the tape sounded just as good (or bad) as it did when
last played 33 years ago - and no gunk left on the tape heads!
Gary Lucas tells about this discovery on the Syd Barrett Under Review
FraKcman is aware that the Barrett Boogie Band recording is an important
one and wants to include at least one track on a compilation album. On
17 October 2005 he notes, not without irony:
I just got a phone call from Le Grand Fromage at Pink Floyd
Music Publishers Ltd in response to the message I had left 3 weeks
ago. I pitched my idea of releasing an improv from the Last Minute
Put-Together Boogie Band's set at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, 27/1/72
on a putative Spaceward Studios retrospective album on Gott Discs. I'd
been expecting him to say "Cease & Desist" but... he bought it! He said
he'd sanction it on behalf of Syd provided the other musicians accept
equal terms :) Yippee!!!
It is in November, and after the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett communities
have digested the news and bombard him with questions, that FraKcman
tells the full story.
On the 27th January 1972, Mike Kemp, Secretary of the Cambridge
University Tape Recording Society, received a telephone call from Gary
Lucas, CUTRS member and undergraduate at Pembroke College, requesting
microphones. He'd been seen earlier in the day unloading a Revox tape
recorder from his car into his lodgings (it happened to be the start of
term) and had been asked if it could be used to record a concert that
was taking place later in the Corn Exchange.
Mike agreed to
help, went along to the concert and thus met Gary Lucas for the first
time. Their collaboration that night was the start of what would become
Spaceward and, fifteen years later, a business with a turnover of £5m, a
staff of over 100, and offices in 6 countries. (...)
line-up (in order) for the concert was Hawkwind, Last Minute
Put-Together Boogie Band (featuring Syd Barrett) and Pink Fairies.
Hawkwind played first - 7 or 8 songs including "Silver Machine".
on was LMPTBB. It should be noted that this was NOT a "Stars"
or "Syd Barrett All-Stars" gig - the line-up is different.
There were several gigs by Stars at around this time including (I think)
one at the Cambridge Corn Exchange with Eddie "Guitar" Burns. (...) The
line-up was: Bruce Paine (vocals & guitar), Jack Monck (bass), Twink
(drums), Fred Frith (guitar) and Syd Barrett (guitar). The set lasts an
hour. Syd is introduced on stage after 30 minutes. He plays on 5 songs,
4 of which are blues numbers and there is one 9 minute jam
(improvisation) which is fairly loose and free-form.
Fairies played last and perhaps benefit from the best sound.
one point there was a fight and, more than once, one mic or another
became disconnected from the mixer.
Note: a Syd Barrett All Stars group never existed, although this
name will be used several times by FraKcman. The Eddy
"Guitar" Burns gig (that had Syd Barrett jam on stage with
Twink and Jack Monck) was held on the previous day, the 26th of January
1972. This was not a Stars gig, but a LMPTBB one who were also Eddy
"Guitar" Burns' backing band. Some info posted here could already be
found in a 2010 Syd Barrett Pink Floyd (aka Laughing Madcaps) article: Syd
Barrett Stars - Everything (So Far).
The tape is found back... and disappears
Mark Graham, aka FraKcman, continues:
After the gig, copies of the 'master' were made and distributed. Mike
and Gary each retained a copy for personal use. I did not know this - I
wasn't even at the gig. I don't come into the story until 1985 when
(what turns out to be) Mike's copy is found. Here's what I wrote (in
2003) about the finding of it.
"I think it was during the
Summer of 1985 when we were clearing out the space above the Control
Room roof that I came across the Syd Barrett All Stars tape. It was just
one among hundreds that were languishing there, pretty much forgotten
that Owen Morris and I were sorting through - our task was to phone the
bands or record labels concerned and get them either to collect their
tapes or allow us to wipe them.
I admit that it was with a
trembling hand that I descended the ladder clutching the tape and then
threaded it on the Revox. We listened to it once, all the way through,
and, though it pains me to say so, it was an absolute load of old shite.
was awful. Truly. The sound itself was poor and the onstage tuning was
non-existent. It was painful to listen to. Stoned, out-of-key noodlings
- remarkable only for how dreadful it was. If I remember correctly parts
of the Pink Fairies and Hawkwind sets were also on the tape.
my response would have been had the recording been brilliant, or even
good, of course we'll never know (might I have stolen a copy?) but it
was clear to me that this could only ever be of historical (or forensic)
interest - you'd NEVER want to actually listen to it - so, not having
Syd's phone number to hand, I rang EMI.
