The 1974 sessions

All discussion related to Roger Keith (Syd) Barrett.
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dgsyd1
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The 1974 sessions

Post by dgsyd1 »

I'm wondering what other people think of the sessions Syd did at Abbey Road in August 1974. Were they just aimless guitar doodling? What do you think Syd's state of mind was at the time?
Personally I find them quite sad to listen to. They sound to me like the product of a very unhappy and confused man, who was recording more out of some form of obligation rather than any real desire to make new music. "If You Go" had potential though, but his heart just wasn't in it anymore.
Any thoughts?
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kaya
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Re: The 1974 sessions

Post by kaya »

I'm wondering what other people think of the sessions Syd did at Abbey Road in August 1974.
-well i think he was there just to satisfisfy his producers.... by my oppinion he wanted to be there and make music but on the other hand he wanted to be somewhere else.

Were they just aimless guitar doodling?
-i'm wondering if he knew at all what was going on...

Personally I find them quite sad to listen to.
-i agree. his feelings can be felt thru his music, so it's no wonder if we feel sad by listening his music. i mean every music is personally. that's the point of music, isn't it??????
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Post by doctorb »

where did you hear these sessions? roio? title? I would be very interesting in hearing a copy of these sessions too.
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Post by nosaj »

ditto!
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Post by 2066 »

nosaj wrote:ditto!
HYGIY Vol. 4, I believe.
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Post by Atom Heart Sun »

Those fragments and backing tracks from '74 don't really strike me as sad in terms of being music played by someone who is unhappy or simply as unhappy sounding music, however, what does seem sad to me about these pieces is the level to which a former creativity had sunk to. They strike me solely as music by somebody who has very little to say musically, and given just how creative that artist once was - THAT might be sad, but given what he had already achieved with 2 singles and an 1 album that's a hell of a lot more than a lot of people ever achieve artistically so maybe that's not too sad either.
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Post by Tenniru »

From what I can interpret from what there was and how he was at the time, Syd simply didn't feel like going back into music. He'd had a nice four-year break (two-year if you count Stars), and he enjoyed it; now someone was pushing him back into Abbey Road, likely with Syd groaning and grimacing all the way. So he shrugs, walks into the studio, fiddles with his guitar, and leaves. "See how you like that,", he'd be thinking.

His lyrical muse was gone; that's fine, it happens to everyone eventually. Besides, the brain of Syd Barrett was simply not the same as what we see in this 1974 bootleg. This is Roger Barrett, whose entire brain makeup was likely changed physically by the incredible amount of drugs he was doing (and would be doing until 1975 when he finally went into rehab and saved himself.) Things pass like that.

However, I still enjoy the recordings. At this point Syd very much still had it as a guitarist (he might still); you can hear a WHOLE lot of very catchy guitar riffs and solos in here. If someone designed a song around "If You Go" or any of the tracks laid down there, it would be great. If he felt like it, he could have still been a grand guitarist at the time. He just didn't.
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Post by dgsyd1 »

As far as i'm aware Syd didn't go through rehab in 1975, and he wasn't much of a drug user by that point. He may have still been using downers like Mandrax though (at least that's what his sister thinks). I don't think he's have had any kind of drug rehab, although his been treated a number of times for his mental health problems, most notably in the late summer of 1968, and again in the early 80's.
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Post by Maisie »

