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Perhaps that is not entirely true, but at least we've got your attention.
was a Syd Barrett fanzine appearing from the early till the
mid-Seventies. The alternatively wired Bernard
White was one of the few who used to run the legendary magazine
although it has mainly acquired this status through the amnesic mist of
time. The magazine was badly written, badly styled, badly distributed
and, to add insult to injury - somewhere in between - the different
editors used the scarce pages of their own magazine to fight out some
internal editorial wars. Call it a Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit avant
la lettre, quoi.
But of course Terrapin occasionally had its peak moments. A young Robert
Chapman, whom we all know from his excellent work of fiction A
Very Irregular Head, debuted in Terrapin number 2 with his review
of the February 1972 Stars gig at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. He had
it mainly wrong, so he was already creating a habit there.
A smart trip
The most intriguing piece in Terrapin did not come from Rob Chapman, nor
Bernard White, but from the mad bard himself. Issue 9 (July 1974) had a
previously unpublished poem, written by Syd Barrett, titled: A
Rooftop Song In A Thunderstorm Row Missing The Point. Several weird
theories have surfaced about it and one of them goes that the starting
letters of its title form the witty anagram 'a smart trip'. Not all
Barrett fans believe the poem was written by Syd, but - and otherwise
this article would have no reason at all - let's assume he did. The
poem, as it appeared in 1974, can be found in our Rooftop
gallery. It is in Bernard White's handwriting, as are most pages of
Terrapin, because there was no typewriter around when he created the
A Syd Barrett poem, circa late 60s/early 70s, signed, in black ballpoint
on a small piece of paper, entitled 'A Rooftop Song In A Thunderstorm
Row Missing The Point', thirteen lines, beginning, 'With yellow red and
foomy food, and quivered / crouching on a golden cushion / Undressed
himself to dissapear (sic) through an infinity of pleasure...', the
reverse with part of a question/answer piece, one side covered in tape,
12.5 x 13cm (5 x 5in) approx. Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000, EUR 2,300 –
3,500. (Note: a facsimile
can be found at our Rooftop
But what was most interesting, intriguing and salivating was the
footnote at the bottom of the Bonhams page:
This will feature in a book
about Syd to be launched in March 2011, with an exhibition at Idea
Generation, and the Barrett family have confirmed this is in
Almost immediately the allusion that the piece was in Syd's handwriting
was questioned by some fans. At the left side there is a snippet of Pink
Floyd's See Emily Play and that is how Syd Barrett's handwriting
looked like. Late
Night member Dark Globe did a fine job by comparing Barrett's
and White's handwriting and concluded:
To me, the handwriting on the Bonhams poem itself looks closer to BW's
handwriting than to Syd's. (Syd's handwriting tended to slope to the
left all throughout his life). I'd guess that the Bonhams item is
actually a draft written in a looser hand by Bernard White for the final
version which appears in the fanzine. (Taken from: Rooftop
Brettjad at Madcaps
Laughing remarked: “I don't get it. If it's Syd's, then why did he
write that interview on the reverse?”
A pertinent question indeed. The Anchor took the liberty of taking a
closer look at the backside of the document (see gallery).
One of the first assumptions the Anchor can make is that the sold
snippet was cut out of a larger piece of paper as the top of the
backside horizontally slits a sentence in half. But that is not all
there is to see.
The backside text contains a Syd Barrett interview, taken by GiovanniDadomo,
probably in 1971, but only published three years later in Terrapin. And
still that is not all.
The backside transcript is (partly) page 5 of Terrapin 10. In other
words: here is the original page, in Bernard White's handwriting,
before it was printed and distributed to its subscribers in August 1974.
The underneath illustration hopefully proofs that both are identical
(first line: Terrapin 10; second line: Bonhams poem - back side).
Missing the point
Let's digest this for a while, while we have a go at the poem itself.
According to Bonhams, Barrett's family has confirmed it is in Syd's hand
although they fail to produce a certificate of authenticity or to simply
name the family member who has testified this. If they can't it is
hearsay, to say the least.
For the sake of argument, let's believe the poem is in Syd's
handwriting. Why then did super-fan & collector Bernard White prefer to
publish a copy of the poem in his handwriting rather than to
publish Syd's original? Surely someone must have been missing a point?
In Terrapin 9 White thanks 'Hypgnosis for the poem and photos'. Still
following Bonhams train of thought this means that Po (Aubrey Powell) or
Storm (Thorgerson) gave Bernard White an original Syd Barrett document
without asking for a receipt. That's not how we know them, especially
not in 1974.
Anoraks have of course spotted the mistake in the previous paragraph.
Bernard White thanks Hypgnosis, not Hipgnosis. As
legendary as his fanzine are his spelling errors (in one issue he
jokingly described himself as 'Bernard M White: spelling mistakes and
all other errors'). The Rooftop paper has got two: 'your writting'
and 'to dissapear'. White's spelling errors are as unique as his
handwriting and the 'dissapear' error is repeated in both
versions of the poem. Oops!
Bonhams' Barrett vs Terrapin's White
To end the discussion, once and for all, let's have a look at the two
known Rooftop copies: blue is Bonhams (Syd Barrett), red is Terrapin
(Bernard White). Hmmm...
It is in a book, ergo it must be true
Not only does Bonhams claim that the poem is in Barrett's handwriting,
they also maintain that their version is going to be published 'in a
book about Syd to be launched in March 2011, with an exhibition at Idea
Who could be better situated to acknowledge this than Russell
Beecher, the editor of Barrett,
The definitive visual companion to the life of Syd Barrett.
Unfortunately he told the Anchor:
We also thought that the poem wasn't written in Syd's hand so we haven't
included it in the book. I am not sure about the family authentication
but I think, as you and we have worked out, that point is irrelevant as
we know it's not Syd's writing. (…) A shame though - would have been a
Indeed, there must still be a third version of the Rooftop poem
somewhere, the one - (perhaps) in Syd's handwriting - that Bernard White
copied in the Hipgnosis headquarters. But that is not the one that was
It's a gas!
On the 15th of December of 2010 a collector paid 2,160 £ for
this original piece of Bernard White's handwriting, probably believing
that it was Syd's. (Some information has now been removed from the
Bonhams website but the Anchor has a screenshot.)
It was then when the Anchor decided to contact Bonhams
to ask them if, perhaps, an eeny weeny teeny meeny mistake had
An automated reply from Leonora O. learned us that she was out
until the 5th of January and that for all queries we should try another
mail address, that happened to be exactly the same address than the one
we had send our questions to. So we waited, until the year was finally
In January we contacted Bonhams a second time. We got a reply from Katherine
B. who was so friendly to inform us that Stephanie C. was
going to answer us immediately.
Just before this article went into print (or should we say: upload) we
informed again if Stephanie C. finally had any comments. Alas, she was
too busy waiting for the ink to dry on a recently found Apple iPod that
has John Lennon's signature on it and couldn't come to the phone.
Bernard White and Syd Barrett, sharing a Guinness at the great gig in
the sky, are probably laughing their arses off.
The Anchor wishes to thank: Russell Beecher, Dark Globe who made
an excellent comparison of Barrett's and White's handwriting at Late
Night. Further analysis shows that the letter d in 'seasoned'
(from the Bonhams poem) and the letter d in 'Bernard' (as in
White's signature) are coming from the same person (post
It is with great pleasure that the Reverend introduces a new contributor
at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Not only did Antonio Jesús live in
the beautiful city of Cambridge but as editor of the slightly fantastic
Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo en las Nubes he has published
several Autoentrevista or Self-Interviews with Barrett
specialists, biographers and friends.
These interviews will now find their way to the English speaking part of
the world at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. We start with a bang as
this one is already a world exclusive, an interview with the manager of
one of Syd's first Cambridge bands: Those Without.
If you would like to visit Cambridge this summer, it is too late to book
Spy Syd In Cambridge tour. In 2008, Warren Dosanjh, Syd Barrett's
first manager, was invited by a non-profit organisation to guide
visitors through the city. Many of these field trips had exclusive and
unexpected guests and left the visitors in awe.