The very next day a
big car swished into the yard and out stepped a suit. I don't remember
the gentleman's name - only his suit. He was from EMI and he'd come to
listen to the Syd Barrett tape. I explained the history to him, made him
coffee and then played him the tape.
He said nothing until
"This recording can add nothing to Syd's legend -
it can only detract from it. It must never be made public".
took the tape away in his big car and, as far as I know, no copies
Regrets, we have a few
But was the 1985 really that bad, FraKcman reconsiders:
By 2003 I was thinking that I'd been somewhat dumb in 1985. For example,
take my description: "Stoned, out-of-key noodlings" I realise now that,
in 1985, I simply did not 'get' what Fred Frith was doing. Today, with
perhaps greater insight and, setting aside vested interest, I might
perhaps better describe Fred's playing as "extemporising atonally" - in
other words, free improvisation. I didn't understand it and I didn't
like the sound of it at all. Also, and please forgive me, It wasn't
exactly in my best interest, looking back in 2003, that the tape might
or could have been of any interest or quality since I'd voluntarily
surrendered it to the MIB. I didn't want to go down in history as
someone who'd dumped a treasure. But, in truth, I bitterly regretted
having given it away.
The tape is found back (reprise)
Anyway, let's move the story on to 2005...
On the 8th
September, as is told in my blog for that date below, I climbed into
Gary Lucas' loft/attic and recovered around 50 tapes, including the one
in question, though I didn't know this at the time. Later, when I did
discover it, I immediately booked a studio session to make a 96khz,
24bit digital transfer.
Mick, the studio engineer for the
digital transfer, judged the audio quality to be variable but better
than most bootlegs. He thought that with time spent on restoration and
sweetening he could certainly produce something 'release-able
technically' if not of ideal quality. Gary Lucas, also present, agreed.
I was beginning to think my judgement of 1985 may have been coloured by
the fact that, at that time, the engineers at (and clients of) Spaceward
were all dedicated perfectionists and audiophiles (E.G. Ted Hayton, Owen
Morris, Dave Stewart etc etc). Nowadays things like "The King Crimson
Collectors' Club" have shown what it is possible to achieve with old
recordings. Technology changes everything.
My own aim was
to tell the Spaceward Story - it's a good story and deserves to be told
(as the discography attests) I could imagine this as part of a series of
releases on Gott Discs - all compilations of various artists - Psyche
Folk, Punk etc etc. Gary and Mick preferred the idea of the presenting
the whole gig - as an event with all 3 bands' sets (or as much of) - and
Gott Discs were of the same opinion.
Permission found and granted
We decided that I should set about trying to contact everyone involved
and at least ask them nicely for permissions. What was there to lose?
After a week of diligent searching and a lot of help from person or
persons unmentionable, I managed to acquire the contact details for all
the relevant parties, except Syd. So I wrote to them all, explaining who
I was, what I'd got and what I wanted - I.E. to release it (or parts of
it) as "The Spaceward Story - Volume 1- the Corn Exchange, Cambridge -
27/01/72". To my surprise and delight, no-one objected outright though
all wanted to hear it first and agree terms before granting permission.
It is fortunate that at least one song/number is an improvisation as
this means that, in addition to a fee, all performers are entitled to a
fair share of composers' royalties as administered by PRS/MCPS Alliance
licencing in the UK. I also spoke with Twink (for the Pink Fairies) and
Dave Brock (for Hawkwind) and it was the same story for them - no
immediate objections but they want to hear it first.
Note: asking John 'Twink' Alder was actually not the right move.
In 1972 he was no longer a member of the Fairies (but of LMPTBB).
In search of Syd
So now it was time to contact Syd's people. The first thing I did was to
ask my friends for help - who should I call? I was given a number and a
name: Alan Barrett, Syd's brother. So, rather nervously, I rang Alan and
I pitched my story in a open and (I hope) courteous way that seemed to
get his approval - anyway he told me to leave it for a few days and then
call Pink Floyd Music Publishing Ltd and ask them. When I rang them and
explained myself again, I was told that the project had already been
green-lighted - provided only that the other musicians agree "equal
So that's where we are now. I must go back
into the studio and produce something that I can send to all the
performers (along with a contract) that sounds good enough to persuade
them all to grant permissions for a release.
