Recording the Music of Syd Barrett 1965-1974.
Syd Barrett book by David Parker
Released by Cherry Red Records, 2001.
Once again an important book from for any serious Floyd fan. This is a very detailed book about ALL the recordings of Syd Barrett. The book uses a chronological diary format, and includes technical recording notes and exclusive interviews with Peter Jenner, Andrew King, Peter Bown, Alan Parsons, John Leckie and others. Also photographs and illustrations, many previously unpublished. See the sample chapters below.
Buy this book from Amazon!
The following are excerpts from the book 'Random Precision'. Reproduced by kind permission of Cherry Red Records.
[start of sample chapters]
Note on Recording Session Details
Even back in the pre-digital 1960's the music recording process could get quite complicated. I have attempted to lay out all of the information as clearly as possible. All details relating to the Abbey Road sessions come from the information still on file in the archive at Abbey Road Studios. I have also included details of sessions that took place outside Abbey Road Studios where they are confirmed by information in the Abbey Road or EMI archives. The details relating to the BBC radio recordings were provided by Phil Lawton at the BBC Radio 1 archive.
The only exceptions to the above are the handful of sessions that pre-date the recording contract between EMI and Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd. These mainly relate to the 'Tonite, Let's all Make Love in London' film and LP recordings, and the information relating to those was kindly provided by See For Miles Records. Details for the others are based upon educated guesswork by myself and my conversations with Peter Jenner, Andrew King and Bob Klose.
I have listed the details as follows:-
Time: The actual time a session lasted (frequently a lot longer than was booked!)
Site: Whereabouts the session took place.
Engineers: Balance Engineer/Tape Operator
Recording: Song title (Number of takes or mixes) EMI tape reel number
If there is uncertainty about a particular detail I have indicated such by adding question marks - ??
SI = 'Superimposition' which means an overdub.
RM = 'Remix Mono' mixes were numbered in the same manner as takes i.e. RM1, RM2 etc.
RS = 'Remix Stereo'
Producer = The person responsible for deciding how a recording should sound.
Balance Engineer = The person responsible for making sure the recording sounds as the producers wants it to.
Tape Operator = The person responsible for operating the tape machine, handling the tapes, making cups of tea.
Recording Sheet = An EMI document used by the Balance Engineer and/or Tape Operator during a session to note details of any recordings made (takes attempted, instruments overdubbed, any copies made etc).
Red Form = An EMI document used to book studio time at Abbey Road studios.
Red forms were referred to as such because they were printed in red ink. If you wanted to book studio time at EMI's Manchester Square studio (no longer in existence), you used a Green Form. They were printed in green ink. All titles are given as they are written on the recording sheets in the Abbey Road archive. The titles occasionally vary from those used when the recordings were released. This could be for a number of reasons; most songwriters have 'working titles' for pieces, sometimes they change their minds about a title, and I suspect that the Engineers may occasionally have 'misheard' titles as well.
Date: Monday 31st October 1966??
Site: Thompson Private Recording Studios, Hemel Hempstead
Producer: The Pink Floyd??
Engineers: Mr Thompson??
Recording: Interstellar Overdrive (takes unknown)
I Get Stoned (Stoned Alone) (takes unknown)
Peter Jenner: "I don't know why we went there. We just heard about it through someone, and it was cheap. And we went over there and it was really quite nice it was sort of countryish and in a nice house."
Andrew King: "I remember going down to this funny little studio, which was sort of in the back bedroom of this guy's house down in the sort of High Wycombe way.Buckinghamshire or somewhere. And he turned out to be rather a nasty piece of work, but at the time it was pretty exciting. "
Not a great deal is known about the Thompson Private Recording Studios, beyond the fact that they were based in Hemel Hempstead.
Peter Jenner: "It was pretty primitive, I would think it was only stereo, I would imagine it was 2-track, and then bounced from track to track if anything needed to be bounced. It wouldn't have been 4-track, it wasn't that advanced. It might have only been mono with two machines, I don't know. I mean for us then it was lots of wires and microphones and cables and things, it was 'a studio' you know."
There was a story circulating at one point that the studios were actually set up in a basement.
Peter Jenner: "No I don't think so, because I have recollections of seeing sunshine and windows and things (chuckles), the sort of things that we realised weren't very studioish subsequently. Basically it was in someone's front room sort of thing. I don't know where we got hold of the guy, I can't remember how we found him, or where, but there weren't that many cheap studios around at the time."