Warren Dosanjh is every inch a guide. I was lucky to attend the very
first tour, still a try-out, and it was a blast. He told us a thousand
and one stories and anecdotes like only an expert could do. On top of
that he also knows the best places in the slummy parts of Cambridge.
But today we're lucky as Warren has decided to give a self-interview for
Solo En Las Nubes.
Where did you meet Syd Barrett for the first time?
We were at the same school. It was called The Cambridgeshire High School
for Boys aka The County. Roger, as he was called then, was a year below
me. I think that Roger Waters was one or two years above.
How well did you know him then?
Quite well but not as a close friend. Many of us were excited about the
emergence of rock'n roll, R&B and to a degree some folk music,
particularly Bob Dylan. Some evenings were spent at Syd's home in Hills
Road or that of a neighbour, Dick Whyte, listening to and playing music.
Did you play a musical instrument?
I tried very hard to learn the 5-string banjo but as I am left-handed it
proved to be too difficult in the long-term.
How did the band Those Without evolve?
Alan 'Barney' Barnes and Steve Pyle came to my home one evening wanting
to form a new band. They were in a band called Hollerin' Blues
but wanted to disband as a means of getting rid of Brian Scott, their
manager. They asked me to be the manager of the new band and I agreed.
And the name Those Without?
Very late that same night Steve spotted a book on my shelf titled Those
Without Shadows by Françoise
Sagan. "That's it! We just drop the word Shadows.", said Steve. All
bands in those days seemed to be called 'The' someone or other and this
was certainly a new concept in band names.
So what was it like being a manager?
Getting the bookings was quite easy I remember. The difficult bits were
having transport for us and the equipment particularly when we played
outside of Cambridge. Luckily I had a lovely girlfriend Vernia whose
father owned a VW
But the most difficult part for me was handling Alan Barnes. He was
without doubt one of the best musicians around, playing keyboards,
harmonica and singing lead. He had a great feel for R&B. But
unfortunately he knew this and could be very contentious and 'up
himself' after a few drinks. There were often occasions when I would
have to take him outside for a quiet word.
So what sort of music did Those Without play?
Mostly R&B. Bands like Jokers Wild were mostly playing cover versions of
pop records in the charts whereas a few bands like ourselves were
playing classic R&B covers of artists like John Lee Hooker, Howlin'
Wolf, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, etc...
How did Syd get in the band?
Syd wanted to have a go at being in a band. He had previously played for
one night at a CND fund-raising event with a band invented for just that
night, called Geoff Mott & The Mottoes. Steve Pyle brought
Syd along to a practise and asked if he could play bass with us and help
out on the vocals. They were at that time both at The Cambridge School
of Art. I remember Syd bringing along The Kinks' new record - 'You
Really Got Me' - and playing it over and over again.
You mention The Kinks - were there any other bands that influenced
It was unique. A melting pot of contrasting views, opinions and
influences that often fused together to create a new exciting life for
young people trying to throw off the shackles of post-war Britain. I
remember Allan Ginsberg giving a poetry reading at King's, Duke
Ellington playing an organ recital at Gt. St Mary's Church, student
'rag' days, continental films at The Arts Cinema, nights in Grantchester
Meadows, smoking my first spliff and losing my virginity. Much much
When did you last see Syd?
I saw him a lot in the 60s. He played with the band about 12 times
before finally settling in London and forming Pink Floyd. When he
returned to Cambridge and after the failure of Stars he became more
reclusive. Sometimes I would pass him in the street as he lived just
around the corner from me but he was always in a different world and I
didn't want to invade his privacy.
We, his school mates and friends, just let him go about his business. We
just remember him not for Pink Floyd but as a well-spoken likeable guy
that we grew up with - a friend who just lost his way.
Check out the I
Spy Syd in Cambridge website that holds many goodies, even now
when the tours no longer exists.
The music scene of Cambridge, Walking Tour, Venues and Bands. A
must read for everyone who is interested in Syd's Cambridge. This 36
pages booklet contains a Cambridge city map and has descriptions of the
different venues and many unknown Cambridge bands of the Sixties.
Researched and compiled by Warren Dosanjh. Edited and layout by Mick
Brown. Further contributions and research: Lee Wood, Alan Willis, Jenny
Spires, Brian Foskett, Viv ‘Twig’ Brans, Stephen Pyle, Albert Prior,
Jess Applin, Cherrill Richardson, Mike Richardson, Hank Wingate, David
Ellingham, Jonathon Church, Sudhir Agar, Dave Parker, Graham Smith, Tony
Middleton, Ivan Carling, Judy Woodford, Jenny Taylor, Stuart Dingley,
Dave Thaxter, Tim Renwick, Pete Rhodes. (March
2011 PDF download, about 5 MB)
of Those Without and Hollerin' Blues, with the staggering news that Syd
Barrett has never been a member of that last band. More about the
of Those Without (with and without Syd).
Pink Floyd Syd Barrett Interviews with Friends (2009): Roger
"Syd" Barrett - Cambridge Autumn 2009 Interviews with friends Richard
Jacobs, Sue Unwin, John Watkins, Stephen Pyle, Warren Dosanjh, Diana
McKenna, et.al. by Alexandros Papathanasiou. Hosted at Youtube: Pink
Floyd Syd Barrett Interviews with Friends.
Reflections: Sixties Counterculture in Cambridge, a film from
Alexandros Papathanasiou & Kameron Stroud (2011). Reminiscence of the
sixties alternative movement in Cambridge by 7 local interviewees,
including Warren Dosanjh and Stephen Pyle. The film reflects the
interviewees memories during that time as well as it addresses their
powerful conclusions about the impact of the 60's alternative generation
on the present time. Hosted at Youtube: part
1 (10:46) and part
2 (10:11). Hosted at Vimeo: Reflections.
Early November 2008, while we were baffled by The
City Wakes festivities in Cambridge, a mystery man send the
following message to some Syd Barrett oriented forums:
Next Week (November 10th) I begin filming a DVD of places associated
with Syd and the roots of Pink Floyd in Cambridge. I'm looking for
someone to assist as a production assistant. This will be PAID work.
Three days - Monday, Tuesday and Friday. There are 25 locations I am
aware of that were not included on the tours and I will also be
including interviews with many people not at the Wakes events.
What does a production assistant do? Lugs equipment, gets coffee but
also has an input into the production and filming. If anyone is
interested please email me. (Taken from: Syd's
Cambridge, help wanted.)
That man was Lee Wood who, in the sixties & seventies played in a
few obscure bands such as The Antlers, The Pype Rhythms, The New
Generation, The Sex and LSD. Because it was so difficult to find obscure
records he opened a record store “Remember Those Oldies” in
1974 that grew into an independent punk rock record company after he had
witnessed a rehearsal session from the legendary punk band The
The sessions were recorded in Spaceward
Studios who are known in Pink Floyd's territorial waters because
they used to have the only tape
in the world of a concert of the Last
Minute Put-Together Boogie Band, recorded on the 27th January 1972
at Corn Exchange, featuring a certain Syd Barrett. Also present were Hawkwind
and their live set of that day has just been issued by Easy
Action. There is no clearance yet for the other bands and at their
website Easy Action has only put the following enigmatic message:
Syd Barrett, Pink Fairies
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!
Recorded in Cambridge in January 1972, we will be investigating further
copyright clearances and one day hope to produce the whole lot for your
Unfortunately Lee Wood did not become the second Brian Epstein or
Richard Branson. As a newbie in the record business he didn't realise
that even punk bands need a business plan (and some proper bookkeeping).
He kept on releasing those records he liked, and about the only one that
actually made a decent profit was 'Settin'
The Woods On Fire' from rockabilly rockers Matchbox.
Other bands that landed on Raw Records were The Killjoys whose leader
Kevin Rowland would later form Dexy's Midnight Runners, The Soft Boys
(with Robyn Hitchcock) and even Sixties sensation The Troggs:
When I was growing up in the 1960’s I loved The Troggs. It’s a long
story but in 1977 I became their manager and we recorded “Just A Little
Too Much” at the legendary Olympic Studios in London. (…) It was issued
in 1978. (Taken from: Just
A Little Too Much.)