The two tapes
Interesting in FraKcmans' story is that two Barrett tapes were
unearthed at Spaceward. The first in 1985, now safely in the hands of
EMI (or perhaps Pink Floyd, his story will change underneath) and one in
2005. It is not certain if the content of the two tapes are different,
but FraKcman certainly thinks
so (20 August 2006):
It seems obvious now, but it's taken me a long time to get to the point
when I feel absolutely sure that there were two Syd Barrett live
recordings made by Spaceward in early 1972.
was the Last Minute put-Together Boogie Band featuring Syd Barrett, Fred
Frith and Eddie Guitar Burns at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on 27/1/72.
Two was Starz at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on either 24/2/72 or
26/4/72. [Note from FA: should be 26/2/72, probably a typo] This I
believe was the tape that I handed to Pink Floyd Management in
There are some serious memory holes and contradictions in the blogpost
above, what is understandable after all these years. On top of that it
needs a certain amount of Sydiocy to immediately recognise these.
First: Eddie Guitar Burns did NOT play on the Six Hour Technicolour
dream, he played the day before (but also with Syd Barrett on stage,
hence the cockup). Second: if the 1985 tape was a Stars (not Starz)
one, why then did FraKcman note before that it contained 'parts of the
Pink Fairies and Hawkwind sets'? Third: if the 1985 tape was a Stars
one why then did FraKcman note that he did not 'get' what Fred Frith was
doing on it. Fred Frith never played with Stars, although he rehearsed
with them, was asked to join even, but declined.
'Rehearsals were difficult, because Syd had pretty much lost any
capacity to focus,’ says Frith. ‘Everyone was in awe of him, and we
wanted him to lead us in a way, but he couldn’t. Jack kind of took
charge and we did the best we could, but at the only concert that I
did with them, Syd played “Smokestack Lightning” or variations
thereof in every song, and didn’t really sing at all. To say I was
hugely disappointed is maybe the wrong way of putting it. I was shocked,
angry, devastated, that it had come to that. I didn’t know what to do or
how to be in that situation. I always had a lot of difficulty being
around “famous” people and especially famous people who I really looked
up to, and this was even by my own standards of social ineptitude, a
painful experience, and overwhelmingly sad.' (Fred Frith as quoted in
Rob Chapman's A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p.
In a previous post FraKcman writes he contacted EMI about the tape, but
here he says someone of Pink Floyd confiscated it, although this could
not be contradictory if EMI contacted the band. But this whole story is
a bit dodgy, to say the least, it smells. Handing over a tape (that, by
the way, also contained a Hawkwind and Pink Fairies concert) to a
competitor, without even asking for a receipt? It seems that not only
Syd Barrett fried his brain on drugs.
Back to the Six Hour Technicolour Dream recording. Mike Kemp is the man
who engineered it (Spaceward
The recording of the concert was organised at the last minute and the
equipment was poor as all that was available was a rather poor mixer so
we just stuck a stereo mic pair across the stage for drums/backline and
mixed in some PA mix for front. We were positioned on the top of a sort
of cloakroom arrangement in a corner near the stage (in about an inch of
thick dust) but had a bad view of the stage from the equipment area due
to columns in the building. I spent most of my time with headphones at
the troublesome mixer so saw little.
The whole affair was a
shambles with a fight breaking out around the stage at one point
destroying at least one of the mics. I was pretty naive at the time and
can not say I saw Syd Barrett but everyone was saying he was there.
There were a number of rambling untogether acts and I am pretty
convinced that the Syd Barrett All Stars was mentioned at the
time, as well as "The last minute put together boogie band".
There we have that Syd Barrett All Stars band again! Jim Gillespie was
present at the two Boogie Band gigs with Barrett (July
The Cellar at King's College was always a venue for jamming and always
had lots of people there from the Town and not just University. I played
there myself lots of times between November 1969 and June 1971.
was present at Kings Cellar on 26th January 1972. Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band played a first set with Twink on drums, Syd Barrett
on guitar and Jack Monck on bass. Then Eddie "Guitar" Burns played and
at end there was a jam with Eddie, Twink, Jack Monck and a guy called
Bruce on guitar (sorry I have no other information on who this is apart
from his first name but I wrote this down the next day so I figure it is
I also went to what was billed as "Six Hour
Technicolor Dream" at Corn Exchange in Cambridge the next day 27th
January 1972. Hawkwind definitely played as did Pink Fairies and also I
can confirm, as I wrote it down, that Fred Frith did indeed play guitar
alongside Syd and Twink as part of Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
at that gig.
I also saw an outdoor gig in streets of
Cambridge with Twink and Syd and this took place on 12th February 1972.
