eAr H e Ad'S Psy Che De lIc pRe LU D E !

fiRSt, the NaME gAMe!


Syd Syd Boo Bid,
Bananapana Fu Sid,

(where we visit the Wood, lose oUr Name,
and look for Someone who's been given it,
enabling us to go HOME)


in his 1996 Mojo article "Wish You Were Here,"

Cliff "Syd's Blind from Diabetes" Jones writes:

In 1961, 15-year-old Roger [Barrett] acquired his first electric guitar, found a steady girlfriend and began frequenting the local Riverside Jazz Club. The regulars noticed the handsome schoolboy who often sat by himself in a corner of the venue. Discovering his name was Barrett, they took to calling him Sid after ancient local drummer Sid Barrett. School friends heard about the nickname and adopted it too. When he became a semi-pro musician, playing with Geoff Mott And The Mottoes, a dance combo which gigged at Cambridge parties, he took the spelling "Syd" to distinguish himself from his namesake. [sic]



By [mid-teens] everyone apart from his family was calling Roger 'Syd' -- a nickname he had picked up at the Riverside Jazz Club which met in a local pub on Friday nights. The members, mainly trenchant jazz purists in their thirties and forties, were slightly taken aback by the appearance of this thoughtful schoolboy who seemed content to simply sit in a corner and watch them meander through their set.

One of the club's mainstays was an ancient drummer called Sid Barrett. It didn't take the jazzmen long to discover that 'Sid the Beat' had a namesake and they soon began referring to both the widely-differing Barretts as Sid, though, perhaps as a means of distinction, Roger's pseudonym was always spelt with a 'y'.

The nickname was quickly picked up by Roger's schoolmates, although he did not like it himself and rarely used it.

"Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett & the Dawn of Pink Floyd," Mike Watkinson and Pete Anderson, Omnibus Press, 1991; p. 19. ===============================================================

"This must be the wood," she said thoughtfully to herself, "where things have no names. I wonder what'll become of *my* name when I go in? I shouldn't like to lose it at all -- because they'd have to give me another, and it would be almost certain to be an ugly one. But then the fun would be trying to find the creature that had got my old name! ...just fancy calling everything you met 'Alice,' till one of them answered! Only they wouldn't answer at all, if they were wise."
"The Annotated Alice: the Definitive Edition", Lewis Carroll, Introduction and Notes by Martin Gardner, Norton, 2000; illustrated by John Tenniel; p. 176.


The Riverside Jazz Club was another weekly event at a nearby coffee house (whose name no one can seem to remember), where the teenagers climbed the narrow steps to get a taste of that hideous variant of jazz called 'trad'. It was here that Roger Barrett received his nickname. One of the regular performers was an ancient bass player called Sid 'The Beat' Barrett, who upon finding out that he shared a surname with the schoolboy, dubbed him Syd. 'Syd was just a nickname,' says Clive Welham, 'we all knew him as Roger Barrett at school.

Julian Palacios, "Lost in the Woods: Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd", Boxtree Press, 1998; p. 18.



Jazz fans nicknamed him Sid after drummer Sid Barrett, schoolfriends took it up and he changed the spelling.

Musicweb Encyclopaedia of Popular Music
[as of 032802 ]


hmM ... And C Ha r l e s (Dodgson) said:

"Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: *was* I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is "Who in the world am I?' Ah, *that's* the great puzzle!" And she began thinking over all the children she knew that were of the same age as herself, to see if she could have been changed for any of them.
depicting Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll,
Ibid., p. 22 .

PORT 2 :

Floyd an' der
Ol' Council Pinkersun

Pink, Pink bo Bink....

(in which we search for adventure
in backwaters and fens,
hear stories of strange visitors,
and revel in the secret mystery of it all)


-- Rat, The Wind in the Willows.

It is widely known by now that Syd Barrett, the band's first lead songwriter, named the band after one of his blues recordings out of Georgia Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.[sic]

JamBands.com Photo Page, by Janene Otten
[as of 3/28/02 ]

During that period we kept changing the name [of the band] until we ended up with the Pink Floyd. I'm not sure who suggested it or why, but it stuck.