Raw Records also had its Decca
audition disaster. Between 1977 and 1978 Lee Wood literally received
hundreds of demos, after he had put an ad in a music magazine. One came
from an average Manchester band called Warsaw and the tape was
binned without further ado. A year later the band had changed its name
to Joy Division and hit the post punk scene with its dark and
In 1979 the company was losing so much money that the record store
couldn't cope any more for its losses (several singles only had white
sleeves because there was no money to print covers) and after about 30
singles and a few LPs Raw Records was history. (Raw Records history
compiled from: Punk
But a decade before Lee Wood ventured into punk he had been following
the Cambridge R&B scene. Antonio Jesús could persuade him to confess the
following on the Solo en las Nubes blog... and here it is, for
the first time in the English language and exclusively licensed to the
Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit...
I have lived in Cambridge since 1962. My parents moved to a small
village called Histon just outside Cambridge when I was 12 years old and
they ran a Public House.
Did you ever meet Syd or members of Pink Floyd?
I never met Syd but I probably bumped into him (literally) as I used to
go Roller Skating about 3 or 4 times every week at Cambridge Corn
Exchange and I’m told Syd went there with his sister.
I knew David Gilmour to say hello to, as I played in a band and spent a
lot of time in the local music shops. In fact I was in a shop called Ken
Stevens on the day David came in and bought a Fender Stratocaster. 3
days later we all read in Melody Maker magazine he had joined Pink Floyd.
I have since met a lot of his friends. People like Warren (Dosanjh,
Syd Barrett's first manager), the very beautiful Jenny Spires, Clive
Welham (drummer in Geoff Mott and the Mottoes) and many more. Let me say
– I can understand why Syd liked them so much. These people are loyal
friends and wonderful human beings. It is a pleasure to know them.
Did you ever see Pink Floyd play live?
Yes. At The Dorothy Ballroom in Cambridge. Of course they were amazing.
Note: The Floyd played that venue on Friday, 17 February 1967 for the
St. Catherine's College Valentine Ball, with Bob Kidman, Alexis Korner's
Blues Incorporated and Pearl Hawaiians.
What was the music scene like in Cambridge during the period 1965 to
It was probably like any other town or city of its size. There were lots
of groups and a lot of places for them to play. Unlike today you could
put on a concert at virtually any church hall or the back room of a pub
and people would turn up. It was a very vibrant place. The music scene
was incredible. Everything you read about the 60’s – and more. The Corn
Exchange and The Dorothy ballroom put on lots of famous bands every
week. I saw The Who just after My Generation came out, The Kinks, The
Rolling Stones, Spencer Davis Group, The Kinks, Small Faces and many
Did you ever see Syd perform in his first band “Those Without”?
It is possible. When I was 15 some of the older guys who used to drink
in my parents pub in Histon would go to another pub in Cambridge called
"The Racehorse". Even though I was underage they would take me virtually
every week and I saw a lot of bands. I didn’t drink – I just went to see
the bands play. I am sure I saw Jokers Wild play there and I know Those
Without played there around that time. The band I remember the most and
my favourite were called “Something Else” after the Eddie Cochran song
but it is possible I saw Syd play there and didn’t realise it. There was
also another great band from the area where Syd lived called The Go Five.
Note: Those Without played The Racehorse on Sunday, 20 June 1965 while
Jokers Wild had passed there on Friday, the 26th of March 1965. In those
days Jokers Wild were quite popular, in 1965 they swept the Dorothy
Ballroom 9 times and gigged 22 times at Les Jeux Interdits
Were there any other bands in Cambridge who sounded like Pink Floyd?
Yes. There was a group called "This Sporting Life" who really liked them
and copied their light show. They were a really good band. The drummer
was a friend of mine called David Orbell who actually had a professional
recording studio in Histon from 1965 and recorded a lot of bands. He is
certain Syd came over and played guitar with another band on one
Note: the garage freakbeat compilation Le Beat Bespoké 3
(Circle Records, 2008) has an intriguing 1966 track, from an unknown
Cambridge band: Time's
A Good Thing by Syd's Group. Obviously the liner notes hint
that Syd Barrett had a hand in this recording but actually nobody knows
the band members, the record studio or the exact date. While some claim
that the guitar play is similar to Syd's in a typical fuzzy Sixties
style, Kiloh Smith from Laughing
Madcaps has suggested that the track is an Eighties forgery annex
tribute annex pastiche by a neo-garage-freakbeat band. If only someone
could access those tapes in Lee Wood's collection...
He gave me the tapes of a lot of local bands who recorded there,
including "The Wages of Sin" with lead guitarist Tim Renwick. David
lives in somewhere like Brazil nowadays so I never see him.
Do you still have the tapes?
Yes I do. But I sold my old reel-to-reel tape recorder many years ago
and have no way of playing them. But I did hear the track and it is
possible. It certainly sounds like Syds style but was recorded in 1965.
Do you know where the famous bench dedicated to Syd that two fans
told him about when they visited his house is located?
I know exactly where it is. I have visited it on several occasions. The
inscription is not obvious. It doesn’t actually mention Syd by name. I
show details of it on the DVD I produced called "Syd's Cambridge".
Can you tell us what is on the DVD?
The DVD consists of three seperate tours of Cambridge.The first tour is
the City centre. The second tour is the area were Syd grew up and lived.
The third tour is all the places inside and just outside Cambridge
connected with Syd and the early days of Pink Floyd. As I have lived
here all my life I know the city very well. A lot of the books that have
been published have incorrect information so I decided to include all
the correct details. It shows over 30 locations associated with Syd and
Pink Floyd. It even shows the place where Stars played that no one knew
It also corrects details about the only performance by Geoff Mott And
The Mottoes. They didn’t actually play at the Friends Meeting House – or
other places previously mentioned. I give the real location on the DVD.
You can see it all. It also shows the inside of Syds house and garden
and has an interview with the girls in the artshop where Syd bought his
Can you tell me about the special box set as I have heard about it
but never seen one.
The box set is very special. A beautiful pink box with a ribbon
containing two DVD, the tours DVD plus one of Matthew Scurfield and Emo
talking about Syd and life in the 60’s. The box also contains a book of
places connected to the band, the real estate agents details of Syds
house when it was for sale (with details from his sister), a Cambridge
postcard and bookmark, some special wrapping paper I had designed and
specially made and also a small plastic bag with some soil I took from
Syds garden when I visited it. There are also some other items in it.
There were only 100 copies of the box set made. Each one is individually
numbered and when I sent them out to people they were sent from the Post
Office Syd used just round the corner from his house. I also had a
special cardboard posting box made to make sure the box set arrived in
perfect condition. I’m quite proud of it and the comments and thank you
letters I received bear this out.
Some people have asked me about the box set and what it contains, so
The first DVD
is divided into 3 tours. In total we cover 58 locations. There is a lot
of new information, including a review of a little known STARS
performance at The Perse School, with the actual date and a review of
the concert. There is also video of the hall where it took place.
The Geoff Mott And The Mottoes performance did not take place at either
the Friends Meeting House or in the Union Cellars. The DVD reveals for
the first time where this historic event did take place.
As has been revealed - our research proves beyond a shadow of doubt Sid
Barrett was the Double Bass player with the Riverside Jazz Band - not
the drummer as claimed in virtuallly every book and article. We also
discovered the origins of his nickname originally given to him in the
Note: this was later confirmed by Syd's school and scouts group mate
Geoff Leyshon in A very Irregular Head (Rob Chapman, 2010).
The DVD has footage of 183 Hills Road including the back garden and
takes you right up to the front door. There is exclusive footage from
INSIDE the Union Cellars and inside Homerton College. Both of these
locations are not open to the public.
New information about David Gilmour just days before joining Floyd, the
exact location of the park bench dedicated to Syd, the EXACT spot on the
Market Square where STARS performed plus lots of photos from the
1960's/70's including The Dandelion Cafe.
There is also an interview with the girls from the art shop where Syd
(Roger) purchased his brushes and paints.
Plus a lot more - his local shops, post office, supermarket and places
he played when a member of Those Without, including Cheshunt College
The city centre tour is conducted by two friends of Syd and at each
location they reveal details of their times with him.