The mysterious Bruce is probably Bruce Paine who had to gig with LMPTBB
the next day anyway. So the jam might have been some kind of an on stage
The sound of silence
Then it became silent around the tape. We suppose that clearing the
copyrights wasn't as easy as expected and that the project was
continuously postponed until the owner got enough of it. In June 2010
the reel was up for auction
at Bonhams but the minimum
bid (of 5000£, so was rumoured) was not reached and the auction was
We may only be happy that Pink Floyd, nor EMI bought it, as they were of
the opinion they already had it (and probably they were right). This is
just a theory but they were pretty certain they could delay this release
forever. On top of that they were so parsimonious they didn't find it
necessary to buy the second copy and have the opportunity to bury it,
once and for all.
Anyway, good news for us, the fans!
In January 2011 there was again some hope when it was found out that Easy
Action had bought the Six Hour Technicolour festival tape. They are
are a (small) record company, specializing in rare and alternative
recordings, demos, live versions and anything that falls in between the
chairs of the big music publishers, but that can still be legally
published. Looking at their catalogue you will find releases that seem
to be destined for completists alone, like Marc Bolan home recordings or
For a while they put up the following cryptic message on their website:
Easy Action has purchased a number of reels of master tape capturing a
performance by Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and a band hastily assembled
featuring Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett NOT Stars!
Cambridge in January 1972, we will be investigating further copyright
clearances and one day hope to produce the whole lot for your listening
That Easy Action wanted to have a return on their purchase was proven in
August 2011 when the Hawkwind concert was published as Leave
No Star Unturned.
On 27th January 1972, Hawkwind, their comrades in Notting Hill /
Ladbroke Grove psychedelic proto-punk agitprop The Pink Fairies, and
what would be labelled as The Last Minute Put-Together Boogie Band
featuring the elusive Syd Barrett were brought together at The Cambridge
Corn Exchange under the title The Six Hour Technicolor Dream by local
music promoter and ‘Head Shop’ proprietor Steve Brink.
we’d had the technology of today way back then, then for such a line-up
we’d most certainly have on our shelves the DVD with its 5.1 stereo
soundtrack, the CD box set, and the Blu-ray package.
what we have is something previously shrouded in mystery and rumour;
quarter-inch ReVox open reel sourced recordings that have been whispered
of in the circles of those who know.
One of only two known
copies of this show surfaced in the mid-80s, promptly to vanish into the
vaults unheard and unreleased. Thankfully, the other finally emerged
from a forgotten loft space in 2005 and made its way into the hands of
Easy Action Records via a circuitous route which included an appearance
at the famous Bonham’s auction house in London’s affluent Knightsbridge
- what a contrast to the anarchic ‘peace and love’ characters decrying
the evil tentacles of ‘The Man’ who play on these recordings.
Did you notice that Easy Action also thinks that there is only one
recording, but two tapes? They have probably contacted EMI and/or Pink
Floyd Ltd and did the comparison.
Slow & easy
However, releasing the Boogie Band album seemed much more difficult than
the Hawkwind gig (but easier than the Pink Fairies one, apparently). The
album was announced a couple of times, first for 2013, then for 2014.
Here is what a music industry insider once told us:
Carlton (from Easy Action) has been burned before by putting things out
prior to getting all the clearence needed to do such a project. He has
learned a very "valuable lesson" in that.
Green light or not, it would take until 2014 to get things settled, and
finally, here it is... the Syd Barrett recording everyone has been
hoping for since nearly a decade.
(End of part one of our LMPTBB
series, part two will have more of the same: Syd's
Last Stand. You have been warned.)
Many thanks to: Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder, Rick Barnes, Easy
Action, FraKcman (Mark Graham), Jim Gillespie, Alexander P. HB, Mike
Kemp, Gary Lucas, Spaceward Studios and the Wayback
machine. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
In a previous article, The
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story, you could read how the reel
came into place, how a first copy was found back in 1985 and immediately
seized, in about the most moronic way ever, by Pink Floyd Ltd (or EMI),
who put it into one of their secret locker rooms.
The second (and last) copy was found back 20 years later and when it was
put on sale, EMI nor Pink Floyd reacted, which could have been their
ultimate chance to bury this release forever and ever... They were so
full of themselves they thought they could delay this release even with
another copy floating around.
Easy Action purchased it and after an immense struggle, behind the
scenes, to get the copyrights (partially?) settled it was finally
released, in June 2014. Of course this isn't an audiophile release, it
is nothing more than an audience recording (but one of the slightly
better ones) and the band that plays is rough and sloppy at times, but
they seem to enjoy the gig. The Number Nine jam is, for Barrett fanoraks,
as essential as the Rhamadan
download, that – if our information is correct – has disappeared from
the official sydbarrett.com
servers, but can still be downloaded on iTunes.