The recording of 'Interstellar Overdrive' made at this session runs for roughly 15 minutes, and was used as the soundtrack to a short film released in 1968 entitled 'San Francisco'.
Peter Jenner: "I think the thing that was interesting was 'Interstellar Overdrive', because that was a very good version of 'Interstellar Overdrive' because it was very 'live'. It was as they played it live."
There has been much speculation as to other numbers recorded at this session.
Peter Jenner: "I think we tried some things and they didn't really work.that's my general vibe on it. You should speak to Andrew."
Andrew King: "The song I remember was a song called 'I Get Stoned'."Sitting here all alone, I get stoned." I don't know whatever happened to that. I think it was just done with Syd singing with an acoustic guitar, and was then meant to be developed later. I don't know if it ever had a rhythm track on it. But that certainly.that's my strong feeling about that."
Peter Jenner: "All of the recording was probably done on single-track.'live in the studio, with maybe a vocal overdub or something, going from machine to machine."
Andrew King: "I've always thought of that song 'I Get Stoned' as being the first song that Syd really sort of wrote for the Floyd. 'Candy and a Current Bun' I think was written for something that Syd was involved in prior to the Floyd maybe originally? That wasn't really.although it was the b-side to 'Arnold Layne' obviously in the end.I have a suspicion that its origins are really pre the Floyd or.a Floyd consciousness in Syd's song-writing. I always think that that session at High Wycombe was when Syd really started writing material for the Floyd, rather than just writing the odd song."
And the recording date given above?
Peter Jenner: "That would be about right."
Date: Wednesday 11th January 1967
Time: 8:00am - 11:30am
Site: Sound Techniques Ltd, 46a Old Church St, London SW3
Producer: Joe Boyd
Engineers: John Wood
Recording: Interstellar Overdrive (takes unknown)
Nick's Boogie (takes unknown)
Geoff Frost (Co-owner of Sound Techniques Studios): "I can't remember anything about their actual sessions, but I do remember them coming in because the name seemed so unusual. We'd had The Incredible String Band in not long before, which seemed a reasonable sort of name for a group, but with the Pink Floyd I remember thinking, 'I know what a pink flamingo is, but what on earth's a pink floyd?'"
Nothing from this session found it's way to EMI. These recordings pre-dated EMI's contract with the group, and were commissioned by Peter Whitehead for use in his film 'Tonite, Lets all Make Love in London'.
Peter Jenner: "Yes. That probably gave us the excuse to get in the studio, he probably provided the budget. I've not seen the video, but I've got the record somewhere! We thought it was great, making a film and playing, doing some recording. It was a sort of double!"
Andrew King: "Well Peter Whitehead was 'Mr Trendy'. He was in Soho, he was making some of the very first what would now be called videos or promos. He'd done.I remember watching a thing he'd done for The Animals. I remember him showing me some video he'd made for.well it wasn't a video, it was probably shot on 16mm film.and he was a film maker and he was getting films made and getting them out. He was making documentary films and getting them released as second features on theatrical exhibitions."
Joe Boyd: "While they were negotiating the deal with EMI (which included the future use of a staff producer, hence no further need for my services) they rang me up about the film, which Peter Whitehead wanted to shoot at Sound Techniques. We recorded 'Interstellar Overdrive' - not the same version as in the EMI archives - and the session was filmed."
John Wood: "I remember doing 'Interstellar Overdrive' though it might have been at a different session (to 'Arnold Layne'). I think it was used for a film, Peter Whitehead definitely came in to film them at one stage."
Joe Boyd: "I have little memory of 'Nick's Boogie', but it sounds vaguely familiar. I would assume that if it is from the film, I produced it."
For many years all that was available commercially was a short excerpt from the beginning of 'Interstellar Overdrive' on the film soundtrack LP. Luckily Peter Whitehead hung on to his copies of the recordings and they were finally released in their entirety in 1991. The recordings survive on two spools of 15ips tape, one for each of the titles.
Colin Miles (See For Miles Records): "Those are all that Peter (Whitehead) had. I presume the original 4-track, or whatever they were, tapes were lost, reused or kept by the studio. I'm not sure if Peter remembers much detail about the sessions.I have the original invoice from Sound Techniques relating to these recordings, which is where we took the information on the recording dates from. It's dated 10th February 1967 and gives a Job Number of 67-359. The tape boxes simply state the title of the recordings."