The box set also includes a DVD
of the City Wakes discussions by Emo and Matthew Scurfield, a book with
maps and places around Cambridge, details
of Syd's house, cuttings
from the local newspaper including adverts for the STARS concerts, a
card and a small sample of soil
taken from 6 St Margaret's Square. There is also exclusive video footage
of Syd's house and garden filmed by me in 2006. (Taken from: Syd's
Cambridge Box Set.)
Syd's Cambridge Box Set Gallery
Our new gallery shows artwork of the (sold out) Syd Barrett Limited
Edition Deluxe Box set issued in 2008 by Sound Publishing. The scans
contain (most) material of the box and follow the numbering of the certificate.
Some parts have (deliberately) not been scanned and some have been
slightly tampered with: Syd's
Cambridge Box Set Gallery. The interesting book
inside the box is Pink Floyd Fans Illustrated Guide of Cambridge
(96 pages) by Mark Warden and Alfredo Marziano. A review of this book
can be found at Brain
Damage and Amazon still has got a few copies left.
Notes (other than internet links mentioned above) Chapman, Rob: A
Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 11-12. Povey,
Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing,
2008, p. 25-27.
On the 6th June of 1970 Syd Barrett gave his short Olympia concert
together with David Gilmour and Jerry
Shirley. We won't get further into the discussion about the set's
brevity and about the fact that a certain faction of Barrett fans and
musicians, including Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder, think
that the tape of that gig is in fact a Stars performance of February
1972, but we will use this date as a calibration point for Syd's...
length of hair.
The friendly discussion about the exact colour of Syd's floor boards
created an existential crisis in Barrett-land (see: The
Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012)), with people who refuse
to talk to each other ever since, and the hair-length discussion
promises to be as lively. As a matter of fact Syd's Hair Chronology is
not a new topic, we could find a Late Night forum
thread from 2007, but like all things Syd this discussion comes up
about every 6 months or so.
the second solo album, was released on 14 November 1970 and his
management found it advisable to have some photo shoots and interviews
to promote the album.
Barrie Wentzell had the following to say about this:
Chris Welch and I went along to do a quick interview with Syd at his
managers office. We were a bit apprehensive, as stories of Syd's
behavior of late seemed bizarre. When we got there, we were met by a
very upset guy who said Syd had locked himself into a room and he
wouldn't come out. Oh dear! It seemed the stories were true. Chris and I
spoke to him through the door and tried to convince him that we were his
friends and that everything was ok. He slowly opened the door and
ushered us in quickly shutting and locking the door behind us. He stood
there looking very frightened, muttering, Those people out there are
aliens, and are after me! We tried to tell him that they were his
management and friends and they cared about him, as do we. He seemed
unconvinced, and I took this dark side of Syd pictures and managed to
persuade him to let Chris and I out and that we'd send help. He took the
key from his pocket, unlocked the door. We escaped and Syd locked
himself back inside. Taken from: Snapgalleries.
The pictures of Syd Barrett, taken that day by Barrie Wentzell, have
been nicknamed the 'stoned tramp' session and show an unshaven Syd
Barrett with mid-long hair and a pair of eyes that not always seem to be
focusing on something (see: second picture). One of them appeared in
Melody Maker of the 31st of January 1971, next to the Chris Welch
article that was titled: Confusion
and Mr Barrett. (To add further discombobulation Barrie Wentzell
dates the picture as 1971 on his own website,
but it is – probably – from November 1970.)
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (aka I like tomato)
In Autumn 1970, Barrett was living semi-permanently in his mother's
house in Cambridge, far away from the frantic London beatnik drug scene
he had been a member, propagator and victim of. He had deliberately left
everything and everybody behind to find some peace of mind. Perhaps he
had decided to follow Gala Pinion, who had found a job at Joshua Taylor,
a Cambridge department store and who had left London a few months
earlier. One of Syd's many dreams was to settle down and start a family.
Gala and Syd officially announced their engagement in October after they
had found a ring at Antiquarius on King's Road.
To celebrate this event a joint family engagement dinner was organised
but that day Syd was not in a very good shape. While Donald, Alan, Ruth,
Roe and Gala's father where staring at each other in silence he threw
some tomato soup over his fiancé and disappeared for the bathroom when
the roast pork arrived... Julian Palacios:
He cut off his long hair to an inch from his skull and returned
downstairs. As though the sixties had never happened, he severed links
with his past with a pair of scissors. He rejoined the family fold,
taking his place at the table in silence. Gala said, ‘No one batted an
eyelid. They carried on with the meal as if nothing had happened, didn’t
say a word. I thought, “Are they mad or is it me?’”
It is not sure when this dinner took place, but it might have been after
the Barrett promo interview(s), so December 1970 seems like a valid
candidate. The dinner fiasco was an omen for things to come, Syd would
spy on Gala at her work and accused her to have an affair with a sales
assistant and with his former drummer, Jerry Shirley. One day Barrett
wrote a formal letter to break off the engagement and she returned the
ring, but he would still harass her for weeks to come. During a final
row, incidentally at Jerry Shirley's place, Barrett finally understood
that he had lost. Even Syd must have grasped at one point that showing
up at night and scaring the shit out of her was not the proper way to
win her back.
A few months later, that same Barrie Wetzell photographed Barrett to
accompany the famous Michael Watts article that appeared in Melody Maker
on the 27th of March 1971 (see third picture above).
Barrett has very short hair and looks rather agile:
Syd Barrett came up to London last week and talked in the office of his
music publisher, his first press interview for about a year. His hair is
cut very short now, almost like a skinhead. Symbolic? Of what, then? He
is very aware of what is going on around him, but his conversation is
often obscure; it doesn't always progress in linear fashion. Taken from: Syd
Barrett interview, Melody Maker, Mar 27 1971, Michael Watts.
The above quote points out that the 'skinhead' pictures date from mid
March 1971, although on Wetzell's website
they are mislabelled as 1970. Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental met Syd
on the 19th of April 1971:
He now has his hair cropped to Love Me Do length but compromises with a
purple satin jacket and stack heeled boots. During the interview he
relights each cigarette from the remnants of the previous one and pivots
his eyeballs at an incredible speed as he speaks. "I've just left a
train and had to pay an awful taxi ride" he says slowly tipping his ash
into an empty coffee cup. "I've come to look for a guitar. I've got a
neck in the other room. Quite an exciting morning for me." Something
about him makes you think that this may well be right. Taken from: Syd
Psychedelic Veteran (free subscription to read).
And in May Barrett had a visit from Mick Rock and his wife Sheila (and
not Iggy Rose as has been hinted here and there). Syds' hair already has
grown a bit (see fourth picture above).
In early 1972, with the Stars gigs, he will have very long hair and a
beard (see fifth picture).
We will never be sure about what Barrett's motivation was for his
actions, but we can be sure about one thing, his hair grew at a
Sources (other than the above internet links): Chapman, Rob: A
Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 281. Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 383, 389. Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London,
2002, p. 121-123.
Pictures: 1: 1970 06: Syd at Olympia, photographer unknown, Rex
Features. 2: 1970 11: 'Barrett' 'stoned tramp' promo shot by Barrie
Wentzell. 3: 1971 03: 'Barrett' 'skinhead' promo shot by Barrie
Wentzell. 4: 1971 05: Syd in his mother's garden, Cambridge, by Mick
Rock. 5: 1972 02: Syd performing with Stars by Jenny Spires.
Many thanks to: Psych, Stanislav & the gang at Late Night & Birdie Hop. ♥
Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
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.
It is now about a month ago that the 1972 Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band gig was released by Easy
Action records. LMPTBB was a power rock'n blues trio with the
practically unknown, but excellent, American singer Bruce Paine
on vocals and guitar, Twink on drums and Jack Monck on
bass, replacing Honk who left the band after a Polydor record deal was
The Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert may well have been their
last, and on top of that it had two surprise guests: Fred Frith
(from Henry Cow fame) who probably plays on all tracks, and a local boy
who had once been a rather influential musician, Syd Barrett.