The Syd Barrett website
is run by One
Fifteen that, like a good dog chained to Pink Floyd Ltd, has to lick
its master's orifices for a living. Is that why you won't find a trace
of LMPTBB on the official Syd Barrett news overview? And now that we are
on to it, stop that irritating jukebox, will you.
But perhaps we, members of the Sydiot league, are just a bit
over-sensitive and too unrealistic to acknowledge that Syd Barrett was
just a very small sardine in a fishbowl of sharks? Isn't the Reverend
getting too geriatric for this kind of goody good bullshit? Anyway, here
is our second article in our Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band series,
because nobody seems to care if we don't.
Update 2016: in January 2016 the official Syd Barrett website
changed hands. It is now maintained by the Barrett family. After a good
start with some out of the ordinary articles about Octopus
Dylan Blues, it has - unfortunately - retreated into internet limbo.
After Barrett's second solo album failed to impress the charts Syd
retreated to Cambridge where it became clear that not all was well (see
also: Hairy Mess).
Trying to find his way back in music, at his own pace, he met Jenny
Spires, who had returned to Cambridge as well and was now married to
bass player Jack Monck whom Syd jammed with at least once. On the
26th of January 1972 Jenny took Syd to an Eddie
‘Guitar’ Burns gig that had Jack Monck and John
'Twink' Alder as backing musicians. Of course Twink was not unknown
to Syd, they once had managed to gatecrash the launch party of King
Crimson's first album, high on a dangerous cocktail of Champagne
Peregrin Took) and mandrax (accidentally misplaced in Iggy Rose's
handbag who would otherwise never carry such a thing with her).
Somehow Jenny and Jack persuaded Syd to bring his guitar and when the
Burns gig ended Syd joined the backing band for an impromptu jam. In Terrapin
3 from February 1973 this gig was reviewed by Mervyn Hughes:
Eddie (Burns) does a solo spot, then announces his “Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band” which consisted of Twink on Drums and Jack Monck
on Bass. This band was given a set on their own and Syd was roped in to
play too. (…) Although he stood at the back (just jamming as he
obviously didn't know the numbers) play he did.
Our previous article
in the LMPTBB series has a testimony of Jim Gillespie who noted that the
jam with Syd Barrett took place as a supporting act, before the Eddie
'Guitar' Burns gig. He claims the LMPTBB played two short sets, one
before (with Syd) and one after (with Bruce Paine). This is just
another example of how memories can differ between persons, especially
after a four decades interval.
In the extremely well written and definitive Stars (and LMPTBB) article: Twilight
of an Idol, Mark Sturdy quotes another witness, Steve Brink:
There was a real natural musical empathy between the three of them. In
any improvisational band, the musicians have to be interested in what
each other are doing, and Syd was genuinely interested. It was just a
free-form jam for about half an hour – more improvisatory than 12-bar
blues, and I’m sure it changed key on any number of occasions. But
there’s always that moment, that dynamic thing when three musicians make
something that works.
Steve Brink was the man who organised the Six Hour Technicolour Dream
festival the next day and perhaps he was secretly hoping for Barrett to
show up again. We can't be sure of what Syd Barrett thought of it all,
but Jenny Spires, Jack Monck and Twink convinced him to rehearse the
next afternoon. The band tried to have Syd sing at least one of his own
songs, but that plan was abandoned as Syd was still too fragile. Fred
Frith, from Henry
Cow fame, was quite disillusioned and would still be after the gig:
Syd played “Smokestack
Lightning” or variations thereof in every song, and didn’t really
sing at all.
Well let's find out if he spoke the truth, shall we?
Why don't you listen to the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band album
on Spotify while reading this interview? (A Spotify membership is
probably needed, but this is free. There is no need to download and
install the Spotify player, the music will (hopefully) play in your
It is clear that this is not a soundboard, but an on stage recording and
already after 41 seconds there seems to be a microphone falling out.
Actually this is good news because it accentuates Fred Frith's guitar
playing that surely is inventive and most of the time right to the
point. Don't worry, sound quality will get better after a while, or
perhaps it is just our ears getting used to the recording. The first
number undoubtedly is just a warming up for better things to come.
