Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Syd Barrett went wondering, stumbling, fumbling, rumbling astray in the su-perlative  spastic seething of this effervescent enmeshing of a party of clowns.   He had worked with five different producers over a year in the recording of his solo debut 'The Mapcap Laughs'; but the album garnished enough interest to convince EMI to approve a followup.  After an appearance with the rhythm section of David Gilmour and Jerry Shirley on  John Peel's Top Gear radio show, work began at Abbey Road in late February of 1970, only a month after the release of 'The Mapcap Laughs'.     Gilmour produced the sessions that featured  Syd Barrett on guitars, lead and backing vocals;   David Gilmour on production, bass guitar, organ (second organ on "It Is Obvious" and "Gigolo Aunt", "Wined and Dined"), drums ("Dominoes"), and 12-string guitar;   Richard Wright on piano, harmonium, and Hammond organ;   Vic Saywell on tuba;   Jerry Shirley  and   John "Willie" Wilson  on drums and percussion;  and  with  Peter Bown engineering.    Work on 'Barrett' was suspended between February and April while Pink Floyd completed work on Atom Heart Mother.

Gilmour looks back:  "Those sessions were done so quickly. We were rushing to gigs every day and had to fit recording sessions in between. I probably took it away to have a listen and simply forgot to take it back. It wasn't intended to be a final mix. Syd knocked it off, I took a tape home ... We really had basically three alternatives at that point, working with Syd. One, we could actually work with him in the studio, playing along as he put down his tracks – which was almost impossible, though we succeeded on 'Gigolo Aunt'. The second was laying down some kind of track before and then having him play over it. The third was him putting his basic ideas down with just guitar and vocals and then we'd try and make something out of it."

Barrett would later admit:   "It would be terrific to do much more mood stuff. They’re very pure, you know, the words… I feel I’m jabbering. I really think the whole thing is based on me being a guitarist and having done the last thing about two or three years ago in a group around England and Europe and The States, and then coming back and hardly having done anything, so I don’t really know what to say. I feel, perhaps, I could be claimed as being redundant almost. I don’t feel active, and that my public conscience is fully satisfied...[I wouldn't say that I'm a difficult person to get on with]. Probably my own impatience is the only thing, because it has to be very easy. You can play guitar in your canteen, you know, your hair might be longer, but there’s a lot more to playing than travelling around universities and things."

Shirley says: "[Syd] would never play the same tune twice. Sometimes Syd couldn't play anything that made sense; other times what he'd play was absolute magic."

Wright recalls:    "Doing Syd's record was interesting, but extremely difficult. Dave [Gilmour] and Roger [Waters] did the first one (The Madcap Laughs) and Dave and myself did the second one. But by then it was just trying to help Syd any way we could, rather than worrying about getting the best guitar sound. You could forget about that! It was just going into the studio and trying to get him to sing."

Barrett would reflect on his separation from the Pink Floyd:    "Their choice of material was always very much to do with what they were thinking as architecture students. Rather unexciting people, I would’ve thought, primarily. I mean, anybody walking into an art school like that would’ve been tricked maybe they were working their entry into an art school...But the choice of material was restricted, I suppose, by the fact that both Roger [Waters] and I wrote different things. We wrote our own songs, played our own music. They were older, by about two years, I think. I was 18 or 19. I don’t know that there was really much conflict, except that perhaps the way we started to play wasn’t as impressive as it was to us, even, wasn’t as full of impact as it might’ve been. I mean, it was done very well, rather than considerably exciting. One thinks of it all as a dream...It wasn’t really a war. I suppose it was really just a matter of being a little offhand about things. We didn’t feel there was one thing which was gonna make the decision at the minute. I mean, we did split up, and there was a lot of trouble. I don’t think the Pink Floyd had any trouble, but I had an awful scene, probably self-inflicted, having a mini and going all over England and things. Still…The general concept, I didn’t feel so conscious of it as perhaps I should. I mean, one’s position as a member of London’s young people’s, I dunno what you’d call it underground wasn’t it, wasn’t necessarily realized and felt, I don’t think, especially from the point of view of groups."

'Barrett' came out in November of 1970 on Harvest in the UK and Capitol in the US; but it never charted.  




"Gigolo Aunt" was based on Jeff Beck's "Hi Ho Silver Lining".

Grooving around in a trench coat
with the satin on trail
Seems to be all around its tin and lead pail, we pale 
Jiving on down to the beach
to see the blue and the gray
seems to be all and it's rosy-it's a beautiful day!

Will you please keep on the track
'cause I almost want you back
'cause I know what you are
you are a gigolo aunt, you're a gigolo aunt!
Yes I know what you are
you are a gigolo aunt, you're a gigolo aunt!

Heading on down with the light, the dust in your way
she was angrier there, than her watershell male
life to this love to me - heading me down to me
thunderbird shale
seems to be all and it's rosy - it's a beautiful day!
will you please keep on the track
'cause I almost want you back
'cause I know what you are
you are a gigolo aunt, you are a gigolo aunt 
Yes I know what you are
you are a gigolo aunt, you're a gigolo aunt!

Grooving on down in a knapsack su-perlative day
some wish she move and change as she kind move jiving away
she made the scene should have been su-perlative day
everything's all and it's rosy, it's a beautiful day
will you please keep on the track
'cause I almost want you back
'cause I know what you are
you are a gigolo aunt, you are a gigolo aunt 
Yes I know what you are

you are a gigolo aunt, you're a gigolo aunt!


"Effervescing Elephant"  

An Effervescing Elephant
with tiny eyes and great big trunk
once whispered to the tiny ear
the ear of one inferior
that by next June he'd die, oh yeah!
because the tiger would roam.
The little one said: "Oh my goodness I must stay at home!
and every time I hear a growl
I'll know the tiger's on the prowl
and I'll be really safe, you know
the elephant he told me so."
Everyone was nervy, oh yeah!
and the message was spread
to zebra, mongoose, and the dirty hippopotamus
who wallowed in the mud and chewed
his spicy hippo-plankton food
and tended to ignore the word
preferring to survey a herd
of stupid water bison, oh yeah!
And all the jungle took fright,
and ran around for all the day and the night
but all in vain, because, you see,
the tiger came and said: "Who me?!
You know, I wouldn't hurt not one of you.
I'd much prefer something to chew
and you're all too scant." oh yeah!
He ate the Elephant

full album:

Original release

Side one

1. "Baby Lemonade"   4:10
2. "Love Song"    3:03
3. "Dominoes"  4:08
4. "It Is Obvious"   2:59
5. "Rats"   3:00
6. "Maisie"  2:51

Side two
7. "Gigolo Aunt"   5:46
8. "Waving My Arms in the Air"   2:09
9. "I Never Lied to You"   1:50
10. "Wined and Dined"   2:58
11. "Wolfpack"   3:41
12. "Effervescing Elephant"   1:52


Barrett's only solo performance, at the Kensington Olympia on June 6, 1970

1. Terrapin 0:00
2. Gigolo Aunt 4:15
3. Effervescing Elephant 9:04
4. Octopus 10:25

Radio One 16 February 1971 session

1. Terrapin - 0:00
2. Gigolo Aunt - 3:09
3. Baby Lemonade - 6:51
4. Effervescing Elephant - 9:27
5. Two of a Kind - 10:30
6. Baby Lemonade - 13:03
7. Dominoes - 15:27
8. Love Song - 18:30

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