Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jenny & Libby help out

Jenny Spires, Syd's girlfriend during the mid 60's, has been in touch with me and would like to elaborate on the fantastic picture that has just been published in the new 'Barrett' book of Syd in 1964 posing with one of his huge paintings.

"That photo John Gordon (the photographer) had been saving to go with one of my letters from Syd. I think part of the letter is in the book and at the exhibition - a sketch Syd did of Twinkle and a motor bike etc. , but there were three written pages with the sketch. Part of the letter was about that painting. The gist of the letter is mentioned in the caption I think, but Syd wrote that he was thinking about a new painting he needed to do for his end of term assessment in the summer of 1965 (his first year at Camberwell). He wanted to do a painting of me... Anyway, he wrote that 'last year', meaning 1964, he had done a painting 'with a shirt stuck on a board which they raved about' and that he wanted to do something 'similarly kinky'. That's the photo of Syd in his white jeans, in his mum's back garden, posing with his painting. It was a self portrait. Anyway, I remember those jeans of course:-) He looked just like that when I went out with him first.

The drawing Syd did (which is in the new book!) is in response to a letter I wrote to him - I told him I'd heard Twinkle's single 'Terry'. I also told him I'd hitched a ride on a friends bike, a guy called Mugsy, but that we'd come off it. The road was wet and on turning a corner at the bottom of Hills Road Bridge in Cambridge, the bike slipped out from under us! We just got back on it. Syd drew a picture of what he imagined Mugsy to look like and a beautiful bike Arial 1000. In the background he drew a couple of mod boys and watching it all an old Teddy Boy in the corner. It's a great comment on the times, 1965."

Thanks for that Jenny.

Also I must thank Libby Gausden Chisman (Syd's girlfriend in the earlier part of the 60s) and Jenny for taking the time out to help solve a Syd mystery for us. I asked them if they'd be so kind to listen to the slowed down studio take of "Scream Thy Last Scream" to see if they could clarify if it IS Syd singing the chipmunk voice that mirrors what Nick Mason is singing in real time or not. After all, they would know Syd's voice more than any of us. They knew him and spent lots of time with him. I had a good listen to it again and it became apparent to me that the voice that goes"wahey we're well out there" when the chipmunk voice goes out of time near the end is a SECOND voice and not the same person who is singing the chipmunk vocal. This is apparent as the start and end of that statement overlap the end and restart of the chipmunk vocal. The voice has a different timbre to the singing voice also. I also am of the opinion that the humming at the end is the second voice while Syd is making the "chh chh chh chhhh" vocal noises that accompany the last few bars of the song.

Anyway, Libby & Jenny listened to the track for me and got back to me. Libby said "I think it's Syd" while Jenny wasn't so sure but couldn't discount that it was Syd and was more likely to be him than one of the other members of the group. She said "You are right it doesn't sound like any of the others. I really don't know who else it could be. Certainly at one point it sounds very much like Syd and the way he pronounces t's. It's just that slight strain that was in his voice isn't there."

So there you have it. Since first being able to hear the track slowed down I've been convinced that was Syd's voice, Libby is 100% and Jenny is almost certain it's Syd. I'd say it's not going to be anyone else.

And there you have it, Syd IS singing the chipmunk voice on "Scream They Last Scream".

Big thanks to the delightful Libby and Jenny for taking the time out to help with my request for their help.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

King Bee's Letter of 1964

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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The tracks sound terrific so far, especially King Bee

Transcript:Dear Jen, you are a little dish.
 I'll tell you everything that happened at the recording. We took all the gear into the studio which was lit by horrid white lights, and covered with wires and microphones. Rog had his amp behind a screen and Nicki was also screened off, and after a little bit of chat we tested everything for balance, and then recorded five numbers more or less straight off; but only the guitars and drums. We'r going to add all the singing and piano etc. next Wednesday. The tracks sound terrific so far, especially King Bee.

When I sing I have to stand in the middle of the studio with ear phones on, and everyone else watches from the other room, and I can't see them at all but they can all see me. Also I can only just hear what I'm singing.