The band introduces itself after the first track. Tape completists like
to have the full recording of a concert, including guitar tunings and
chatter in between numbers, and these seem to be left in. Of course
every commercial release might be edited and snipped here and there, but
if it is done it is pretty well done. However there are some places
where we think some cuts have been made.
L.A. To London Boogie
Singer Bruce Paine announces the second number as one he wrote himself.
Bruce Michael Paine, who sadly passed away in 2009, started as a folk
singer in Greenwich Village (NYC) in the 60's. Like Dylan, his music
became “electrified" by the middle of the decade, and he signed with
Atlantic Records. He joined the Apple
Pie Motherhood Band after their eponymous first album (1968) and
sang on their second and last (Apple Pie, 1969). Both records can be
found on the web and don't really impress, call it contemporary
psychedelic oddities of the average kind.
After Apple Pie (without the crust, as Nick Mason would say) Bruce Paine
stars in the San Francisco production of the musical Hair,
then he moves to London where he meets drummer Twink and bass player
John 'Honk' Lodge, from Junior's
Eyes and later Quiver.
They form a power blues trio, the 'Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band'
(luckily they didn't pick Honk, Twink & Paine for a band's name). After
some demo sessions at Polydor the band is denied a recording contract
and a disillusioned Honk leaves the band. With Jack Monk as replacement
the band mysteriously ends up in Cambridge, but after about ten gigs the
claim for fame is over.
In May 1972 Bruce Paine briefly joins Steamhammer
for their European and UK tour, but then he calls his European adventure
quits and returns to the States to star in another musical, this time Jesus
Later on he will do session and acting work, with (small) roles in
Married with Children and Quantum Leap. According to his self-penned bio
he appeared in numerous films and television series and kept on gigging
with his own band.
L.A. to London Boogie is a straightforward seventies rock song and the
good thing is that about one minute into the tune Paine's micro switches
back on. Remarkable is that Fred Frith keeps throwing arpeggios around
as if they come thirteen in a dozen. All in all the band plays pretty
tight, but the song itself is nothing more than a good average and
leaves no lasting impression.
The third song is called Ice. It is a cover from the first Apple Pie
Motherhood Band album, the one Bruce Paine didn't sing on, and written
by Apple Pie member Ted Demos and session singer Marilyn Lundquist. On
the album Ice is a trippy psychedelic blues that seems to go nowhere in
the end but how does the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band deals with
One thing you can say that it is longer, almost the triple longer than
the original. Frith adds guitar lines that don't always seem to be
coherent in the beginning but that get better later on. At the three
minutes mark Twink and Frith start an experimental cacophony and this
makes us wonder if this is what Spaceward Studios archivist Mark
'FraKcman' Graham described as dreadful, stoned, out-of-key noodlings
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story). It sure is a weird fusion
between blues, hard rock and the avant-garde prog sound of Henry Cow,
the band Frith started in 1968. The prog-rock stoners in the public
must have loved it. Of course this is a cheap reflection afterwards
but in this track Paine really shows he is the right person to star in
those hideous Andrew
Lloyd Webber rock operas, that man has a throat and he knows how
to use it.
A heckler in the audience shouts for some some rock'n roll and we get
the classic Nadine. Also known as "Nadine (Is It You?)" it is a song
written by Chuck
Berry who released it as a single in February 1964. A
straightforward and simple rendition this is, nothing less, nothing
more, these guys know their business.
We haven't said a lot about Twink and Jack Monck yet, but the band
certainly is inspired and well-trained. In the liner notes Twink
reveals that they recorded several demos for Polydor, including L.A.
To London Boogie and one that isn't on this live set, called Smoke.
The band did about 10 gigs in total and as this could well have been
their last gig they were a well oiled machine by now and it shows.
From now on the gig can only get better and better.
Drinkin' That Wine
Time to announce a special guest:
We'd like to bring Syd Barrett up to the bandstand. Will you come on
and (???) how about a hand for Syd Barrett?
We hear some polite applause and a guitar that is plugged in. Bruce
Paine tells the public that the last group he toured with in the
States was Gideon
Daniels' gospel band and that he picked the next song from their
set. There isn't much about him on the net, but one comment on a YouTube
video tells this:
I saw Gideon & Power numerous times, and to this day (…) they were the
best live act I've ever seen -- and that includes Jimi Hendrix. I
remember when Mickey [Thomas] joined. Prior to that, there was Bobby
Castro, Bruce Payne [sic], and Charlie Hickox on piano and vocal.