Joe Boyd: "They were recorded 'live', I believe. I can't remember how many takes, but I think there was more than one, at least in the case of 'Interstellar Overdrive'. But don't ask me where the original tapes are. We might well have gone directly over the earlier takes in recording the master(s)."
It has been claimed that early versions of 'Arnold Layne' and 'Let's Roll Another One' (later changed to 'Candy and a Current Bun') were recorded at this session. I asked Joe Boyd if he remembered that happening.
Joe Boyd: "I don't recall the sessions for the single and the film being so close together. I am pretty certain that we recorded both sides of the single one night and mixed them the next (and the night after that we recorded 'Granny takes a Trip'* - both singles were finished the same week). Certainly, 'Arnold Layne' was not re-recorded."
Colin Miles: "Peter never had 'Arnold Layne'. The invoice for the session simply refers to 'Film Tracks'."
*A classic psychedelic single release by The Purple Gang
Date: Tuesday 21st February
Time: 11:00pm - 6:00am
Site: Studio 3 EMI Studios, 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, London NW8
Producer: Norman Smith
Engineers: Peter Bown/Michael Sheady
Recording: Matilda's Mother (takes 1-6) E63417
The Pink Floyd's first proper session for EMI.
Andrew King: "'Matilda Mother' originally had lyrics cribbed straight from Hillaire Belloc 'There was a boy whose name was Jim.'. We had to change them for the album, so Syd simply came up with his own."
Michael Sheady: "Francis Dillnut was the Engineers' co-ordinator. If a session was requested then someone checked whether the studio was available, and it was Francis' job to man them. Sometimes it was 'Who'd like to do this session?' and everyone would be clamouring to do it, other times he was met with silence! The Pink Floyd session was something of a lumber as far as I was concerned!"
Peter Bown: "I was visiting the dentist, and of course I've got my mouth full with this, that and the other, when a phone call came through saying that someone very much wanted to speak to me. What it turned out to be was 'Get to the studios at midnight.and just be prepared for anything!'.Don't ask me what date that was, it would be the first recording sheet of 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn'."
Michael Sheady: "That particular session sticks in my mind because it was so completely against the norm. As I remember it the Pink Floyd session was added on right at the end of the day; Peter and I had already spent most of the day on other sessions, and to be honest I just wanted to get home, but we were told "This session will take place at this time". To run a session that late was totally against EMI's standard practice in those days, the studio is in quite a smart area of London and had a lot of neighbours who had sufficient clout to ensure sessions finished promptly at 11 o'clock. I can remember that the Pink Floyd session went on for so long, that it ended very close to the next morning session! I got the impression that somebody very high up in EMI had a strong interest in this group, someone higher up than A&R. I can't honestly remember much about the music, I simply remember the session because the circumstances were so odd."
Peter Jenner: "I never realised that. You see, that's probably one of those things that no-one realised because we wanted to get in quickly, and the group did a lot of gigs so it would have been hard to find the time to record them. So I would imagine.I bet that was to do with the fact that the studio was booked and someone from Manchester Square was leaning on them and saying "You've got to get some time in what about going in late at night?" We never minded.I know that we.I'm sure that the sessions at Sound Techniques went on pretty late.and all night gigs were very much the thing. I mean UFO was an all night show!"
Andrew King: "The Beatles recorded whenever they felt like it. They had a meal laid out.a buffet laid out.permanently in Studio 2 and they recorded whenever they bloody well felt like it. We were not The Beatles, but I think the powers that be assumed that the way in which the Floyd were going to work was going to be closer to the way The Beatles worked, rather than someone like Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers would have had to."
Peter Jenner: "Well of course it also seemed really groovy and rock 'n' roll!"
The 'red form' used to book the studio time lists 'Arnold Layne' and 'Candy and a Current Bun' as the titles to be recorded. Thus it would appear that Norman Smith wanted our heroes to re-record those numbers before issuing them as a single.
Peter Jenner: "There might have been talk about that and we may even have run it through a couple of times, then decided no it was fine. I think in the end we wanted to do some more stuff, so those songs never got re-recorded and then they put them out while we were still recording."