Syd Barrett, 'Guitarist of the Month',
Beat Instrumental #57, October 1967


The Pink Floyd Sound name came from Syd after a blues record he owned which featured two bluesmen from Georgia, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The two names meshed nicely so....

Nick Kent, "The Cracked Ballad of Syd Barrett", New Musical Express, April 13th, 1974

howeVer! Ken said:
"What lies over *there*? asked the Mole, waving a paw towards a background of woodland that darkly framed the water-meadows on one side of the river.

That? O, that's just the Wild Wood," said the Rat shortly. "We don't go there much, we river-bankers."

"Aren't they -- aren't they *nice* people in there?" said the Mole a trifle nervously.

"W-e-ll," replied the Rat, "let me see. The squirrels are all right. *And* the rabbits -- some of 'em, but rabbits are a mixed lot. And there's Badger, of course. He lives in the heart of it; wouldn't live anywhere else, either, if you paid him to do it. Dear old Badger! Nobody interferes with *him*. They'd better not," he added significantly.

"Why, who *should* interfere with him?" asked the Mole.

Well, of course -- there -- are others," explained the Rat in a hesitating way. "Weasels -- and stoats -- and foxes -- and so on. They're all right in a way -- I'm very good friends with them -- pass the time of day when we meet, and all that -- but they break out sometimes, there's no denying it, and then -- well, you can't really trust them, and that's the fact.

The Mole knew well that it is quite against animal-ettiquette to dwell on possible trouble ahead, or even to allude to it; so he dropped the subject.

"And beyond the Wild Wood again?" he asked: "Where it's all blue and dim, and one sees what may be hills or perhaps they mayn't, and something like smoke of towns, or is it only cloud-drift?"

"Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World," said the Rat. And that's something that doesn't matter, either to you or me. I'm never going, nor you either, if you've got any sense at all. Don't ever refer to it again, please. Now then! Here's our backwater at last, where we're going to lunch."
"The Wind in the Willows", by Kenneth Grahame, Heritage Press, 1954; illustrated by Arthur Rackham; pp. 9-10.


A hardcore fan of rhythm and blues, he called the fledgling band Pink Floyd after two Georgia bluesmen, pink Anderson and Floyd Council, and proudly painted the new moniker on their banged-up old van in bright pink letters, though the band did little more than play pubs and parties for the next year and a half.

Pamela des Barres, "Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon", St. Martin's Press, 1996; p. 2 .

Mick Rock remembers one of Syd's flats as "a burnt-out place, the biggest hovel, the biggest shit-heap; a total acid-shell, the craziest flat in the world. There were so many people, it was like a railway station. Two cats Syd had, one called Pink and one called Floyd, were still living in the flat after he left. He just left them there. Those were the cats they used to give acid to."

Kris DiLorenzo, "Syd Barrett, Careening Through Life", Trouser Press, 1978.


Having added bassist Clive Metcalfe, the same act evolved into a variety of permutations - The T-Set, The (Screaming) Abdabs - each of which survived on a diet of de rigueur R&B. Metcalfe then left the line-up; Waters switched from guitar to bass, but while Juliet Gale (who later married Wright) was briefly a member, Bob Close took over the lead spot of the group which underwent a radical change when Roger invited Barrett to join. The latter's blend of mysticism, pop and hallucinogenics was at odds with Close's traditional outlook and the Abdabs imploded towards the end of 1965. Almost immediately Barrett, Waters, Wright, and Mason reconvened as The Pink Floyd Sound, a name Syd had coined from an album by Georgia blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Brian Hogg, Crazy Diamond Box Set Booklet, 1993.


Barrett (nicknamed 'Syd' due to his use of LSD) was the person who named the band, by merging his two admired blues heroes [sic], Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Moody Kriteman, An Interview on the Dark Side, November 1996.

After Close's departure, Barrett named the band the Pink Floyd Sound, after a blues record by Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Within a few years, the group shortened its name to Pink Floyd and began experimenting with psychedelic music, with long compositions mixing hard rock, blues, country, folk, classical and electronic sounds.

Frank Tortorici, " Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett", 2000.

When Bob Close left the band, Syd renamed the group The Pink Floyd Sound, named after the cover of an album of two american bluesmen, Pink Anderson, and Floyd Council.