i agree with much of what tenniru said ; and i for one (as a guitar player myself) wonder why anyone would think these fragments show that Syd couldn't play anymore- quite the contrary h-e was playing some very together Blues riffs and playing them very well actually - didn';t sound confused to me- if anyone rememebers one of the last interviews he gave he said something about listening to old Blues and maybe going in that direction-but you see blues has never really gotten respect from certain segments .. and at that time - they might still have been expecting Syd to play stuff the "kid syd' played years earlier like what was on Piper- and he was so done with all that- maybe he wanted to play some more adult oriented music or so he might have thought) and he started out playing those Bo Diddley riffs any way- maybe he was returning to his roots- nothinbg wrong with that.. and listen again to the john Lee hooker riffage- sounds very rhythmic- he hadn't lost touch with that great sense of rhythm
.I've read a few different things about that period for Syd .. and also the interviews with his sister- didn't she say that he DID go to a drug treatment facility? But he had a hard time trying to deal with working things out with others as a team thing? Isn't that the place he left because he felt like someone insulted him? then the freakin Mandrax tore his stomach up and gave him ulcers -a common side effect...wasn't that much later like 77-78?
this stuff IS frustrating though ... i really wish there was away of getting some real kind of chronology-
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Post by dgsyd1 »

A rough outline of Syd's life from 1972-1982


February 1972 - Stars play at Cambridge Corn Exchange. Gig doesn't go well

Autumn 1972 - Syd performs with Steve "Peragrine" Took

Summer 1973 - Syd performs at Cambridge poetry ready by Pete Brown

December 1973 - Moves into Flat 903 at Chelsea Cloisters in London

Spring 1974 - Roy Harper bumps into Syd in Oxford St. When asked where he is going, Syd replies "Further Than You Could Possibly Imagine"

Summer 1974 - Storm Thorgerson attempts to persuade Syd to have some photos taken to promote the Madcap Laughs/Barrett two-fer. Syd refuses to even open the door

August 1974 - Final Sessions At Abbey Road Studios. Syd is apparently still thin and long haired at this point

Autumn 1974 - Bernard White bumps into Syd in London

Late 1974/Early 1975 - Syd bumps into Duggie Fields at a London nightclub, according to Fields, Syd is "starting to get a bit heavy".

June 1975 - Syd shows up at Pink Floyd session, he has gained a lot of weight and has shaved all his hair off

Early 1977 - Sex Pistols visit Chelsea Cloisters in an attempt to get Syd to produce their first album. Syd doesn't answer the door.

Summer 1977 - Syd bumps into Gayla Pinion in a Chelsea supermarket. Upon visiting his flat, his behaviour makes her uncomfortable, and she leaves.

1978 - Syd leaves London and returns to Cambridge. A Photo of him from this time shows an overweight man, with cropped hair and a beard.

1979-1981 - Syd loses a lot of weight due to stomach ulcers, brought on by years of Mandrax use. He has reverted back to his real name of Roger by this point. He briefly has a job in a garden centre, but walks out during a thunderstorm. He also spends time in a sanatorium in Essex during this time.

Late 1981 - Moves back into Chelsea Cloisters for a short time, before moving back to Cambridge for good.

1982 - Is visited in Cambridge by 2 journalists. He is clearly uncomfortable, and soon makes excuses to end the interview.
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Post by zag »

dgsyd1 wrote: "Further Than You Could Possibly Imagine"
:lol: :lol: and so very true :lol: :lol: i like to think the madcap laughted :lol:
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Post by Tenniru »

Hey, it's quite possible that he was serious, not just confusedly stoned. I recall he did walk a lot (virtually all of the photos of him involve walking somewhere), and I recall reading he was able to make the distance between Cambridge and London on foot. It's possible he was doing one of those big walks, and felt like being psuedo-intimidating/funny/making a dig at Roy's relatively small walk endurance. I do that sometimes when someone I know sees me on one of my huge walks; "Where are you going?" "Oh, about TEN MILES that way. Nothing big."
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Post by J Ed »

Tenniru wrote:...he was able to make the distance between Cambridge and London on foot.
how far is that?
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EDIT: I worked it out, its about 80km
thatd take a couple days
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Post by Tenniru »

Assuming I'm not going senile, 50 miles. I've been able to make around twelve in six hours, so assuming he stopped at a hotel (he might have kept going through the night and sat on benches, which is admirable but dangerous; also, he CERTAINLY must have stopped for food).
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Post by zag »

Tenniru wrote:he CERTAINLY must have stopped for food).
mmm, porkchops :smt007