Rare Syd Barrett 1972 Recording Auction
Auction house Bonhams in London have a very interesting piece up for grabs if you have a spare £2500-£3500! It is a very rare reel-to-reel recording of a Syd Barrett performance at the Corn Exchange on 27th January 1972!
Lot No: 212
Footnote:This was recorded at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge on 27th January 1972, at a concert featuring Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and a scratch band with Syd Barrett. Other musicians in the Last Minute Put Together Boogie band included Fred Frith (Henry Cow) on guitar and Twink (Pink Fairies) on drums.
A statement of provenance from Gary Lucas, founder of Spaceward Studios, accompanies the tape. He recorded the concert after a chance meeting in the street with the promoter, Steve Brink, who gave permission for a copy to be kept. It is possible that the tape offered here is the master but this cannot be proven.
The concert was recorded on a 1/4inch Revox machine at 7 1/2ips, using a stereo microphone across the stage for drums/backline, with some of the front-of-house PA sound mixed in.
The Boogie Band play five tracks before being joined on stage by Syd for a further three. Given the somewhat less than ideal conditions in the hall and the haste with which the recording was arranged, the audio quality is reasonable and it has been reported that preliminary enquiries as to the possibility of the recording being released have been made.
An entry from the Spacewood Studios news page about the recording…
The recording of the concert was organised at the last minute and the equipment was poor as all that was available was a rather poor mixer so we just stuck a stereo mic pair across the stage for drums/backline and mixed in some PA mix for front. We were positioned on the top of a sort of cloakroom arrangement in a corner near the stage (in about an inch of thick dust) but had a bad view of the stage from the equipment area due to columns in the building. I spent most of my time with headphones at the troublesome mixer so saw little.
The whole affair was a shambles with a fight breaking out around the stage at one point destroying at least one of the mics. I was pretty naive at the time and can not say I saw Syd Barret but everyone was saying he was there. There were a number of rambling untogether acts and I am pretty convinced that the Syd Barret All Stars was mentioned at the time, as well as “The last minute put together boogie band”.
Recording was onto a 1/4track Revox at 7&1/2 ips (all we had then) and I do recall listening to it after the gig over the next months. Because we changed all our recording equipment quickly to 1/2track (standard professional format) the old 1/4 track tapes couldn’t then be listened to. I recall vaguely that it existed for some time but later attempts to find it failed, e.g. when Robyn Hitchcock spent a day (around 1980) checking all the tapes in our library at Victoria Street.
It is possible that the tape was placed with a whole collection of 1/4 track tapes that Gary Lucas had at the time (it was his Revox) and I am trying to find out if he has any knowledge of these. I’ve lost touch with him in the last few years since he moved away from Cambridge but I think I can track him down again.
Mike Kemp, engineer
Source [ Bonhams ]