Patrick Gross, " A Short Syd Barrett Biography"



When the suits of the record industry began to see profit potential in our young heroes, they were ill prepared for the enigmatic moniker 'Pink Floyd'. "Ok, which one of you guys is Pink?" asked the besuited gravy train engineer, with a certain look in the eye and an easy smile.

After some embarrassed umming and ahhing it was probably explained that there was no real Pink, that it was just the name of the band. But as the question persisted, so did it find its place among the lyrics of 'Have A Cigar'.

Miles' Visual Documentary introduces most fans to Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. We were invited to believe that the name "appeared to [Syd] in a vision", although Miles continues: "Actually, it is taken from the Georgia bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council who Syd had a record of.'


Barrett biography Crazy Diamond provides a more detailed account; Syd had travelled to Cambridge from London, looking for a front man for his band, Leonard's Lodgers. The trip 'failed to unearth a singer, but he did return with a new name for the band.' As he patiently explained to Bob Klose, he had a couple of records by two grizzled Georgia bluesmen named Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. How about putting the two names together?


'Later he would often claim that the peculiar name was transmitted to him from an overhead flying saucer.' Nicholas Schaffner's Saucerful of Secrets refers briefly to the two 'Georgia bluesmen', adding only the years of their births and deaths.

[from elsewhere on the same site]

Note that while all of the Pink Floyd books refer to Pink [Anderson] as a Georgia bluesman - possibly because his early recordings were cut in Atlanta - he is in fact a son of Carolina. Furthermore, his singing is said to characterize a style associated with the red clay hills of the western Carolinas. One of his album covers states: 'A singer from the flat glare of the sun on the Mississippi Delta seems to shout his anger and his pain, while a singer from the Carolinas seems to sing with a melancholy shrug...' His singing is said to be comparable to Blind Boy Fuller, a more well known Carolina singer.

Floyd Council was born on the 2 nd of September 1911 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- again, not Georgia....

[from elsewhere on the same site]

His final recordings, made in August 1970, did not, apparently, merit release. Older musicians in Orange County, North Carolina nonetheless remember Floyd as one of the area's best guitarists.

[and again elsewhere same web site]

I can find no evidence that Pink and Floyd ever recorded together, met, or even heard of each other.

Nor does it appear they ever shared the same vinyl, such as a compilation. I conclude that the pairing of these names was totally random.

Ken Langford, "Which One is Really Pink?"; originally in 'Amazing Pudding', 1993; and in the rerelease of Bruno McDonalds' "Pink Floyd: Through the Eyes of the Band, their Friends....". (n.d.); discovered at "The Real Pink Floyd Website, constructed by Alexander Ahlstrand, located at http://www.therealfloyd.cjb.net/.
[version 9/2 001]


The Rush


After spending most of their grant money on instruments and equipment, Waters, Wright and Mason formed a succession of bands, with various other artists. The line ups changed on a semi-regular basis, as did the names. Some of these were strange sounding, fanciful names like: Sigma 6; T-Set; the Meggadeaths; The Architectural Abdabs; The Screaming Abdabs; the owner of the flat, Mike Leonard even got a mention with Leonard's Lodgers.

Eventually Barrett, Waters, Wright, and Mason formed a group, which Syd suggested they call the Pink Floyd. The name is said to have come from a couple records in Syd's collection, two American blues musicians called Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. This name was to change quite often, from 'Pink Floyd' to 'The Pink Floyd' to 'The Pink Floyd Sound' and eventually back again. The name may have been changing however they were begining to make a name for themselves.....

"toker_smurf", "My Syd Barrett Home Page"
[Biography/A-Syd Trip] [undated, obtained 12 /2 001]

WONDERFUL GUITAR. March 31, 2 001

[Amazon.com] Reviewer: Mr. B.TUTT from LONDON UK.

This ["Gospel, Blues and Street Blues: Rev. Gary Davis and Pink Anderson"] is an important album by two of the key musicians in the Piedmont blues guitar style.