Not only is Syd Barrett dead, he also is neglected, except for the few
who have reappropriated the term Sydiot and gather at the Birdie
Hop group. From the three important Pink Floyd fan-based websites
has published the news about the LMPTBB record. The others don't know,
or don't care, and are still hop-frogging around the Pink Floyd table,
mouths open, hoping for some Division Bell crumbles to fall off. The
official Syd Barrett website,
although run by the people who allowed the LMPTBB record in the first
place, still remains a place that only comes in handy if you want to buy
some (we admit, pretty) t-shirts.
So the Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit is about the only Floydian (and Barrettian)
place where you can read about this release. Either we are pioneers, or
raving lunatics, so we guess it's up for you to decide. In our fourth
article of the LMPTBB series we interview Carlton Sandercock of
Easy Action records, who have released this fine record.
An innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action)
BH: How would you describe Easy Action? We see a few (live)
releases on your catalogue that are pretty rare and that could be
CS: Easy Action started out 10 years ago as, predominantly, an
archive rock label, specialising in rare and unreleased recordings. We
had the support of Iggy
Yardbirds, the estates of Marc
Marriott & the surviving members of the MC5,
initially to create box sets for fans that had been audio restored and
lavishly packaged and annotated by good writers and journalists with as
much factual information as is possible.
In that 10 years Easy Action has blossomed and grown in all directions,
we have 10 labels doing material from singer-songwriter Linda
Lewis to punk-metal behemoths Amebix,
but all done with class and passion.
We are also working with new artists, we oversee the estate of the late Nikki
Sudden and his brother Epic
Soundtracks, we manage the affairs of The Damned / Lords of the New
Church songwriter guitarist Brian
We have worked with one studio all the time in London ‘PSB
Music’ who restore and re-master all our releases. Plus we have some
very talented graphic designers on board. Basically a happy creative
BH: In 2005, the Six Hour Technicolour Dream reel was
rediscovered while browsing through the tape archives at Spaceward
Studios. Initially, they were going to issue the concert themselves on
Gott discs, and they even got the approval of Pink Floyd and the Syd
Barrett family. Do you know why they decided to sell it to Easy Action?
CS: To be honest I don't know why they decided to sell the tapes,
as you know they didn't manage to succeed at the auction. My business
partner Steve Pittis is a huge fan of Pink Floyd, the Fairies and
Hawkwind and contacted the seller directly and offered him some cash.
Although we didn't originally think there were more than a couple of
songs by Hawkwind on the reel. Our initial thoughts were to release the
Pink Fairies set as we know them and recoup the cost of buying the
tapes. We weren't sure if we would be allowed to issue the Boogie band
BH: Hawkwind's Six Hour Technicolour Dream gig was already
released in August 2011 as Leave
No Star Unturned (first announced as: The Self Police Parade),
licensed from EMI records. However, the band in its 2011 incarnation was
opposed to EMI being involved, and told the fans more than once that
they considered this a bootleg. Although historically of great
importance, legally these old tapes seem really to be a pain in the ass,
CS: Ha ha, yeah. I contacted Mrs. Brock initially, who informed
me that the recording date of 1972 was EMI territory and they couldn't
give us a licence . So I went to EMI and asked them for a licence and
they gave us a contract, we paid them what we were asked for and went
ahead and put it out.
The band, I appreciate, try and control all their releases and I guess
didn't think we would have any luck whatsoever at EMI... They were
wrong. This is the only time I think in our 10 years where we have
licensed from a major label over the artist. We had absolutely no ‘legal
troubles‘ whatsoever. It's not a bootleg as it has been released
properly and above-board. Royalties have been paid to the contractee.
BH: Were the Hawkwind (legal) troubles the main reason why we had
to wait until 2014 for the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band to
appear? If we are correct, the record was announced a few times over the
years and then delayed again...
CS: As I said we had no ‘legal troubles’ at all and I wanted to
put the Pink Fairies set out next but life gets in the way and we had
more work to deal with tons of other releases.. Also I initially wasn't
sure who else was in the band besides Twink and Jack.
BH: Is it true that Twink (Mohammed Abdullah John Alder) gave the
release a renewed push, somewhere in 2012 or early 2013?
CS: Yes, absolutely true. Twink has been a major driving force in
getting me to put it on the schedule... However we simply didn't have
any thing to use for artwork... There is absolutely nothing from that
time / gig at all. Until we were introduced to Warren
Dosanjh by Slim at Shindig
magazine. Warren had the original poster (possibly the only one
in existence) and lots of encouragement to boot, so NOW we had the
basics of a foundation to try and put something together .
BH: Did you encounter initial resistance to release this
material? Did you find the Floyd to be approving of more Syd material
being released or did they initially try to block it?
CS: None whatsoever, we have been dealing with the company that
looks after Syd's affairs ‘One
Fifteen’ and have a contract for his performance and they are
helping us with marketing it. To be honest Syd is guest for three songs,
this is NOT Interstellar Overdrive live!! This is a boogie band so it's
really not going to worry Pink Floyd. Dave Gilmour's a nice bloke and is
rightly protective of Syd's legacy, but because we have handled it in
the correct manner and not adorned the album with stickers saying SYD in
big letters or anything crass like that it's ok... It is what it is, an
BH: We understand that the Pink Fairies gig is still in the
vaults. Will that gig ever be released as well?
CS: Bloody hope so, although we are hoping to add to that show
and try and do a bigger, better Pink Fairies package... That reminds me,
I must give Sandy (Duncan Sanderson) a call to get the ball
BH: The story of the Six Hours Technicolour Dream reel is
spectacular, to say the least. One copy was found in 1985 and
immediately confiscated, in Chuck Norris style, by an EMI suit. A second
copy was unearthed in 2005 and ended up at Easy Action. But at one point
FraKcman (aka Mark Graham from Spaceward Studios) contradicted his own
story by saying that the first tape contained a Stars gig and the second
a LMPTBB gig. Did Easy Action find out, during the negotiations with EMI
and the bands, if both reels are identical, or not?
CS: Mmm, the men in black... sounds great doesn't it? I was told
an original copy was indeed made of the boogie band years ago, but
before the audio restoration that we did. It was very rough indeed and
was ignored... I'm not sure it was Stars. I think it was an unrestored
version of this show. Just my opinion though.
BH: How are sales figures so far? Is there any interest from the
fans? Are they better or worse than the Hawkwind gig?
CS: Well, it hasn't flown out the door at all. We thought
pre-orders would be huge and that it would then die down to a trickle
once it's been copied and shared free of charge online... I'd say cult
interest only and not as big as the Hawkwind album... As I said before
it is not Syd performing any of his songs... It IS perhaps the
last ever recorded performance of Syd Barrett... maybe Floyd fans don't
see it as important.
BH: Did you, in your struggle to release this gig, hear about
other tapes that still exist, for instance Stars, or early demos from
Barrett with Cantabrigian bands?
CS: Ha ha ha. I fuckin' wish! Not a bleedin' sausage and yes, I
did ask... I do think, seeing as we have released this show legally with
the Barrett estate fully on board and we haven't tried to sell this as a
Syd album or anything tacky like that, should anything crop up, I think
we would get a call...
BH: We, Birdie Hoppers, hope it for you, Carlton, many thanks for
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band Six Hour Technicolour Dream
gig, on January the 27th 1972, was not, as you probably know, Syd's last
gig, nor was it his last recording. Actually, Syd never joined LMPTBB
but gigged with them twice as a surprise guest. How the tape survived
into the twenty-first century and was finally published by Easy
Action records is a story you can read here: The
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story.