I hope you got home alright Jen, and that you had a good time. You wouldn't have been able to come in to the recording and anyway it went on till after midnight, and would have been a whopping drag for you.
It was a nice thing to be which was tra tra la. (do not bother to interupt)
Do what you want Jen. I love you very much and want to hear from you and you are very pretty.
I am a bit fed up with everything today and I want to be in Cambridge or Greece but not in London where all I do is spend money and travel. The sun is shining though.
Love, Roger.
Image: Essential Works

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two Pink Floyd Fillmore Auditorium Posters

Pink Floyd Fillmore
Pink Floyd Fillmore

Check out these two Pink Floyd Fillmore Auditorium posters. These are the best quality jpg files that I have seen on the 'net. Here they are for you to enjoy now.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Video of new 'Barrett' book, first impressions

My book came yesterday so I was filmed opening it and my first impressions. I have a good look through the photo section then skim through the rest (the video was getting too long and I didn't want to show everything in the book itself!) so if you just want to hear my impressions, so that the contents aren't spoiled for you then skip to 10 mins and 40 secs in.

More info from:

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Live and direct from 1967! Joe Boyd and Robyn Hitchcock as your tour guides to that galvanizing era

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An Article from Chicago Tribune covering Robyn Hitchcock and Joe Boyd's Chicago show, a part of their "Chinese White Bicycles" US Tour:

What was it like to be at the heart of London’s underground music scene in the late ‘60s? You could do worse than having Joe Boyd and Robyn Hitchcock as your tour guides to that galvanizing era, a role they’ll play March 19 at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Boyd’s a Harvard-educated music aficionado who opened the London office of Elektra Records in the mid-‘60s and found himself at the center of a musical, cultural and social revolution. He ran London’s UFO club, and worked closely as a producer, adviser and co-conspirator with such ground-breaking groups and artists as Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention and Nick Drake.
Robyn Hitchcock was a young teen when psychedelia reigned and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett was the toast of London. An ardent student of the era, Hitchcock went on to incorporate its sounds and attitudes in his music as a solo artist and with the Soft Boys over the last four decades.
Now, Boyd and Hitchcock are teaming up for an evening celebrating that era, with Boyd reading excerpts from his excellent 2006 memoir, “White Bicycles,” and Hitchcock chiming in with the music of Barrett, Drake and other ‘60s heroes and cult figures with whom Boyd collaborated.
In separate interviews, the two discussed the music that forever shaped them:
Hitchcock on Boyd: “Joe happened to be in an extraordinarily intimate position with this metamorphosis of our culture. He’s running this club (UFO) that is like no club before or since, with Pink Floyd as the house band, and Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band. It was that brief period of music and culture that was called the underground, which is what I was reading about in the Sunday papers at age 13. It was a weird mix of mysticism, drugs, feminism, pornography, music -- it was all one. Drugs were seen as a sacrament rather than just another kick, which is what they turned out to be. It was an era that set people off into two directions, either extreme selfishness or a more spiritually minded view of life, a more tolerant, more life-loving attitude than Christianity had been able to spawn in many centuries of rule.”
Boyd on Hitchcock: “He channels the ‘60s without ever being an imitator. He somehow has that spirit. He’s drunk at the source of Barrett, Nick Drake, the Incredible String Band, but isn’t a slavish copyist. He takes it all in his own direction with an anarchic spirit, which is hard to find these days.
Hitchcock on how the ‘60s influenced him: “Joe was part of that group of people changing the world, and I was the next generation saying, ‘I want to do that.’ My sister was making me wax beads that I was wearing around my neck. I’d get hold of these records, and tried to play along on a guitar I couldn’t tune. By the time I was up and running, it was over. It was over as a movement, but it set in motion a series of attitudes that prevail to this day. Here we are 45 years later, and Joe is nearly 70 and I’m not far off 60. We might be seen as professors with lustful twinkles in our eyes. We’re not kids anymore, but there is that endless, elastic youth that the ‘60s promoted and here we are at the end of our yo-yo strings.”
Boyd on his first recording session as a producer in 1966 with Eric Clapton’s ad-hoc group, Powerhouse: “I didn’t feel intimidated. We were all about the same age and I actually hung out with Clapton a bit. We spent a Saturday at the Elektra office, and we both brought our favorite blues records to choose material for the session. He brought in albums by Freddy King, Albert King, a lot of urban modern blues records, and I brought in a bunch of acoustic blues records, like Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton. He knew them all, but he was not originally thinking that way. So I said, ‘What if we choose a country blues song that might have gone up the river to Chicago but didn’t, and pretend it became a Chicago blues.’ That’s how we did ‘Crossroads.’ He ended up coming up with a hybrid between ‘Traveling Riverside Blues’ and ‘Crossroads’; he adapted a riff from ‘Riverside’ that became a template for the version of ‘Crossroads’ everyone knows from Cream a few years later. The music was all his. But the idea of opening up the scope of what we were looking at is something I suggested. So I earned my keep, I felt.”
Boyd on Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett: “If you take the 10 to 12 months from August 1966 to June, July 1967, he was incredibly important to everything that happened. You could have a group like Pink Floyd, which liked to experiment with trippy sounds and long improvisations, but with Barrett you had someone who provided a platform of great melody and really witty songwriting. That was one of the miracles of what happened in London during that time. The Floyd had so much confidence, because this soundtrack they were creating for this little coterie of freaks in west London was really, really good. Syd brought real quality to the scene. Later, after he left the Floyd and started breaking down, he made those two solo records, which I found very difficult to listen to; it’s painful to me to hear him sound so damaged. Then years later I was arranging a tribute concert and I had to go back and listen to everything. I was stunned by how good everything was, what an extraordinary talent he was, how seriously accomplished and sophisticated the songs were. One of my great regrets is that Syd once gave me a demo tape of five of the songs that didn’t work for Floyd but would wind up on his first solo album (the 1970 release ‘The Madcap Laughs’). I remember it being superior to the performances on ‘Madcap,’ but I lost the tape.”
Hitchcock on Barrett: “Syd Barrett resonated within my younger self. I altered my molecular structure to absorb him. He is unfortunately better known for his ruination than for what he did before it. His story is an old one, a young, beautiful person being sacrificed in some way and wandering through life as a blighted ruin. I still love his songs. Joe is emphatic that Syd was nothing like the casualty that became widely known. He is known as the guy who started Pink Floyd and went away. I feel his decline and disintegration, his voyage into the darkness was sort of inevitable from the first notes of the first thing he recorded, ‘Arnold Layne.’ It was a doomy voice with a black sense of irony. There was a manic elation in the early Floyd recordings, which hinted that a crash was on the way. What goes up, must come down. What drew me to Barrett was that he had done that art, the material he did just before he dissolved. Joe reckons that he wrote all those songs before things went wrong. I actually became a fan because l liked the later stuff. (Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut) ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ was great, but what hooked me in was him wandering through the ruins on the ‘The Madcap Laughs.’ I don’t think there was ever a truer record than that. He seems to be the most extreme example of what everyone experienced: that liftoff from 1965 to 1967, and then the terrible comedown. Bob Dylan and John Lennon had it. Brian Wilson. Even Donovan didn’t write any good songs after 1970. Something was in the air that gave those people momentum and then took it away.”
Boyd on his love for Fairport Convention: “It was music I normally turned my back on because they were doing folk songs. I didn’t like the singer-songwriter scene that much. There were a lot of people trying to be Bob Dylan, and to hear these English kids singing Phil Ochs and Eric Anderson songs was kind of bizarre. But the English perspective gave it a charm that most of the American equivalents didn’t have. There was a moment at UFO where they were going to do ‘East-West’ by the Butterfield Blues Band, which I thought was a terrible idea! Mike Bloomfield made it work on the original because he’s a great improvisational guitar player, but I didn’t want to see this English band try it. Then Richard Thompson began to play and cut Bloomfield to pieces. He was 17 years old and already an incredible guitar player. He’s not a blues player. He doesn’t orient his playing around blue notes. Rhythmically he is influenced by Jerry Lee Lewis’ left hand attack. Everybody else on the scene was into blues, but his sound was very Celtic, with shades of North Africa, classical, jazz. Later there was a Coltrane influence. But the thing that knocked me out, on the (1968 debut Fairport) single) “If I had a Ribbon Bow,” he takes a Charlie Christian type solo on it. And I thought, ‘Where did he get this?”
Hitchcock on Nick Drake: “What’s least part of this period is Nick Drake and had the book been published 20 years ago, not many people would’ve care about him. But now he sells more records than just about anyone in the book, because his music was heard on a TV commercial and like a volcano it brought him to the surface decades after he died. Nick Drake was the odd one out, he wasn’t psychedelic. He had nothing to do with rock or hippie culture. He wrote jazzy, thoughtful songs. At the time his records came out (in the early ‘70s), he wasn’t for me. The music was too breathy and jazzy. I liked my singers a bit more nasal, like Dylan and Lennon and Barrett, with that acid clang in the guitars. That sort of spangle. Drake had a bit of a soft edge. Then someone gave me a tape of his music in 1990, and I started listening again. (R.E.M.’s) Peter Buck kept telling me (Drake’s) ‘Pink Moon’ is the scariest song ever written. I was drawn in.”
Hitchcock on drugs: “I took LSD a couple times, but I knew had to be careful. I never surrendered to it. By that time, 1973 or so, I could see what LSD had done to and for the artists I loved. I avoided it through the same self-preservation instinct that has keep from being in the top 20. I’m a cagey fellow. I like to have control over my life, and where my life is. Extreme fame is like extreme drugs -- you can’t control it anymore. I don’t want to come across as a crushingly sober individual, I’ve had far from a temperate life. But I knew I wasn’t going to write those (druggy) songs, I was too late. I do maintain I was the last one to hatch from that era. I popped out and said, ‘Where is everyone?’ ”
Tour dates:

Syd Barrett: The king of freak London

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Friday, 4 May 2007
Legendary rock producer and contemporary Joe Boyd remembers vividly the impact Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett made in 1966

In September 1965, Allen Ginsberg stole the show at the Poetry Olympics at the Albert Hall. The following spring, rumours began to reach London (via antennae in Indica Books) of Ken Kesey's Acid Tests in San Francisco and New York's Lower East Side heroes the Fugs. Month-old copies of the Village Voice carried reviews of underground films by Jack Smith and Jonas Mekas while Situationist happenings occurred in Paris and the drugged and bearded Provos emerged as a political force on the Amsterdam city council.

London had its creative eccentrics, but its primary function in the coming revolution seemed to be as a hub of communication. Extraordinary characters stopped over in London on their way from Paris to Ireland, New York to Morocco or San Francisco to Delhi. The central drama of Don't Look Back is Dylan's visit to London. London, after all, had The Beatles and the Stones and mini-skirts and Kings Road, all well-established and profitable "overground" phenomena. While new, drugs-and-politics-fuelled energy was bursting forth all over the world in the summer of 1966, there was no sign that London's own revolution would be anything special: the excitement, so far, was imported.

Then, in late August, came stirrings in London W11. All accounts of London's "psychedelic underground" start with the Powis Square benefits for the London Free School. The lights, the music, the atmosphere, the Notting Hill freaks, the drugs, Pink Floyd on stage, the dancing... Suddenly, there was a focus, a regular event to talk about, to look forward to, to compare with other events. The ripples of joy that spread through W11 in its wake were palpable. We had lift-off!

The joy lasted just under a year. There are many analyses of the causes of the rise and fall of Freak London during those 11 months and some have much to recommend them. Around the same time as the Stones bust, for example, John Hopkins, editor of International Times, co-proprietor of UFO Club and inspirational figure, was jailed for eight months, plunging most of us - to say nothing of Hoppy himself - into a gloom that took a long time to lift. Weekend hippies began to outnumber the original Freaks at concerts and demonstrations. But those months also mark the arc of Syd Barrett's journey across the London sky. When he retreated into incomprehensible silence, the joy came to an end.

That's way too pat, you're thinking. Too sentimental, too convenient in the week leading up to a Tribute To Syd concert at the Barbican. But let's look more closely at the music that inspired that magical year. The kind of extended improvisations for which the Pink Floyd were famous can be - and usually are - tedious beyond bearing. But if the guitar player at the heart of it is a genuinely original player and if the jumping-off point is a jaunty, slightly demented English music-hall melody, those trippy excursions into the abstract become something else entirely.

"A movement is accomplished in six stages/And the seventh brings return."

