Last week, dear fanoraks, we wrote how a mysterious package arrived at Atagong mansion: Spanishgrass, the myth continues...
It contained, next to a CD and several goodies, a tape reel, marked 'reel four'. An undated letter from High Fidelity GCA Sound, Purveyors of Fine Audio Equipment, explains how the four reels have been transferred to CD.
Project instructions: Leopoldo Duran (customer) provided four reel to reel tapes. Customer stated reels have been left unprotected in a drafty room. Customer would like archive copies made from whatever is on tapes. No alterations to the sound are to be made. Please deliver transferred files on to a compact disc.
Project Engineer Notes:
Minor water damage to tapes. Main concern is tape quality. Tape age is estimated to be mid 1970s. Due to the age of the tape, the tape is oxidizing and showing wear. In order to achieve the most optimum archival copy, the reel to reel machine heads were cleaned and aligned before each reel. Tapes were baked to achieve optimum quality from source. While a digital copy has been created from the reels provided, certain audio defects remain present. Even with adequate preventative measures, tape transfer achieved was not optimal. Listener should expect audio imperfections. This is most noticeable as minor distortions, speed inconsistencies, and subtle drop outs.
And then there were three
Our assumption that four tapes, each containing different tracks, have been anonymously 'delivered' to people around the world seems right.
Last week boxes arrived in Spain at the Solo En Las Nubes webmaster Antonio Jesús (reel 2) and in the USA at Birdie Hop administrator and music collector (and professional) Rick Barnes (reel 1). As a matter of fact the Spanishgrass set made it onto Rick Barnes' VC Vinyl Community update on Youtube (skip to 20 minutes to watch the Spanishgrass bit.)
For the moment we still have no clue about the whereabouts of reel number 3.
Next to the music on tape and CD there are some Polaroids from the Oseira monastery that further immerse the listener into the Spanishgrass set. These will be published on a daily base at the Spanishgrass section of our Holy Church Tumblr page.
The question that troubles most anoraks though is: do the tapes (and CD) really contain lost Syd Barrett tunes that have been recorded during his alleged stay at the Oseira monastery, somewhere in the seventies? We will only publish a review of the record next week, but this is what we can already divulge.
Save a prayer
Leopoldo Durán, professor of (English) literature, philosophy and theology, lived for three decades in Great Britain where he was contacted by Graham Greene after Durán's doctoral dissertation about priesthood. The two men became friends for life and the author annually visited the priest at the Oseira monastery. Greene's humorous and satirical novel Monsignor Quixote was a direct result of the long religious and political conversations both friends had, more triggered by visits to local vineyards than for the need of philosophical discours. Graham Greene died in 1991, after his final confession was taken by his Spanish friend. Durán would still correspond with Greene's widow and family until his dead in 2008 and published several biographical books about the author.
The Durán archives, 48 boxes in total, containing letters, manuscripts, pictures from Durán, Greene and others are archived at the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center, Washington, D.C., but nowhere there is a trace of a certain Roger Keith Barrett staying at Oseira.
Leopoldo Durán died in 2008, but the alleged Spanishgrass tapes were only posted six years later to four Syd Barrett scholars, after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and Solo En Las Nubes articles about the 1986 hoax (and its follow-up, by the original author, Jose Ángel González, in 2003). See: Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record, Spanishgrass, one year later and subsequent articles on this blog.
Where did the tapes stay between 2008 and 2014? Surely, if Leopoldo Durán would have had the Spanishgrass tapes, they would logically be in his archive, but they are not.
Last but not least. In the letter that can be found in the four Spanishgrass Immersion boxes (with one box still missing), Leopoldo Durán misspells his own name consequently as Leopoldo Duran, without an accent on the last a. On top of that Durán was a professor of English literature, so it is weird that the letter, destined for an English speaking audience, has been written in Galician.
Sometimes a hoax can be too elaborated...
So who or what is this Spanishgrass band or artist and what is on the album? Be patient, sistren and brethren, all will be revealed in due time...
(This is part two of the Spanishgrass, the myth continues... series. For part one press: Spanishgrass, the myth continues... Hi-def scans and pictures will be revealed, on an irregular basis, at our Spanishgrass Tumblr gallery.)
Many thanks to Mr. Anonymous for sending us this package.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Babylemonade Aleph ♥