Apparently the vibes were so good that two out of three LMPTBB members
started dreaming of a post-Floyd Barrett band, not very much to the
amusement of singer Bruce Paine if we may believe Joly MacFie
(Twink's business partner in the Cambridge music club Juniper Blossom
and Stars roadie annex sound-man):
I was sharing a house with Twink and Paine. Paine was a somewhat vain
and career oriented American who went on to join Steamhammer. He wasn't
compatible with Syd. When Twink showed more interest in Syd, Bruce got
pissed off and moved out and that was the end of the band. (Taken from
So what's with 1972 Stars reel? @ SBRS (forum no longer active.))
was formed shortly later and would gig about five times, dates and
venues can be found at the Pink
1972 01 26
King's College Cellars
1972 01 27
The Corn Exchange
1972 02 05
The Dandelion Coffee Bar
1972 02 12
Petty Cury, Market Square
1972 02 12
The Dandelion Coffee Bar
1972 02 24
The Corn Exchange
1972 02 26
The Corn Exchange
Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake tried to find out more about the mythical Stars tapes, that
have been rumoured to exist, and posted his finding on the Late
Night and Syd Barrett Research Society forums (here edited a bit):
Rehearsal tapes - Twink has mentioned on more than one occasion that Syd
recorded the early practices. It goes without saying that these tapes
must be long lost. Dandelion Cafe - lots of people (Twink, Jack and
possibly Joly [MacFie]) remember Victor Kraft sitting there with his
Nagra tape machine at the Dandelion, and possibly the Corn Exchange as
well. Market Square - recorded, supposedly, by a friend of someone
who mentioned it on the Laughing Madcaps list. The tape, supposedly, is
at the taper's parents' house in Oxford. [Note from FA: this is probably
the tape mentioned at Fortean Zoology. All efforts to make the blogger
move his lazy ass have been effortless: Beatles:
Off topic but not really.] Final Corn Exchange show (with Nektar)
- according to Joly MacFie, his co-roadie Nigel Smith had a friend
called Chris who taped this show.
Although some YouTube videos claim to contain Stars tapes these are
believed to be either fakes
or mislabelled Barrett solo concerts, so it is still waiting for the
real deal, if they not have been buried in the vaults of Pink Floyd Ltd.
But the good news is that the Six Hour Technicolour Dream tape has been
released by Easy Action, that Syd Barrett stars (sorry, we couldn't
resist the joke) on three of its tracks and although the sound quality
is only slightly more than average, the fun is dripping out of our
stereo boxes. Mythical drummer Twink, who is currently recording a
follow-up of his legendary Think Pink album (1968), lend us some of his
time to tell us the following...
An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink
BH: Of course we all know this record is interesting for Syd
Barrett's performance, but the real discovery on the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band is that amazing singer, Bruce Paine. How did you
and John Lodge (Honk) meet up with him and how did the band come
MAJA: I first met Bruce Paine in the autumn of 1971 at Steve
Brink's boutique "What's In A Name" in Union Rd just before he rented a
room in Steve's cottage which was situated next to the shop. We talked
very briefly about putting a band together because at that time I was
just helping Hawkwind out from time to time. Once Bruce had moved
into the cottage the band came together quite quickly. I recruited John
"Honk" Lodge as our bass player who was living in London but that didn't
seem to get in the way of the band project. Other members included Dane
Stevens (The Fairies & The Cops And Robbers) on vocals & Adam Wildi on
congas but both only lasted one show. We called the band The Last Minute
Put Together Boogie Band.
BH: Who came up with the idea of naming it the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band? Is there any explanation for the band's name?
MAJA: Bruce came up with the name and I think it was simply that
the band came together quite quickly once show offers began to come in.
BH: After a record deal with Polydor had failed, Honk left the
band and was replaced by Jack Monck.
MAJA: Yes, "Honk" left immediately the Polydor deal fell through.
I think he was disheartened because Polydor's A&R department made it
clear that after the demos we did for them, we were in. The whole thing
fell down at the contract stage because the contracts manager there was
having a bad day. He refused to raise the contracts and kept playing Led
Zeppelin at full volume which drove us out of his office. He apologised
to me about a month later just after he had been fired from his job. But
the damage was done and there would be no record deal for The Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band.
BH: Did you meet Syd in Cambridge before the Eddie Guitar Burns
gig? Did you know that Syd was going to jam with LMPTBB on the 26th of
January 1972 or were you as surprised as the audience?
MAJA: I was surprised and happy to see Syd arrive at the Eddie
"Guitar" Burns gig with Jenny and carrying his guitar case. He arrived
while we were sound checking, came to the back of the stage area, took
his guitar out of its case and started to tune up. We had been friends
since 1967 but we had lost touch in '68. It was wonderful to see him
again. The following day Syd came to The Six Hour Technicolour Dream
where The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band was supporting Hawkwind &
The Pink Fairies. Again I was surprised to see him there with his guitar
case. Syd was keen to play so we invited him to join us on stage along
with Fred Frith from the band Henry Cow who was guesting with us
BH: It must not be easy trying to remember a gig from 40 years
ago, but there are two different testimonies about the Kings Cellar's
concert. One witness says that LMPTBB played twice on that concert.
According to him, the opening support gig had Syd, Monck and you. After
the Eddie Guitar Burns gig, LMPTBB returned, this time with Bruce Paine.
According to Terrapin magazine Syd jammed with LMPTBB after the Eddie
Guitar Burns show. Not that it really matters, this only shows how
anoraky we are.
MAJA: The Terrapin report is correct however it is possible the
Syd, Jack & I tuned up together but that was not part of the show.
BH: Now to the Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert of the
following day. How did Fred Frith come on board? Did he know Syd Barrett
was going to be there as well? What was his reaction? What was your
opinion after the gig had ended?
MAJA: We had a lot of contact with Fred Frith & Henry Cow who
frequently played at The 10p Boogie Club which was run by Joly MacFie &
myself at Fisher Hall in Cambridge having taken over the venue from
Jenny Spires & Jack Monck and renamed it Juniper Blossom.
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band often played there and so did
Henry Cow. Fred Frith guested with The Last Minute Boogie Band there
too. Fred guesting with us at The Six Hour Technicolour was more formal
and when it was decided that Syd would guest too he was welcomed by all
concerned with open arms. Our performance was well received and with
Syd's enthusiastic participation at both the Eddie "Guitar" Burn gig &
The Six Hour Technicolour Dream our creative wheels began to turn
resulting in the formation of STARS with Syd Barrett, Jack Monck &
myself a few days later.
BH: Was this the LMPTBB's last gig? Did anyone say, this is it,
last gig, finished?
MAJA: The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band continued after
Jack & I left for STARS with replacement musicians.
BH: Did you, at one point or another, think of asking Syd to join
MAJA: It was Jack & Jenny that thought about forming a band with
BH: If our information is correct you have been pulling some
strings to make this release possible.
MAJA: The only things that needed sorting out were group members
and song details as well as contract details to include both Bruce Paine
& Roger Barrett's Estates. Then there was restoring, mastering and the
cover to achieve as well. Everyone was very helpful.
BH: As you probably know, Pink Floyd (or EMI) have another copy
of the LMPTBB tape, however at one point there were rumours this tape
actually contains a Stars concert rather. know what they really have?
MAJA: I have no idea what EMI have. It's possible they have a
BH: Any chance that the LMPTBB Polydor tapes will ever see the
light of day? Does anyone know where these demos are?
MAJA: It is possible The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
demos will be released as they are probably sitting in Polydor's
archives. I think Honk may well have a copy tape.
BH: In retrospect, what was the band you were happiest with? If
you could go back to these days what would you have changed to make it
MAJA: Playing with The Pretty Things made me happy and I wouldn't
want to change a thing.
BH: Many thanks, Mohammed, and good luck with Think Pink 2!
End of part four of our LMPTBB
series. If you don't stop us, there will probably be a part five. You
have been warned.
Many thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, Rich Hall, Peter Jansens.
Inspired by questions from: Mike Baess, Rick Barnes, Andre Borgdorff,
Anita Buckett, Rich Hall, Jane Harris, Alexander P.H., Peter Felix
Jansens, Raymond John Nebbitt, Lisa Newman, Göran Nystrom, Anni Paisley,
Cheesecake Joe Perry, Paul Piper, Michael Ramshaw, James Vandervest.