The recording sheet for this first Abbey Road session has 'Pow R Toc H' listed as the first item, but then crossed out before recording commenced (I couldn't be sure, but it looked like it may have been written 'How are Toc H'!). The band opted to record 'Matilda's Mother' instead. A total of 6 takes were recorded, all complete except take 2, which was a false start. For the moment take 6 (at 3:55 long) was labelled 'Basic Best'. Further work would follow later.
Andrew King: "I thought the desk was exceptionally strange.this funny little desk which you can probably now find at EMI Delhi! Because.as equipment at Abbey Road got outdated it was shipped off to the former colonies, to the far flung outposts of the empire (laughs). I'm sure it's still being used somewhere. It was 4-track, and it had this knob on one side which you pushed it one way and it said 'Pop', you pushed it the other way it said 'Classical'. What it did was alter the logarithmic curve on the faders.so that you could get.you could do more subtle changes of level if it was set on 'Classical' than you could on 'Pop'. So when you were sort of balancing the mikes on an orchestral recording you could do it very, very finely. Whereas on 'Pop' it was assumed it would be a bit more rough and ready."
Peter Bown: "The first session we didn't say much to each other at all.nor they amongst themselves even. They would come and listen to a playback and it would be 3 or 4 minutes before one of them would say anything about the playback or say 'Don't do that again,' and why blah, blah, blah.because I kept, and Mike Sheady, we kept very quiet and we let them take the lead."
Michael Sheady: "To be quite honest, having done a whole days recording it was a case of 'Wake up and press the buttons'. I seem to remember in the Control Room, that Peter was asked to turn it up to 2 or 3 times the normal volume because the band were so used to that sort of sound level.as Engineers we were trying to protect our hearing !"
Date: Friday 4th August 1967
Record Release: LP - 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' (Columbia SX6157 mono/SCX6157 stereo)
Peter Bown: "I remember Syd Barrett from 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' when he was.he was probably into drugs but they hadn't had the effect on him that.well, they really smashed him up. For 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' he was very much the person behind it all as far as I can remember."
Jeff Jarrett: "That was one of my favourite records for a long time. I still love it because it was so different, in fact I introduced my kids to it a couple of years ago. They thought it was.unusual."
Peter Jenner: "There was no 'strategy'.I think we thought we had to be an albums band because I came from a jazz background, and the thing which I liked about them was their improvisation, so I always assumed there would have to be albums - and I always foresaw that it would be a bit of a problem how they would record, because 'live their songs would be 5, 6, 7 minutes.I don't know how long they actually were, but they seemed long, and singles were very short! And I think we always thought they should be an album band - and I don't think we for a moment thought that the album would end up the way it did, which was a series of three minute songs. I think that it was an incredibly good move. I think if we'd done what I'd thought we'd do - which was namely a sort of big long waffle, like the sort of.an 'Interstellar Overdrive' times six on an album - it wouldn't have been a hit! The album wouldn't have been a hit, the single wouldn't have been a hit, and you probably wouldn't be asking me these questions now.I mean Syd was very 'pop'. Syd I think had a 'pop' consciousness."
Andrew King: "We weren't very happy with the artwork.I don't think it's a great cover.and I'd sort of.that was nagging at my mind at the time. It was a photographer called Vic Singh.god knows what happened to Vic Singh! He was a fashion photographer I think? I think.now who recommended him to us.I think possibly Hoppy did.who was also a professional photographer.and.it wasn't a bad idea, but I don't think it's a great cover. We said: "What shall we do for the back?" and Syd said: "Oh I'll do something," and it's a sort of.actually I knew it was a cut-out, sort of reversed out photo.the best photos were of course the David Lonjer photos a little bit later, a wonderful photo session, but that's when Syd is 'gone'.Syd has 'gone' then."
Peter Jenner: "In a way we were much more conscious of singles than albums. The album came out, and I think was Top 5, but I never realised, and I don't think anybody really realised. I think we liked the reviews and things, and it was important for us - but it wasn't financial, it was aesthetic - and I think the album went down very well from the word go, so we were very pleased with it. We never particularly looked at sales figures, never were aware of sales figures or chart positions. The only chart positions we were conscious of were singles chart positions."
The album must surely rank as one of the high points of the 1967 psychedelic music scene, and along with The Beatle's 'Sergeant Pepper', is one of the few albums from that era to remain continuously available since its release.
Andrew King: "I think the whole era influenced Syd enormously. I think he felt the whole.I think Syd did believe in some sort of gnostic, poetic revolution that was blowing through his body, and through the world. I think Syd did feel the whole world was sort of flowing through him."