Pink Anderson is best known for the three excellent Bluesville albums he recorded in 1961. Apart from four tracks in 192 8 with Simmie Dooley, the only other recordings Anderson made prior to then are the first seven tracks of this CD, recorded in May 1950 by Paul Clayton, who came across Anderson playing in a medicine show in Charlottesville, Virginia. Anderson is in peak form here, stronger than in 1961, playing fine slide guitar on "John Henry", singing the blues "Every Day of the Week", and comic songs such as "I've Got Mine" and "He's In the Jailhouse Now". Great entertainment.

Gary Davis was a virtuoso guitarist in the Piedmont style who abandoned blues in the mid 1930s in favour of evangelical gospel songs, which he performed with great fervour in a voice that could be heard above heavy traffic and with superbly dynamic guitar accompaniment. These performances, from 1956, find him in electrifying form. He recorded many of these pieces again in the 1960s for Bluesville and others, but this session is hard to beat.

Strongly recommended.



Floyd Council

Floyd Council was born September 2 nd 1911 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He began his career playing in the streets of Chapel Hill in the mid-2 0s with the brothers Leo and Thomas Strowd.

January 1937 the ACR Records talent scout John Baxter Long heard Floyd play in the streets of Chapel Hill and invited him for recordings in New York, to work together with Blind Boy Fuller. Floyd played second guitar at these recordings. His solo tracks were later released as "Blind Boy Fuller's buddy".

In an interview in 1969 Floyd remembered to have recorded 2 7 titles. Documented tracks are: six as soloist, seven supporting Fuller, two unreleased with Sonny Terry from December 1937 and three more, also unreleased later in his career.

Floyd played around Chapel Hill in the 1940s and 1950s, either together with Thomas Strowd or alone, in country clubs and at the local radio station. Floyd slowed and stopped playing owing to an illness. In the late 1960s, a stroke partially paralysed his throat muscles and slowed his motor skills.

Floyd moved to Sanford, North Carolina, where he died in June 1976. His final recordings, made in August 1970, have not been released. Older musicians around Orange County, North Carolina, remember Floyd as the best guitarist of that area.

Ruben Schänefeld, 2 6.05.2 001

from http://hem.passagen.se/evilclown/pinkfloyd/FC.htm The 'Real' Pink Floyd Webpage
by Alexander Ahlstrand


"During that period we kept changing the name until we ended up with the Pink Floyd," said Barrett. "I'm not sure who suggested it or why, but it stuck." Though Barrett offered many explanations for the origin of the band's name, most of them fanciful exaggerations or witty lies, even denying naming the band, he is generally acknowledged to have been the one to have picked up a Blind Boy Fuller LP and picked off at random two surnames of old Delta bluesmen from the liner notes. This fits with his creative style, drawing on whatever was at hand to make something uniquely his own. "So the Pink Floyd was first formed," said Rick Wright, "although we changed the name and returned to it as we went along."

Julian Palacios, "Lost in the Woods: Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd", Macmillan:Boxtree Pub., 1998; pp. 40-1.

ah HA!!*SURnames*?



is the following a transcription of the recording that catalyzed the eventual selection of the name, ((the) Pink Floyd) (Sound)? (theory courtesy of my wife, sri catyananda, pre-war blues fanatic):

SPOKEN: I first heard this from [uh,] 'Ric von Schmidt. He lives in Cambridge, 'Ric's a blues guitar player, I met him one day on the green pastures of Harvard University.

Baby, let me follow you down,
Baby, let me follow you down,
Well, I'll do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down.

Can I come home with you,
Baby, can I come home with you?
Yes, I'd do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me come home with you.

Baby, let me follow you down,
Baby, let me follow you down,
Well, I'll do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down,
yes, I'll do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down. ------------------------------------------

"Baby, Let Me Follow You Down",
[original by Blind Boy Fuller?,
 covered by Eric Von Schmidt?,
 covered by Bob Dylan, Nov 2 0, 1961?
 the above transcribed by Manfred Helfert
 restructured by EarhEad for this presentation.]


suppose our boy Roger 'Syd the Beat' Barrett followed out the Von Schmidt and Fuller references and had himself a Fuller LP at his home. the next quest becomes locating these supposed liner notes...

Witness the strange case of "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down," a song that Bob Dylan included on his {1962 } debut album on Columbia Records....