While posting Facebook Barrett fan-art has become a booming niche-market
with no immediate end in sight and self-proclaimed visionary Syd
professionals have to devise fraudulent telemarketing schemes to cover
for their rising costs it was pointed to the Church, by someone we know
and admire for years, that Syd Barrett is not, like we wrote in a previous
article, neglected. Ebronte:
Syd is not neglected. Syd is sinking into oblivion, precisely
where it seems his family (and friends?) want him to go. This is thanks
to their continued simplistic insistence that he was a brief spark, who
became "ordinary", and a drug addled loser, and thanks to the dreary
It didn't sell well, and probably anyone who did read it was left
depressed and utterly disinterested in ever reading or hearing another
word about Syd. Too bad that gloomy book came out the same time as
Julian's revised and wonderful
book, most likely obscuring it. (Taken from: An
innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action), Late Night forum.)
Of course our world has changed as well (“I'm Syd Barrett's biggest fan,
I've watched all his YouTube videos.”) and it is apparently easier
nowadays to sell a Barrett mug
than a Barrett record.
Recently the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band's Six
Hour Technicolour Dream record was released that has a Cambridge
Corn Exchange gig from the 27th of January, 1972. The Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band were a power blues trio with singer and lead
guitarist Bruce Paine, bass player Jack Monck and drummer Twink.
Through Jenny Spires, who was married to Monck, Syd Barrett got hold of
the band and on that particular night he arrived with his guitar case
and agreed to jam with them for a couple of numbers. Monck and Twink
were thrilled and started Starsa couple of days later, not to the amusement of Bruce Paine who saw
his band going up in smoke. Unfortunately Stars would only survive for a
month as Barrett was still to frail to cope with the stress of gigging,
especially when things got bad on a concert where Stars was the
head-liner, after the sonic bulldozer that was MC5,
and with buses of fans coming over from London, eager to watch the
return of the flamboyant piper. Mark Sturdy:
In reality, Stars simply wasn’t cut out to be a high-profile project:
while the initial shows had not been without their virtues, the band had
existed for less than a month and, as such, was understandably
under-rehearsed. New material was non-existent beyond a couple of loose
12-bar jams, so in effect Stars was little more than a loose covers
band. (Taken from: Twilight
of an Idol.)
We read somewhere that giving Syd Barrett the top position on a much
advertised gig was like throwing him before the lions and it was,
understandably, the end of Stars, and, less understandable, the end of
his musical career, with the exception of the disastrous 1974 sessions.
While Syd Barrett was an unexpected guest on the Six Hour Technicolour
Dream gig, Fred
Frith was not. He had been invited by the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band to join them for the show.
Fred Frith was in Cambridge in 1968 when he met with some fellow
students and started the avant-garde band Henry
Cow. Actually the Cow's first concert was supporting Pink Floyd at
the Architects' Ball at Homerton College, Cambridge on 12 June 1968.
Eternal student Frith would also frequent (and jam at) the Juniper
Blossom club that was first run by Jack Monck and Jenny Spires, and
later by Twink and Jolie MacFie.
Since his Henry Cow day's Frith has played in a myriad of bands and his
musical input can be found on over 400
records. So it is a bit awkward to ask him about that one one
concert he played on over 40 years ago, but we tried anyway.
An innerview with Fred Frith
BH: Are you happy with the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
release and your own input on it? Your guitar is pretty much in front of
the mix most of the time.
FF: I haven’t heard it. I didn’t know about it prior to release
and I don’t have a copy I’m afraid.
BH: At the Six Hour Technicolour Dream, Syd Barrett more or less
was a surprise guest, while your presence had already been agreed on
with Paine, Twink & Monck for that night. At the time, did you find it
significant that Syd Barrett had decided to make a public appearance?
FF: There was a rumour beforehand that Syd might join us. This
was of course exciting for me, given that Syd was one of my heroes.
BH: You have said in an interview:
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.
Now that we finally have the chance to listen to the concert is your
opinion still the same (I need to add that most Barrett anoraks don't
think his playing is that bad at all, but that is why we are sometimes
called Sydiots anyway).
FF: Like I said, I haven’t heard it, but the event I was
referring to wasn’t this concert anyway. After the Corn Exchange gig we
rehearsed together with a view to creating a group for Syd to play his
songs. At the only rehearsal I attended, my memory has him playing
variations of Smokestack Lightning (which, after all, was the prototype
for Candy and the Currant Bun) throughout the session, which was
mercifully not recorded. And please note, I was “shocked, angry and
devastated” BECAUSE of my deep love of Syd’s playing, composing and
legacy, not for any other reason. He was clearly not himself, and that
was really sad.
BH: How was Syd's state of mind during the said Boogie Band
session? Was he into the music, enjoying himself?
FF: He appeared to be mentally completely absent.
BH: What were rehearsals like? Were any numbers written by Syd
FF: As far as I was concerned we were only there in order to try
and play Syd’s songs and give him a vehicle where it might seem possible
to perform again. We did it because of our love and respect for him. I
don’t remember any other material.
BH: Did you ever discuss musical theory with Syd Barrett? If so,
what were his ideas on composition?
FF: Syd was in no state to discuss anything during the very brief
period when our paths crossed. It would have been nice. But his
compositional ideas tend to shine through his compositions, which is the
way it should be.
BH: Did you have contact with Syd outside of the jam environment?
He was not unknown in Cambridge and he did know (and visited) Jenny
Spires, Monck and Twink.
FF: No. We had mutual friends, but we didn’t hang out. I was
young (19) and in awe and would probably have been too shy anyway. I did
talk to Nick Mason about it a few years later when we were working
together. But there wasn’t anything anyone could really do.
BH: Do you know of any other recordings in existence? Rumours go
that Stars rehearsals and gigs have been recorded. You don't have one of
these in your archive, by accident?
FF: I don’t know of anything, no. Certainly not in my possession.
BH: Looking back on the situation, do you find the Boogie Band to
be significant for your career?
FF: It was significant in providing me with some sobering food
for thought. Musically I have no recollection of anything beyond the
fact of having done it. Maybe if I hear the record it’ll stimulate some
BH: Many thanks for the interview and we'll hope that a copy of
that LMPTBB record arrives with you soon...
End of part five of our LMPTBB series. We know that there will be cries
of grief from our many fans, but this is probably the last article in
this series, unless the third Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
member suddenly decides to answer our calls for another Birdie Hop
While the Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is more and more
becoming a recluse, living in a corner of a foreign field, it is cool to
notice that the Syd Barrett community keeps on attracting new souls.
The authoritative Birdie
Hop group, with its 7300 members (August 2020) attracts new members
every day. The only negative point is that – due to Facebook’s business
model – really interesting topics (for the extreme Sydiots amongst us)
get pushed down, making them virtually invisible after a couple of days.
New members, and who are we to blame them, will ask the same questions,
will post the same pictures and publish the same songs, due to their
enthusiasm and relative unfamiliarity with the subject.
Quite a few Syd Barrett sites and fora have disappeared over the years.
You may think whatever you want from Barrett-foghorn Kiloh Smith,
but his sydbarrettpinkfloyd blog was an almost endless source of
information, written by him and his many collaborators. The Late
Night forum from Eternal Isolation, officially called the
Late Night Syd Barrett Discussion Room, has 98000 threads but less than
a dozen regular visitors nowadays. And don't let us get us started about
the exclusive Syd Barrett Research Society that was such a
creative pool of information, once upon a time.
But here’s that old fool on the hill pondering again that the good old
days were much better, while the now and the here is in the hands of the
young. But sometimes it is good to have a few dinosaurs around.
Bob Martin is a veteran of Birdie Hop who, end of August 2020,
threw a little bomb in the community with an anecdote he got from Ginger
Gilmour, David’s ex-wife.
I just had a bit of a chat with Ginger Gilmour and she mentioned that
Syd would visit their home in Woodley and record at David's studio. The
interesting bit is it would have been 1971 or later… How cool is that?
And I would like to thank Ginger Gilmour for letting me share this
story. I was not aware that Syd and David spent time together well after
the recording of Syd's solo albums.
This is something new and exciting indeed. The obvious question some
people were and are asking was if these recordings have been saved for
eternity and are still somewhere hidden in Gilmour's archives. That
these archives have some unpublished (Pink Floyd) goodies is well known.
Gilmour used to have the Bob
Dylan Blues reel that allegedly also contains demo versions of
Wolfpack, Waving My Arms in the Air, Jigalo Aunt (sic) and an unreleased
song called Living Alone (aka I Get Stoned).