Date: Monday 6th May 1968
Time: 7:00pm - 10:30pm
Site: Studio 3 EMI Studios, 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, London NW8
Producer: Peter Jenner
Engineers: Geoff Emerick
Recording: Silace Lang (sic) (take 1) E68508
Late Night (take 1-6) E68508
The two titles originally pencilled in for this session were 'Vegetable Man' and 'Down in the Beechwoods' (the latter definitely being a Syd Barrett composition).
Peter Jenner: "It didn't cross ones mind that that might be difficult (using the Pink Floyd material) and I don't think.I think also at that period everyone.practically everything would have been sorted out if that had happened. And I think they would all have been delighted if he'd come back and written some more songs, and they could have played on them and things."
There was a note made on the red form that "2 x 4 track machines" would be required, and that "4 track tapes will be delivered to Abbey Road in the afternoon of 6-5-1968" (presumably this refers to the compilation reel from CBS Studios). The intention seems to have been to carry on with the material that Syd had left over from his Pink Floyd days. He obviously changed his mind on the day.
Peter Jenner: "We didn't know what would happen, we didn't know where we were going. We didn't know whether it was going to be a sort of.whether he was going to work on Pink Floyd material, or whether he was going to do 'Syd Barrett' stuff. Certainly I think initially the intention was to continue working on Pink Floyd material, and maybe getting songs out and things."
In the end Syd decided to record two 'new' pieces. Of the first there was only a single take of 'Silace Lang' (that's how the title is written on the tape box). This recording has emerged onto the tape collector circuit, and is notable for Syd's very basic deadened chord strumming, and the surprise appearance of sax and banjo playing. There are also some very strange slowed down noises at the start of the tape. From the notes on the tape box it would appear that the only instruments used on the recording on this date were guitar (on track 1 of the tape) and mellotron (on track 2). This would explain the odd tape loop sound to the saxophone and banjo playing. The strange slowed-down noises at the start appear to be created using low notes from the mellotron 'piano' setting.
Possibly the most successful piece from the 1968 sessions followed, with 'Late Night'. As I mentioned in the introduction to this section, I could find no recording sheets for any of the 1968 Syd Barrett sessions and I have had to cobble the session details together as best I can from a combination of 'red forms' and the tape boxes themselves. Unfortunately the tape box for this session has had the part of the original label which refers to 'Late Night' covered with an amended label. This means that the original details of the takes attempted are no longer listed. It is possible to see that take 1 was a false start, and the initial 'Best' version was mixed from take 6. Based on this I have assumed that six takes were all that were attempted.
There is an invoice for payment of three session musicians attached to the red form for this session. Either they didn't turn up, or Syd decided not to use them, because the fees were later cancelled.
I checked, but Geoff Emerick, the legendary Beatles' Recording Engineer, has no recollection at all about this session.
Date: Saturday 8th June 1968
Time: 7:00pm - 11:00pm
Site: Studio 2 EMI Studios, 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, London NW8
Producer: Peter Jenner
Engineers: Ken Scott/Michael Sheady
Recording: Swan Lee (SI onto take 1) E68508
Swan Lee (4T to 4T transfers numbered take 2-4) E68835
Late Night (4T to 4T transfer numbered take 3) E68835
The red form notes that this session was intended for: "Superimposition of titles recorded on 6th, 14th, 21st & 29th(sic) May, 1968". There is also a request that the tapes be made available for:-
Late Nights (sic)
Scream Your Last Scream
Lanky Pt 1
Lanky Pt 2
A possible hint as to the form that a Peter Jenner produced solo album would have taken.
Peter Jenner: " I think those were the bits which were most coherent. That was my attempt to find what was most coherent and workable on."
It is difficult to decipher from the tape boxes what actually happened today, as there are a number of overdub dates noted without any clear indication as to what instruments were overdubbed when. In the end the only actual recording that seems to have been accomplished on this particular day was the overdubbing of guitar onto 'Swan Lee' (still making the transition from 'Silas Lang'). Both 'Swan Lee' and 'Late Night' were then subject to a reduction mix and transferred to another 4-track tape in order to free up a couple of tracks for further overdubbing.