Dylan came to [Eric] Von Schmidt's home one evening in 1960 to jam, when Eric performed for him a version of "Baby Let Me Lay It On You," which he thought was "a Blind Boy Fuller song that I had learned from another white guy, Geno Foreman."

The song later ended up on Dylan's debut album as "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down." The chords Dylan used on his song, Von Schmidt also believed, came from a Dave Van Ronk song.

The way I played it was as close as I could get to Geno Foreman's version, which I assumed was Blind Boy Fuller, but I never heard him play this thing.

In any case, what Dylan ended up playing on the album "was not what he heard from me," Von Schmidt noted. "There is a long history to who indeed wrote this song and who has what part of the copyright," he adds.


Von Schmidt pointed out that listeners often misunderstood Dylan's spoken introduction:

What Dylan said is not that 'I learned this song from Eric Von Schmidt,' it's that he 'first heard' it from me. But that was confusing enough to the Columbia people when they made the record. They indeed listed me (in 1962 ) as the author on the record's stamp, which is about as close you can {get} if you are going to launch a lawsuit.

What finally broke the whole thing to some kind of completion {is} when {film director Martin} Scorcese did The Last Waltz, in which Dylan performed 'Baby, Let Me Follow You Down.' ...

What finally happened was that Manny Greenhill, who had been my manager back in the folkie days, also managed Gary Davis. He sat Gary down and asked. 'What songs did you write?' Aside from the 'Star Spangled Banner' and maybe 'Moonlight Becomes You,' it was every song that anybody heard of, Gary Davis wrote. One of them was 'Baby, Let Me Follow You Down.'" I got this wonderful letter back [from Columbia] ... that said: 'You're quite right Eric, you have no rights to this song' .... They didn't know who did have rights to it, but they knew I didn't have rights to it. That was that. I never got a dime.

Von Schmidt once heard Davis play the song, and it was close enough for him to believe that he was its author....

After Dylan's second album ..., Columbia wrote a letter to Von Schmidt, informing him that from that time on, Dylan and he would share the composition of "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down."

"So I wrote back, 'If indeed Dylan and I are co-authors of this thing, why are you starting to pay me now, instead of when the record first came out?" But in my letter back, I was scrupulously honest, when I heard the song, that I though it was a Blind Boy Fuller song, that I changed it a little bit, and Dylan had changed it a little bit....

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down:

Eric Von Schmidt's Story
[[original article notes]]/[earhead]/{Rudi Schmid}

So oF CourSE I AsKEed Sri sri catyananda!! SHE said:
Roger Keith Barrett, born in 1946, grew up as an r'n'b and rural blues fan and he also hung out with jazz and skiffle people in the early 1960s. He bought records by Dave Van Ronk and Bob Dylan as well (we will return to them in a moment). He was supposedly given the nickname "Syd" by a local Trad jazz drummer named Sid "The Beat" Barrett, to whom he was not related, but whom he admired. The variant spellings of Sid and Syd were supposedly deliberate.

During the early phases of Pink Floyd's success, when the band was known as "The Pink Floyd Sound" Barrett told people (including some of the band's members) that the band's name was chosen by combining the names of Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. This makes sense, as Barrett liked pre-war blues (he even wrote a song called "Jugband Blues") -- and yet ... and yet it does NOT make sense. Here's why:

Pink Anderson was fairly well known in the early 1960s and he was to be found on an LP which also featured Rev. Gary Davis -- "Gospel, Blues and Street Blues: Rev. Gary Davis and Pink Anderson" for which the only discographical information eArHeAd! has turned up is "Riverside Record OBC-524 (RPL-148), 1987" [sic, got it from amazon.com!] -- which sounds like a reissue of the LP.


Could someone supply the actual, original discographical information for the Gary Davis / Pink Anderson Riverside LP, and the date of issue?


