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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3 Comments:

Blogger gst1962 said...

Love it, love it, love it, that pix of Syd..another gem from the PF's "Junk Yard" photo shoot! Thanks for sharing all your videos, pix & other gems! This was another fab post!

March 31, 2011 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger gst1962 said...

Love it, love it, love it, that pix of Syd..another fab gem from PF's "Junkyard" photo shoot! Thanks for the neat post and all your other gems that you share from time to time here!

March 31, 2011 at 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it would be nice if pink floyd released scream and vegetable man , actually i haven't heard scream thy last scream cause the floyd keeps taking it down off of youtube:(, urgh.. you would think waters had enough money well at least i got vegetable man

August 19, 2014 at 1:30 AM  

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