OVERRATED?

January 24, 2010 – 4:07 am

The late singer-songwriter who wrote See Emily Play with his final session.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

SYD BARRETT
Syd Barrett’s Last Recording Session [A DoinkerTape, 1CD]

Sessions at Abbey Road Studios August 12, 1974. Ex SBD stereo.

This session on August 12, 1974 was written about in David Parker’s book, Random Precision - Recording the music of Syd Barrett 1965-1974. Thanks to schnitstelle for pointing it out. Parker wrote:

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 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…”

“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.”

“It was Syd on his own, just Syd, Pete Jenner, me and Pat Stapley. We were the only people who were in the studio.”

Peter Jenner: “Well I think 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.”

One of many legends to emerge over the years about this session is that Syd turned up with a guitar, but no strings. Phil May of the Pretty Things is credited with supplying a set to enable Syd to begin recording.

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.”

Aside from Barrett, also in the studio were Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner, as producer and engineers John Leckie and Pat Stapley. The next day “was devoted to compiling the best pieces from the 16-track recordings produced on the previous day. Ten pieces were selected and transfered onto 8-track tape.”

That’s what you have here. The entire recording finally appeared on a bootleg LP, “You Got It Now” in early 2008. Barrett passed away in July 7, 2006.

This was shared by Doinker at the Dime who said “Well, well, well! After lusting after this gem for many years… here it is, finally… 11 instrumental tracks of pure unrealized potential, going nowhere faster and faster… ”

When Syd Barrett died, there was such an outpouring of love and nostalgia for him that it recalled “the ever-popular tortured artist effect”. Despite his talent and originality, he could not or did not know how to cope with fame. This final session shows Barrett struggling, inchoate and reduced to doodling on the guitar. There’s only one unfinished song, If You Go, Don’t Be Slow. Barrett was 29 at the time of the recording. He was 60 when he died.
- The Little Chicken

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Boogie #1 (3.6MB)
Track 02. Boogie #2 (3.5MB)
Track 03. Boogie #3 (3.4MB)
Track 04. If You Go, Don’t Be Slow #1 (6.0MB)
Track 05. Ballad (unfinished) (2.2MB)
Track 06. Chooka-Chooka-Chug-Chug (1.4MB)
Track 07. If You Go, Don’t Be Slow #2 (4.5MB)
Track 08. Untitled (3.1MB)
Track 09. Slow Boogie (6.7MB)
Track 10. John Lee Hooker (8.8MB)
Track 11. Fast Boogie (3.0MB)
TT: 20 m

Read David Parker’s Random Precision: Recording the Music of Syd Barrett 1965-1974, (Cherry Red Books 2001). Click on the link to buy the book.

Syd Barrett was the driving force on the first Pink Floyd album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. His personality and creativity are clearly evident and vastly different from Roger Waters’ or David Gilmour’s. Barrett later sold the rights to his solo albums to his record label. Click on the link to buy this Pink Floyd album.

  1. 14 Responses to “OVERRATED?”

  2. Just amazing this gem from a great genius from the last 20th century.
    Many many thanks bigo’s team :-)

    By Rochacrimson on Jan 24, 2010

  3. Thanks for allowing this to SHINE ON BigO!!

    By KevinZ on Jan 24, 2010

  4. Yes, great to have this missing audio link in the grand Flyodian scheme of things.

    By Timmy on Jan 24, 2010

  5. It’s a shame that he could still play but unable to complete a song. When you look back at PF’s history, you realize how young he was when he checked out. I don’t think it was the acid that made him go off the deep end. Love hate with pop stardom, plus some other things we’ll never know about his childhood. No doubt, being kicked out of Pink Floyd had to have contributed to his downward spiral.

    Listening to this demo - it just doesn’t seem like he had anything new and innovative to come up with. Painting was always his first love anyway. Too bad he didn’t show up at Live 8 for a quick second. He left behind just enough music to call it a legacy, too bad Gilmour is set against officially releasing the BBC tapes.

    By Danny on Jan 25, 2010

  6. It’s hard to know whether drugs or fame or childhood explains Syd Barrett’s decline, or if it was schizophrenia. Those may have been the catalyst for triggering his mental illness.

    Does anyone know whether there is a recording of ‘Let’s Light Another One’? Legend (or Nick Shaffner) says that was the original title and chorus of ‘Apples and Oranges’ before the record label asked for a change.

    By Eric on Jan 26, 2010

  7. Interesting stuff. In spite of the above negative comments about how Syd “could still play but was unable to complete a song” etc., this collection is better musically than I expected. For someone supposedly burnt out on acid he has a lot more rhythmic consistency here than some of the stuff you hear on the official solo releases (”Opel” for example).

    My impression of this session is that Syd was merely sketching out ideas for songs. I do the same thing when I come up with a song - I sit down, hit the “record” button, and see what comes out, then, if it has promise, I go back to it at another session and take it the next step etc. until you get a finished song. Recording is not a one-stage process, and these pieces look merely like the first hesitant step in what might have been an interesting album. I can imagine the response of the executives back in those coked-up days of mid-70s rock though: “what’s this ****! Pull the plug on that hippie now before he wastes any more of our time and money!”

    It’s little wonder Syd went back to painting.

    Venetic

    By Venetic on Jan 30, 2010

  8. Can’t wait to hear this one. Thanks

    By Matt on Jan 31, 2010

  9. Those who have little experience with schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder tend to romanticize famous people who suffer from it. Syd Barrett probably had little ability to choose whether he played music or not, he was severely dysfunctional. He probably did not rebel against fame, the music business, or anything else, but rather was simply incapable of sustaining a coherent career for any length of time. It is tragic but not romantic. Thank God, Brian Wilson is able to treat his illness and still create.

    By Just Bill on Jul 9, 2013

  10. Thanks.. I thought Syd’s last sessions were with Robert Wyatt..

    By Tom on Jul 11, 2013

  11. first 6 track links seem to be duplicates of 7-11. or is it just me?

    By phat-taxi on Jul 13, 2013

  12. phat - its just u. sorry.

    By darth on Jul 13, 2013

  13. Thanks Bigo, I got this before when you had it offered but lost it in a hard drive crash. Glad you reposted.

    By nubious on Jul 13, 2013

  14. http://ultimateclassicrock.com/syd-barrett-corn-exchange/

    By darth on Jan 23, 2014

  15. The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band (The Stars) - All Songs With Syd Barrett - Live 1972
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?sns=em&v=WQgnlUEyQXw

    By Jeffhitz on Apr 25, 2016

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