Peter Jenner: "He did write incredibly quickly. All those songs were.very few of those songs were around when I first met the group as far as I know, and they were all done by about June of the next year, so in nine months nearly all the songs including nearly all the songs that appeared on his solo albums were written. It was interesting.before the Floyd he had quite a lot of old songs that were quite childish, like the Heffalump one.'Effervescing Elephant' and things like that. They were around from beforehand and never got done because they were considered a bit too child-like and not sort of serious enough for this heavy psychedelic band. That wasn't a decision I made, that was a decision he made or they made, so those songs never got done. And so nearly all of the later songs were.a lot of them were scraps that had.half bits that he did when he was writing the main songs for Piper."
A session was booked for Friday 14th June in Studio 3 from 7:00pm until 10:00pm, but this was cancelled.
Date: Saturday 3rd May 1969
Time: 7:00pm - 10:30pm
Site: Studio 3, EMI Studios, 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, London NW8
Producer: Malcolm Jones
Engineers: Michael Sheady/Richard Langham
Recording: Love You (SI onto take 5) E91553
It's No Good Trying (SI onto take 4) E91553
Clowns and Jugglers (SI onto take 3) E91553
This was the session for which the Soft Machine famously provided overdubbed backing tracks. The group at the time comprised Robert Wyatt (drums), Mike Ratledge (keyboards) and Hugh Hopper (bass).
Hugh Hopper: "I think we'd just finished doing 'Volume 2', the first Soft Machine album that I was on. I think we finished that in about March.so it must have been just before that, that Syd came along to see us when we were playing at the 100 Club in London (Thursday 27th March 1969: DP).and.I don't even remember Syd being there while we were playing, but after, when we were standing outside in the street waiting for a cab, Syd came up and he was chatting.because he knew Mike and Robert from early Middle Earth days - around 1966-67 the Pink Floyd and Soft Machine were very much parallel.they weren't particularly mates, but they did a lot of gigs together. So Syd was sort of muttering away in his usual way and said: "Would you like to come along and do some recording?".he'd obviously enjoyed the gig and thought there was something there that he could use.and so that was about it really.we went off in the taxi, and he went off, and then we heard through our manager.I can't remember if Sean Murphy our manager was on the spot there, he probably was there at the time, so he would probably have contacted Syd's management.because Sean knew Blackhill."
DP: It wasn't that you were particularly friends.
Hugh Hopper: "Well I think Mike and Robert were earlier on.you'd have to ask Robert.I'd never actually met Syd .I don't remember meeting Syd before that session. So then after I can't remember how long.a couple of weeks?.We turned up at Abbey Road, and Syd in his usual undemonstrative way sort of got someone to put the tape on and said listen to it."
Date: Friday 27th February 1970
Time: 2:30pm - 11:00pm (Break 7:45pm - 8:45pm)
Site: Studio 2, EMI Studios, 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, London NW8
Producer: David Gilmour
Engineers: Peter Bown/Alan Parsons/John Leckie
Recording: Wolfpack (Demo, takes unknown) E95744Z
Waving my Arms in the Air (Demo, takes unknown) E95744Z
Living Alone (Demo, takes unknown) E95744Z
Dylan Blues (Demo, takes unknown) E95744Z
Jigalo Aunt (sic) (takes 1-13) E92411/(takes 14 -15) E95811
A legendary recording session, and until now the subject of much conjecture amongst Syd Barrett fans and collectors. Sitting in for the day with Peter Bown and Alan Parsons was John Leckie, who was to take over as Tape Operator for the later sessions.
Alan Parsons: "It's partly his writing and partly my writing (on the recording sheet). It looks like what happened was that he started writing the sheet out, it got to 5:30, he went home (laughs) and I carried on! He wouldn't have been paid overtime in his first week."
Like Alan Parsons, John Leckie has gone on to become hugely famous in his own right, producing a whole bunch of fab groups like XTC, the Stone Roses, Radiohead and Kula Shaker (and yes I did spell that 'Cooler Shaker' when he was telling me about them.).
John Leckie: "I had just started, I think I started on the 15th of February, and that's why I was sitting in on the session to learn. I'm sitting in and Alan's showing me what to do and obviously saying: "Well you write this out." Some of it's my writing.This is my writing (points to the top of the recording sheet). You see I think what happened.maybe I went home at half past five? It probably started at half past two, and I went home at half past five and nothing.probably nothing happened until seven o'clock!"
Each of the first four items were part of a "Direct stereo demo recording" made by David Gilmour with assistance from Peter Bown (the suffix 'Z' on an EMI tape number was used to denote a stereo tape).