Where did that melody come from? It has nothing to do with The Beatles, nothing to do with The Stones or Dylan or anything else afoot in pop music in 1966. It was so surprising - it made a roomful of stoned kids look up and grin, first at the stage, then at each other.

Light shows were central to what happened that year. In the colourful gloom the four members of Pink Floyd were so serious, so self-effacing, as they stared down at their instruments while blobs of light bubbled and covered the stage, you could barely make out any individual features. But there is nothing remarkable about hiding in the murky light unless the audience is trying to pierce it and see someone's face. Syd's sparkling eyes always shone in the murk. Self-effacement was fascinating when the singer was that beautiful.

That year may have marked the birth of a counterculture in which the usual ambitions of capitalism were forsworn, but the London Free School, International Times and the UFO Club were full of driven hustlers, schemers and dreamers. I know - I was one of them. Desires and urgencies surged through the crowds at concerts, even amidst the tripped-out and genuinely loving currents that passed through everyone. Underneath, Syd could have been the most ambitious of us all but he never showed it. His unconcern was the hurricane's eye around which the storm generated such powerful winds. The brilliance of his songs, thrown almost casually into our midst, gave us the confidence to create what we did. We knew the music we were dancing to was world class.

Without Syd, we would have been a colony of the American Cultural Revolution. With him, a new world of unabashedly English music was born, owing almost nothing to the blues that Pink Anderson and Floyd Council had sung in 1930s South Carolina, the blues that had inspired almost all of British pop music up until the spring of 1967.

On 10 May, a diverse group of singers and musicians will pay tribute to Syd. They - the list currently includes Chrissie Hynde, Vashti Bunyan, Kevin Ayers, Mike Heron, Robyn Hitchcock and others we're not allowed to mention - will sing songs from all of Syd's "periods". Many have gravitated towards the "later" songs from the (for me) hard-to-bear solo albums. On those CDs, you hear a damaged man, but you also hear great songs. When did he write them? I sat next to him in the winter of 1966 in his manager's flat as he sang song after song, explaining that the group couldn't use them all and maybe I knew someone else who would like to record them? All appear on the solo albums.

The great bassist Danny Thompson is eloquent in his ridicule of the praise and honours that fall to the recently deceased. "What about when he was alive?" But when Syd was alive, paying homage seemed like an intrusion. Besides, we have to be honest: profits will go to a charity chosen by Syd's family, but we're really doing this to remind ourselves how important he was to us, how beloved he was and how things wouldn't be the same if he hadn't written his curious, oh-so-English songs.

"You're the kind of girl that fits into my world/I'll give you anything everything if you want things."

"If you want things." No American could have written that.

We're stuck with our desires, our all-too-linear ambitions and our compulsion to file greatness in its proper place. If we're very lucky, on 10 May, we'll catch a bit of the off-hand breeze kicked up by Syd's hurricane 40 years ago.

"I know a room of musical tunes/Some rhyme some ching." 

Take a couple if you wish, they're on the dish.

Syd Barrett - Madcap's Last Laugh, Barbican, London EC2 (020-7638 8891), 10 May

Now here's a couple of links to see how it was ))) A lo-ve-ly rendition of Emily, hopefully it will remove the cover by Bowie from my memory that seemed to have stuck in my mind as a piece of .... well, don't blame me! 

Shaky but lovely vid of Arnold Lane by Dave, Nick and Rick. Was he late with delivery of the first line?...or maybe it was just a poor sound.  
Waters' surprise appearance: 

A rather horrendous video of Bike's cover

Monday, March 7, 2011

Piper at the Gates of Dawn - Original Pressing

Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Check out these shots of the a super rare Russian Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Saucerful of Secrets double LP. The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn/A Saucerful Of Secrets (Rare 1992 Russian Direct Metal Mastering red label eighteen-track two-LP set, gatefold picture sleeve with Russian text & discography on rear.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
1. Astronomy Domine
2. Lucifer Sam
3. Matilda Mother
4. Flaming
5. Pow R Toc H
6. Take up thy Stethoscope and Walk
7. Interstellar Overdrive
8. Gnome
9. Chapter 24
10. Scarecrow
11. Bike

A Saucerful of Secrets
1. Let There be More Light
2. Remember a day
3. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
4. Corporal Clegg
5. Saucerful of Secrets
6. See Saw
7. Jugband Blues

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Pink Floyd London Free School

Pink Floyd London Free School

March, 1966 saw the founding of the London Free School, a kind of underground Citizen's Advice Bureau and loose-knit quasi-university started by London School of Economics lecturer Peter Jenner and freelance photographer John "Hoppy" Hopkins. An eclectic group of students, activists, poets, musicians, and would-be hippies, they met informally in the basement of 26 Powis Terrace, in Notting Hill.