Bob Martin, however, is prudent.
No one is saying anything came of these recordings, even if they were
kept. But wouldn't that be grand if David did have some jams recorded?
The Geeky Stuff
Let’s try to put a date on these sessions, shall we? The Syd Barrett
anecdote has not been put in Ginger’s ‘Memoirs of the
Bright Side of the Moon’, but she is pretty accurate on dates and
places. (Read our review here: The
Ballad of Fred & Ginger.)
Virginia ‘Ginger’ Hasenbein met David Gilmour backstage on the 28th of
October 1971, at the Hill Auditorium (University of Michigan, USA) and
it was pretty much love at first sight. Ginger followed the band for the
rest of the tour that would go on till the 20th of November, meeting
Gilmour’s parents, who were living in the USA, on the 15th. After the
tour, she emigrated to England where she lived with David in a farm near
Roydon, Essex. Pink Floyd road manager Pete Watts and his girlfriend
Patricia ‘Puddy’ Gleeson stayed with them for some time.
David and Peter spent a lot of time in his studio, which was downstairs
next to the living room.
The two couples didn’t have much free time as the UK Tour ‘72 was
starting in January. But even with Gilmour on the road, the house was
I was alone with the BOYS - David’s friends from Cambridge. Most
evenings I got stuck doing the washing up and keeping them filled with
Tea as they smoked their spliffs and watched telly.
Those boys probably were Emo and a couple of others, but Syd was not
among them. There was also Warwick, the housekeeper, doing the odd job
and taking care of the duck Digby, the cats Gretel and Naomi and a
retired Shire horse, Vim. Emo:
Ginger moved in when she came over. I remember Ginger telling me she met
Syd when he came to the house at Woodley, Essex.
Through Emo we got some extra information from Ginger:
He came to Woodley and David helped him record some music. Syd had to
sit on a stool and David stood behind him and helped him play the
guitar… arms around him… (date forgotten).
And from Bob Martin, we know that Ginger added that Syd would stop by
the house in Woodley quite often.
So if Syd attempted some recordings it may have been in that two months
‘calmer’ period, from November 1971 to January 1972. At the end of
January, the Floyd had a British tour, followed by the Obscured By
Clouds sessions, followed by a Japanese tour, an American tour, another
American tour and a French tour. And in between, they had some recording
sessions for what would become The Dark Side Of The Moon.
It is not that weird that Barrett tried to put his career back on the
rails. His previous album, Barrett, dated from November 1970 and he
hadn’t been doing a lot since. As a matter of fact, he had been doing
February 1971 had seen his last gig, 3 songs only, for BBC radio,
probably with David Gilmour in the band. There were a couple of
interviews, with Syd invariably trying to convince the journalist that
he was still in shape and that a third album was in the works.
I’ve been writing consistently for two years now and I have lots of
undeveloped things lying around. I’m still basically like I’ve always
been, sitting around with an acoustic getting it done. I never get
worried about my writing. (1971 interview in Terrapin 17, 1975.)
I've got some songs in the studio, still. And I've got a couple of
tapes. It should be 12 singles, and jolly good singles. I think I shall
be able to produce this one myself. I think it was always easier to do
that. (Melody Maker, Mar 27 1971, Michael Watts.)
Another trigger might have been the release of the Pink Floyd
in May 1971, that contained four Barrett tracks (and 6 with him in the
band). Syd had a copy of the album and bragged about it to Mick
Rock that it had reached the top 10. Probably his management must
have thought this was the ideal moment to get the third record in the
can and surf on the Pink Floyd wave of fame.
That Syd Barrett was trying to get back in shape could be seen on the
26th and 27th of January 1972. Invited by Jenny Spires Syd went
to an Eddie
‘Guitar’ Burns gig at King’s College Cellars
(Cambridge), bringing his guitar with him. After the official gig Syd, Twink
(John Alder) and Jack
Monck (who was Jenny’s husband) had an impromptu jam.
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Barrett liked the experiment and joined the Last Minute Put Together
Boogie Band the next day on three numbers. LMPTBB was a power blues
outfit built around Twink, Jack Monck and the American singer Bruce
Paine. That day they also had Fred
Frith with them, who was less enthusiast about Barrett than the
others. (Read our Fred Frith interviews at: An
innerview with Fred Frith.)
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band gig was recorded and officially
released, after a long battle, in 2014. You can read all about it in our
LMPTBB series: LMPTBB.
When Syd Barrett showed interest to start performing again singer and
guitarist Bruce Paine was thanked for his services and a new band was
Bruce Paine continued as the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band and
had at least one gig with Rick
Fenn, Bill Gray and someone called Gary, before joining Steamhammer.
All of a sudden, Syd Barrett had become the leader of a new band,
something he wasn’t really ready for. Stars did six gigs in Cambridge
and somehow the music press got hold of it.
When a Melody Maker journalist published a critical review of one of the
lesser shows, Syd Barrett called it quits. Apart from a jam with Jack
Bruce in the summer of 1973, he would never perform again in public.
Stars, without Syd, still played a few gigs but was disbanded soon after.
The Basement Tapes
That we have never heard of the Barrett-Gilmour home tapes before is
weird, and perhaps not. The Floyd nicely cultivated the Syd Barrett myth
over the years, keeping it mysterious. Take for instance the different
Syd Barrett visits during the Wish You Were Here sessions, with
Gilmour denying that Syd was there on his wedding day, although ten
witnesses, including his ex-wife, tell the opposite. Read all about that
at: Shady Diamond.
David Gilmour has never been the most talkative kind of guy, especially
when it comes to his relationship with Syd.
This was proven once again during the A
Theatre For Dreamers / Von Trapped Family live stream #6 (9 May
2020), that was mainly David Gilmour sharing some thoughts about Syd
Barrett. When asked who was the culprit not wanting to take Syd Barrett
on a gig in January 1968 David Gilmour stays very discreet, even when
pushed by Polly Samson.
David: “Someone...” Polly: “Who?!” David:
“...said...” Polly: “Who?!” David: “...as
we were driving around West-London picking people up about to head off
to some, like Southampton for a gig. Someone said shall we pick Syd up?
Someone else said no, let’s not bother.” (Meanwhile, Polly keeps on
yapping at her husband.) Polly: “Come on, you know who said that!” David:
“Uhm, stop fishing… I actually don’t know. I don’t know the answer to
The Syd Barrett Lyrics Book
The main bulk of the conversation was about the Syd Barrett lyrics book
that David Gilmour is proofreading, comparing the master tapes with the
lyrics that have been written down. Not an easy task so it appears as
the Barrett little black book with his poems in has disappeared.
Another contributor to the Syd Barrett lyrics book will be Rob
Chapman and he had the following to say on Twitter about it:
No doubt publishers will announce this in due course but the Syd Barrett
lyric book has been put back to next year due to the Virus. A pity
because there is going to be an exclusive in there which will make all
Syd fans gasp and spontaneously combust when they read it. (Rob Chapman
April 29, 2020.)
What makes us wonder what this exclusive might be. Perhaps the fact that
David Gilmour still has a few unpublished demos or pictures in his
If we have learned something from our decades-long Pink Floyd admiration
it is that ‘spontaneous’ scoops like this mostly have been organised by
the Floyd’s management. The first 1975 Syd Barrett picture was
coincidentally found when Nick Mason had a book to promote. Years later
a second photo was accidentally revealed on the Pink Floyd exhibition.
But for the exclusive in the Syd Barrett lyrics book, we will still have
to wait a bit.
Many thanks: Rob Chapman, Ebronte, Ginger Gilmour, Bob Martin, Iain
‘Emo’ Moore, Lisa Newman, Ken Sutera Jnr, Swanlee, Wolfpack, Syd Wonder
and the friendly people of Birdie Hop and Late Night. Some pictures and
stuff at our Tumblr: Stars. ♥
Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Gilmour, Ginger: Memoirs
of the Bright Side of the Moon, Angelscript International, 2015, p.
31. Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London,
2001, p. 164. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink
Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 149.