According to Bruce on the Six Hour Technicolour Dream record the song
is about a funky dude who gets drunk by stealing the mass wine but in
fact this is a traditional communion song that has been described in
several anthologies and studies, like The
Negro And His Songs from 1925 (page 136) and Slave
Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands from 1942 (page 249-251):
The swinging rhythm of the communion song, “Drinkin' of the Wine”,
made it a favorite with the chain-gang for cutting weeds along the
American minstrel Bascom
Lamar Lunsford learned the song around 1900 in Wilkes County,
North Carolina and you can hear him singing it at the beginning of
The history of the Drinkin' That Wine traditional is fascinating (the
Reverend lost nearly three hours reading about it) but it would bring
us too far. What matters for us, Syd fans, is that Syd Barrett plays
on it and that it is a mighty earworm and the catchiest song on the
album. Once you've got in into your head it is difficult to get it out
The track turns into a power blues that pushes Syd's guitar to the
background at points, but his playing can be well distinguished if you
take attention. His playing is in a different style from Frith's,
muddier, sloppier perhaps... He does not spit out the notes at 120
beats per minute but this is about having a good time and not about a
finger speed race.
This is good, this is really good.
As if a gospel wasn't weird enough, in a Floydian context, the gig
turns even weirder. Number Nine is a bluesy jam that starts pretty
traditional and then develops further into space. This could well be
the highlight of the album for vintage Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett
freaks. It catapults this reviewer back to the Abdab days when the
proto-Floyd struggled with psychedelic versions of Louie Louie and
other R&B standards. This may well sound like early Pink Floyd may
have sounded in their experimental days. In the Barrett biographies to
come this track will be described as being as essential as the
Whitehead Interstellar Overdrive and the recently (and reluctantly)
released Rhamadan. We took the liberty of grabbing some comments on Yeeshkul:
Demamo: “The guitar playing and sound is very "Lanky" and "Gigo Aunt"
Orgone Accumulator: “For all his psychedelic leanings, Syd tapped into
that earlier Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly groove, with an emphasis on
Beechwoods: “I must admit that musically I like it and there is an
interesting progression between Interstellar and his '74 guitar pieces
('Chugga Chugga Chug Chug' etc) that is worth hearing.”
Like Rhamadan this isn't easy listening, but just like Rhamadan it
isn't the disaster everyone feared for either. Listen to it,
concentrate, feel the groove. It will grow on you.
Just before the eight minutes mark a micro falls out again for a
couple of seconds, resulting in - weird enough – a better sound
quality because the sound isn't distorted any more.
Gotta Be A Reason
At ten minutes the track segues into Gotta Be A Reason, probably the
second LMPTBB original on this record. This track is only mentioned as
a separate number for copyright (read: financial) reasons because
after the strophe and refrain it further develops into Number Nine
territory. As a matter of fact, early track listings just mentioned it
as Number Nine (Gotta Be A Reason) and not as two separate numbers.
The jam ends somewhat sloppy with Twink, who has been in excellent
shape throughout the record, in an obvious death struggle on drums.
Perhaps it is just a clumsy way to have Syd unplug his guitar and
leave the stage.
What a weird trip it has been.
The eighth track is named Let's Roll on the CD, and this can be open
to some controversy.
Actually this fun piece is a close cover of Elvin
Bishop's Party Till the Cows Come Home that is equally
irresistible (watch this 2013
version and try not to tap your feet), co-written with S. Colby
Miller and recorded on the Elvin Bishop Group's second album Feel
While the lyrics of the verses are different in both versions:
Everybody out for a have a good time I say wiggle baby and I'll be
mine You gotta shake your legs and wiggle with your hip
Kick out the windows bust down the doors We`re drinkin` half
gallons and shoutin` for more Take off your shoes and let yourself
The refrain, melody and chord progression are almost identical:
We're gonna boogie till the rooster crows We're gonna party till
the cows come home Let's roll. Let's roll. (Let it roll in
the Elvin Bishop original).
Bruce Paine toured with Gideon Daniel's gospel band in the USA, before
he went to the UK, and that musician worked, on different occasions,
with Elvin Bishop, so perhaps a link can be found there. Perhaps both
tracks are based on a communal forefather or traditional, who knows?
When the Reverend remarked on Birdie
Hop that he found it weird that none of the Boogie Band song
credits mentions copyright owners, nor lyricists and composers,
although the two owners had nine years to sort this out, the answer -
from a music insider - was laconic as ever:
It is gray area and not as uncommon as you think, especially in the
world of music. (…) The usual reason is that it's a sorted affair,
meaning multi copywriters on the same tune. The composers also have to
agree with how it is going to be submitted to ASCAP or BMI. So rather
than hold it up, the material gets released.