The London Free School was a community action adult education project inspired by American free universities (and the Victorian Jewish Free School in Spitalfields). The organisers have been described as an ‘anarchic temporary coalition’ of the old guard New Left and CND housing activists from the Rachman days and the new beatnik/hippy generation. The former included George Clark of the Notting Hill Community Workshop, Richard Hauser (who ran a community scheme after the 1958 riots), Rhaune and Jim Laslett-O’Brien, Bill Richardson of the Powis and Colville Residents Association, Andre and Barbara Shervington.

To varying degrees of involvement, the hippy contingent numbered John Hopkins, Michael X, Courtney Tulloch (IT), Lloyd Hunter, Peter Jenner (who was just starting to manage Pink Floyd), Joe Boyd of Electra Records and UFO, Andrew King, Michael Horovitz, John Michell, Julie Felix, Jeff Nuttall, Mike McInnerney(Tommy artist), Graham Keen (IT), Neil Oram (The Warp), Dave Tomlin (IT), Felix de Mendelsohn (Children of Albion), Nigel Waymouth of Granny Takes a Trip, John Essam, Alexander Trocchi, the jazz writer Ron Atkins, the Warhol star Kate Heliczer, Harvey Matusow (the McCarthy witchtrials saboteur), R. D. Laing and ‘the Belsize Park shrinks’, Emily Young, Anjelica Huston and Pink Floyd.

According to Jeff Nuttall, ‘Ultimately the Free School did nothing but put out a local underground newsletter and organise the 2 Notting Hill Gate Festivals, which were, admittedly, models of exactly how the arts should operate – festive, friendly, audacious, a little mad and all taking place on demolition sites, in the streets, and in a magnificently institutional church hall.’ Despite this opinion, the formation of 'The Notting Hill Neighbourhood Service'(one of the first centres to offer drugs and legal advice in London),the Notting Hill Carnival,the International Times and the UFO Club all emerged from the brief life of the LFS.

The 1966 Notting Hill Fayre and Pageant, or the London Free School Fair, was a weeklong series of events, following the traditional English carnival format, as more accurately portrayed in the Bedknobs and Broomsticks knees-up than by most Carnival historians. The pageant on Sunday September 18 featured a man dressed as Elizabeth I and children as Charles Dickens characters (pictured on Tavistock Road), ‘musicals’, and a Portobello parade consisting of the London Irish girl pipers, a West Indian New Orleans-style marching band, Ginger Johnson’s Afro-Cuban band, and Russell Henderson’s Trinidadian steelband from the Coleherne pub in Earl’s Court, followed by a fire engine.

Eventually, Jenner's London Free School began publishing a community newsletter, and needed to raise funds to support it. The vicar of the nearby All Saints' Church (in Powis Square--not Powis Gardens, as advertised) allowed community groups to use the church's meeting hall for events, so it was here the London Free School hosted a concert 'happening' called the Sound and Light Workshop. The first such event was on September 30, 1966, and featured a performance by The Pink Floyd. The mimeographed handbills also advertised the light projection slides and 'liquid movies'.

The first Sound and Light Workshop was a success, and it subsequently became a regular Friday-night event, even as the London Free School faded away. The Marquee Club's "Spontaneous Underground" shows in early 1966 may have been the Floyd's first exposure to something approaching steady work, but it was at the All Saints Hall that the band really began to develop a serious following. The group had played there nearly a dozen times by the end of the year.