Peter Bown: "Dave Gilmour and I did it together behind closed doors.no second engineer, I did my own tapes and everything."
Alan Parsons: "That sounds more like a Pink Floyd session to me. The words 'Closed Session' were very commonly used, but very rarely enforced.although Pink Floyd didn't take kindly to people walking in."
Peter Bown: "God how I remember those sessions! Dave was on the board with only two faders and I was trying to get stuff on Syd's guitar, and he's singing something.oh dear.trying to sort out what kind of song it was, then he'd go onto something else. That's when I put two mikes up, one for vocal, one for guitar and he just wouldn't keep still, he wandered all over the place!"
An "Orchestra/Chorus" is again listed on the red form (composition as per yesterday's session) although it is not clear whether they feature on the demo recordings.
Alan Parsons: "I seem to remember them saying: "Right Syd, go into the studio and sing what songs you've got." and that's what he'd do, literally just go in and sing and then they'd say: "Well yes, we can do something with that, we'll come back to that. What else have you got?""
Peter Bown: "Dave Gilmour produced as far as he could. He said: "Oh, put this on two track Peter, then we'll sort it out later." We had two 2-track machines running the whole time to get everything we could down, and I had one mike in one hand, the other microphone was in the other, and literally had to keep to plus or minus six feet with the microphones. I just literally had to hand hold them and get what I could."
Details of take numbers, false starts etc are not noted on the recording sheet, but 1 reel of ¼" tape, numbered E95806, was used in making a 7.5ips copy tape of the recordings. This was "Taken away by David Gilmore(sic)" on a 7" spool. Unfortunately, he returned later and removed the masters as well.
Date: Friday 20th July 1974
Record Release: LP - 'Syd Barrett' (Harvest SABB-1134 stereo only) US Release
A double album set comprising Syd Barrett's two solo albums. This album was released with a prominent 'Founder member of Pink Floyd' sticker on the cover, and was the first time any of Syd Barrett's solo work had been issued in the USA. I can remember seeing it widely available as an import until the UK version became available later in the year.
Sales of this album seem to have taken the record company by surprise, and it actually made a brief appearance in the US album charts (albeit at number 163). This had possibly unforeseen consequences. Although he hadn't been near a recording studio for over three years, Syd was persuaded to have a try at some new recordings.
John Leckie: "It was because of this (picks up the Madcap/Barrett double LP) this double-pack, and because it sold well they wanted Syd back in the studio, and so Bryan Morrison, who was Syd's agent, suggested it might be worth trying some new recording.Bryan Morrison was looking after Syd in a way.he was paying for him to live in a hotel somewhere in Park Lane or something."
Peter Jenner: "I think that it was Bryan Morrison suggested that I try and do it.I think Bryan Morrison was involved in saying that I should do it and he put me in touch with Syd, and I went in and.I've forgotten the details about it, but I think that was how it come about.and we went back in to try again."
John Leckie: "I was working a lot with Pete Jenner at the time, doing Roy Harper records and various other things and.well Pete said: "Syd's going to come in, and we're going to do some recording and he's not in very good shape, and we're just going to see what we can get." So Syd came in with new guitars.you know, he had new equipment, there was a drum kit and everything."
The sessions were assigned a Job Number of 56802. All of the initial recordings were made onto 16-track tape.
By this point in time the studio had abandoned the system of E numbers for tapes. Instead of attempting to individually number each blank reel of tape (proving somewhat unmanageable by this time - they had passed the 100,000 mark), they started again from scratch and tapes were simply allocated numbers by the tape library as they were filed.
John Leckie: "Syd's new equipment? I remember looking at these new guitars thinking: "Wow, he's really serious about this." They'd obviously just been delivered, and he was obviously looking at big things, buying all of this equipment."
Peter Jenner: "Well I think that that was.we didn't know what we were going to do. I think still we were saying like: "Give Syd all the tools and then see what he comes up with. Give him a full palette and let's see if he paints a nice picture." and there was some indication that he wanted to do it."
John Leckie: "I think the idea was that Syd was going to play guitar on the first day, do a whole album of playing guitar, and on the second day he was going to play the drums, hence the drumkit.and on the third day he was going to play the keyboards or whatever.do the overdubs, and on the fourth day he was going to sing. And that would be the LP."
[end of sample chapters]