In other words, by not sorting out the copyrights beforehand, the hot
potato is pushed forward until the record has been released. If the
copyright holders eventually find out they can ask for a slice of the
pie (or in this case: potato) and if they don't: tough luck. And just
yesterday morning the Church was informed that the reason why this
release still isn't widely available in the shops is there still is 'a
small issue with agreements...'
Let's Roll aka Party Till the Cows Come Home gets a great round of
applause, but alas it is time to say goodbye with a last tune,
originally from B.B King.
Sweet Little Angel
Shivers down the spine, although the song is given a somewhat shady
treatment, but that adds to its integrity.
Not only a great band was lost with the Last Minute Out Together
Boogie Band, but lead singer Bruce Paine surely deserved a better
musical career than he actually had. If you don't want to buy this
record for Barrett's involvement, do it to remember Bruce Paine. We
certainly hope he is drinkin' that wine with Syd, up there in nirvana.
Guitars (3 different ones)
The Reverend is so tone-deaf that if you play him a trumpet and tell
him it is a guitar, he will believe you. So all we hear, thanks to
god's unequal distribution of the aural senses, is a mud-pool of
guitar noise. Luckily some people can distinct instruments, like Syd
Wonder does on Late
There are three guitarists on this set... Two of them play on tracks
without Syd. Barrett's announced when he joins the group in mid-show,
while Frith isn't. I think Frith plays the entire show, with Bruce
Paine on guitar as well.
This could be correct as Bruce Paine joined LMPTBB the day before, on
the Eddie Burns gig, with his guitar to have a jam.
About the tracks with Syd he adds:
"Drinkin' That Wine" - vocals were recorded very loud; I hear three
guitars. Instrumental sections are from 1:50-3:03 (Syd heavily
distorted, playing rhythm, searching, finding a groove - when he
starts to solo, Paine starts to sing again), and 3:41-4:49 (Syd plays
some solid leads).
"Number Nine" - highlight of the set, it begins with a repeated riff
from Barrett. The band doesn't react, so he stops and they all start
again. Some worthy improvisations emerge, as it continues. Frith's
guitar work is more trebly and rather busy, Barrett's comparatively
relaxed and textural. At times I hear three guitars. I really like
what Syd plays in the last couple of minutes.
"Gotta Be A Reason" - it segues out of Number Nine, in a continuous
performance. Syd solos for about 30 seconds near the beginning. Paine
sings a bit, ceases at 2:05. Three guitars again... Frith becomes very
busy... Barrett responds with strong counter-melodies, seems to vanish
sometime after the 5-minute mark.
Sound quality: slightly above bootleg quality, with tape damage
here and there and mikes that fall out (and are plugged in again).
Towards the middle of the gig the sound gets rather distorted due to
the higher volume levels and there is a lot of resonance. At Yeeshkul,
where sound fanatics reside, questions have already been raised that
the cleaning and denoising was clumsily done, but this can't be
verified without a raw tape leaking out.
Performance: sloppy and muddy at times, but great fun that
still can be felt 4 decades later. The band is a typical seventies
power blues construction, think : Led Zep, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple.
Syd is not in super form, but he isn't that bad either.
Packaging: it looks great, with a 12 page booklet and an
exclusive Twink interview, but lacking song copyright information.
Accuracy: grumpy as we are, we need to get the following of our
chest. The back cover correctly places three asterisks next to the
three tracks that feature Syd Barrett. However, both Fred Frith (who
is on all tracks) and Syd Barrett (who is only on three) get an
asterisk next to their name. Blimey, Easy Action record cover people,
you have had 5 fucking years to get that cover right. As mentioned
above, there are 3 guitar players present, something that is
overlooked as well on the sleeve.
Trivia: the poster, used for the front cover, was meticulously
scanned in by Warren
Dosanjh of I
Spy in Cambridge fame and a honorary member of the Birdie Hop
Facebook group. Eternal thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, not
only for a magnificent performance but also for rolling, pushing and
squeezing the ball.
Many thanks to: Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder, Rick Barnes,
Beechwoods, Birdie Hop, Mick Brown, Cyberspace, Demamo, Chris Farmer,
Late Night, Orgone Accumulator, Syd Wonder, Yeeshkul. ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 171-173. Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p.
283-285. Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe,
Plexus, London, 2010, p. 392-400. Six Hour Technicolour Dream
poster scanned in by Mick Brown.