The All Saints Church Hall concert, was a show performed by the Pink Floyd in September 1966 and it was one of their earliest major concerts. The performance took place as a charity gig in aid of the London Free School and newspaper - International Times. Much of the setlist consisted of material that was never released on either a single or an album. Many of the songs are either bluesy instrumentals, or the Syd Barrett inspired space rock jams such as Interstellar Overdrive. Some of these tracks would later appear on the bands debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. These concerts would become a mainstay of the bands early gigs, eventually resulting in them becoming the house band.

Pink (unknown)
Give Me A Break (Man) (Bo Diddley)
Stoned Alone (Barrett) (Later became Candy and a Currant Bun)
I Can Tell (Samuel Smith)
The Gnome (Barrett)
Interstellar Overdrive (Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason)
Lucy Leave (Barrett)
Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk (Waters)
Flapdoodle Dealing (unknown)
Snowing (unknown)
Matilda Mother (Barrett)
Pow R. Toc H. (Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason)
Astronomy Domine (Barrett)

Just as the London Free School first started sponsoring the Sound and Light Workshops in order to fund its community newsletter, UFO was first started to help fund the International Times, which was losing money rapidly. It was the idea of Joe Boyd, a representative of Elektra Records and yet another prominent underground figure, to move the Light and Sound Workshop from All Saints' Hall to a larger downtown space to accommodate the crowds. Boyd and John Hopkins rented a dance hall on Tottenham Court Road called the Blarney for two successive Fridays. "If it works, it works; if it doesn't, its just two gigs," Hopkins told Nicholas Schaffner years later.

As Pink Floyd released their debut album ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’, featuring their All Saints hall set, the Notting Hill People’s Association made the first attempt to forcibly open the gates of the Powis Square gardens; followed up by a direct-action picnic in the Colville Gardens square. During the summer of love, the second Rhaune Laslett ‘Notting Hill Festival’ was incorporated into the Notting Hill Summer Project community workshop. This was a more serious version of the London Free School, organised by the People’s Association in All Saints hall – which became the People’s Centre. The NHPA also produced the longest running local newsletter, the People’s News. The summer of love project mostly consisted of research for George Clark’s housing survey of the Colville and Golborne slum areas, which student volunteers paid to carry out.

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Pink Floyd Scarecrow - Rare Swiss 45 rpm!

Pink Floyd Scarecrow

Check out this rare Swiss Pink Floyd Scarecrow / See Emily Play 45 rpm. This was some sort of Special Edition. Notice that this disc sports the Columbia imprint and not EMI. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pink Floyd Piper at the Gates of Dawn Music Mag Advert

Pink Floyd Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Check out this music magazine advert for Pink Floyd Piper at the Gates of Dawn!

Let us travel back to a time long, long ago. A time before "Dark Side of The Moon" or "The Wall" were even dreamt about. A time when Floyd was not yet known by most people. A time when Syd Barrett was the guiding light to the band. A time before the stadium shows and the screaming fans and the money. 1967's "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is the one that started it all for Pink Floyd, back in the early days when bassist Roger Waters, keyboardist Richard Wright & drummer Nick Mason were led by the genius, but doomed singer/guitarist Syd Barrett. Psychedelic rock doesn't get much more trippier than "Piper," a totally far-out collection of avant-garde space rock, songs about gnomes and scarecrows, off-the-wall production and sound effects, and superb performances by a tight British art-rock band that were destined to become rock legends.

Pink Floyd's debut THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN really does seem to capture the Zeitgeist of its 1967 release date. As Pink Floyd recorded the album only after a fairly long apprenticeship in London's UFO Club, the album includes complex, sometimes jam-like tracks such as "Astronomy Domine", "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" and "Interstellar Overdrive", the last one of the true synth rock efforts. On the other hand, PIPER features more straightforward pop tunes, whose psychedelic nature comes from Syd Barrett's bizarre lyrics which find delight in housecats ("Lucifer Sam"), gnomes, and bicycles. This mix of awe of the infinite and a childlike naivete will be familiar to anyone with completely spaced out acquaintances.

Although he made one last "cameo" appearance with the Floyd on their second album, "A Saucerful Of Secrets" with that album's closing number, "Jugband Blues," the lion's share of Syd Barrett's legacy with the band is all contained right here on "Piper," barring a few early singles. Writing all but one song, and, with a charismatic singing voice and incredible guitar-playing skills, Barrett was truly a musical genius, and his equally-talented bandmates match him song for song.

Every track on the album is a highlight in it's own right, but certainly worth mentioning are such tracks as the opening space rock of "Astronomy Domine," the before-there-was-alternative alternative rock of "Lucifer Sam," the far-out instrumentals "Pow R Toc H" and "Interstellar Overdrive," the frenetic rock of "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" (written & sung by Waters, in his debut composition for the band), the charming tale of "The Gnome," and the classic, half children's song/half freak-out finale, "Bike," which starts out cheerily enough before giving way to some deliciously wacko noises and sound effects.Sadly, and tragically, shortly after the release of "Piper," Syd Barrett's experimentations with psychedelic drugs ultimately destroyed him, and he was finally ousted from the band.

Roger Waters more-or-less took over as the group's leader, and Barrett's vacated slot was filled by guitarist David Gilmour. Barrett, despite his drug-addicted state, would record a pair of solo albums before dropping out of the music business altogether. Not well enough to look after himself, he quietly lived in the care of family members until his death in 2006. Pink Floyd, meanwhile, would go on to major superstardom and sell millions of albums, with such classics as "Dark Side Of The Moon," "Wish You Were Here," "Animals" and "The Wall." But "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" was the band's very first chapter, and one that would not have been possible without the great Syd Barrett. "Piper" is outstanding psychedelic rock, and a Pink Floyd classic. And thank you, Syd, wherever you are.

Astonomy Domine - N.A.S.A. type radio chatter and effects at the start. Arty lyrics and very English singing. Crisp sound quality, e.g. drums. Unlike Beatles stuff I've heard (pre remasters), there really isn't a issue with the 'faux' stereo...the stereo quality is good to my ears.

Lucifer Sam - bassy, moody organ. Bit menacing. About Syd's cat, presumably. Sort of jaunty track with catty noises on the guitar.

Matilda Mother - features the organ and I don't mind its melody and that of the vocals. Arty/fantasy lyrics...bit obscure. Has some harmonies and some silly sounding high notes one time, but generally the song is pleasant in general at times. At the end, the vocals are percussive.

Pow R. Toc H. - has some experimental percussive vocal noises....kind of like scat. You hear a scream on this song which sounds similar to what Pink Floyd would do later on their classic album "The wall". This is the track which has the faulty mono sounding passage featuring the piano. A misjudgment, in my view. Anyway, the piano sounds jazzy. Features the organ. I don't mind the guitar notes. Has some unintentional distortion...don't think you hear it on the mono version of the album.

Take up thy Stethoscope and Walk - tinny drums open up the track. A jammy type track...listening to the mono version of this song, the jam seemed quite Doorsy...but maybe that should be vice versa. Bassy, with American sounding vocals, perhaps.

Interstellar Overdrive - a 9:40 minute long instrumental. Starts off with a conventional rock sound by the album's standards, then goes could view that part as being self-indulgent. At times you hear annoying 'chicken' noises being played on the guitar for a while. Might be glitchy for a bit, a bit before three minutes in, perhaps. Psychedelia. There are some annoying 'widgy widgy' sounds near the end of the track (I mean the sound bouncing from one speaker to the next...trying to sound 'cool' or something). You don't get that schtick on the mono version of the album though.

The Gnome - childish lyrics, whimsical and absurd. Nice strumming and later you hear a xylophone type instrument, I think. Comes across as the kind of song Ringo Starr would have sung with The Beatles.

Chapter 24 - slower track, obscure lyrics. Pretty keyboard playing...bag-pipey at times? There's a little distortion on the left hand side of the speakers.

The Scarecrow - interesting drumming on this track...starts off as a percussive piece with keyboard. The keyboard style reminds me of MGMT's debut album...similarly simple keyboard melodies. More childish type lyrics (you can view these lyrics as being of the sort an adult would read to a very young child). Outro has some symphonic instruments...viola or cello perhaps.

Bike - carnivalesque music with childish lyrics. Pipe-organ features, perhaps. Harpsichord type instrument too. Piano. The chorus seems unrelated to the verses as the verses seem unrelated to each other. As a result, the chorus stands out more. Whereas "Interstellar overdrive" had chicken noises, this song has geese-like noises. The outro is a soundscape.

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