[NOTE: in the pre-war-blues yahoogroup, on 2 6 Feb 2 002 , Paul Garon said:

I have it as RLP (not RPL) 148, Gospel Blues and Street Songs: Rev. Gary Davis and Pink Anderson. Anderson recorded by Paul Clayton, May 2 9, 1950; Davis recorded by Kenneth Goldstein, Jan 2 9, 1956. Remastered 1961. This info is from the liner notes and the remastering date may be as close as we can get to a release date. ------------------------------------- Paul Garon beasley@beasleybooks.comSPAM ]

Next, we have a strange little circuitous lead. Most authors who have written about Barrett and the Pink Floyd are quite ill-informed about Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. [see the above for justification!]

Why "Georgia" keeps being mentioned in connection with Pink Anderson and Floyd Council is beyond me -- but apparently Nick Kent originated the error in 1974 (perhaps because Council recorded in Atlanta?) and it has been faithfully copied by one Barrett biographer after another. Also, the idea that the men appeared on one record is copied from bio to bio. So much for primary research! :-)

Julian Palacios, in his Syd Barrett biography, "Lost in the Woods," departs from this lock-step comedy of confusion. [see above for the particular quote]

Which brings us to Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk: Why would the son of a University medical pathologist in Cambridge be out scouting for Blind Boy Fuller LPs, anyway?

Because, it seems, he had been impressed by the music of Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk.

Barrett's affection for the music of Dylan is well documented. (For instance, among Barrett's last, unreleased recordings there is a fragmentary song called "Bob Dylan Blues" which is more or less a schizophrenic rambling, not a song. [see the lyrics.]

On Dylan's first LP, Dylan sings a garbled-up version of a Blind Boy Fuller song called "Baby Let Me Lay It On You," the infamous "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," with its strangely mumbled intro [check it out above, if you haven't read it yet!]. Note the reference to Cambridge, sure to prick up the British Cambridge- dweller's ears.

Barrett also told many people that he liked Dave Van Ronk's music, a fact dutifully noted by all his biographers. And Van Ronk also recorded the Blind Boy Fuller song.


Was there a Blind Boy Fuller reissue on LP prior to 1965 that mentions both Pink Anderson and Floyd Council in the liner notes and, if so, might someone be kind enough to transcribe the relevant portion and supply discographical information? Also, does the word "sound" as in "the Piedmont sound" appear in these liner notes?

Dave Moore of the pre-war-blues yahoogroup
dave@dmoore.SPAMswinternet.co.uk) writes:

The LP in question is

Blind Boy Fuller: Country Blues 1935-1940

issued on Philips BBL-7512 , c. 1962 . The sleeve notes were by Paul Oliver, and include the following:

Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, in Kentucky or Tennessee, Pink Anderson or Floyd Council -- these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys.


No, I can't see "the Piedmont sound" in the notes.

Incidentally, the complete sleeve note to that Blind Boy Fuller LP is reprinted in

"Blues Off The Record" by Paul Oliver, (The Baton Press, 1984)

under the title "Piccolo Rag" (pp.95-98). Paul Oliver gives the date as 1962 at the end of this reprint.

The book is a valuable collection of Paul Oliver's sleeve notes and other articles on the blues, and is still available -- Red Lick, in the UK, are currently selling it in hardback for 3 pounds.]

Pink was from South Carolina...as far as I know.

Gaile Gaile, pre-war-blues list

Not only did "Dipper Boy" Council record in Atlanta, so did Pink Anderson and Simmie Dooley.

Andy Cohen from pre-war-blues

So now i feel that, thanks to y'all, we can say with reasonable certainty why the names Pink and Floyd popped out at Syd: it was not the music of Anderson and Council (which he may never have heard) that inspired him, but rather the writing of Paul Oliver (!) that led him to name the band Pink FLoyd -- and he may not have ever found the Paul Oliver mention of wooded streamland had he not heard Bob Dylan mention both Cambridge and "green pastures" in an intro to the Blind Boy Fuller song. In other words, Syd Barrett was following a stream of nature-references that adhered to the pre-war blues themselves.
catherine yronwode (http://www.luckymojo.com/cat.html)
pre-war-blues-Barrettwor(l)d-bridge and
world's greatest detective (tm)

thank you, sri SRI! catyananda!

and More fun to come!!!

LyRiCAl CHaRaCTeR ReflECtIon

Along with John Lennon, Roger 'Syd' Barrett created psychedelic music. The English version of psychedelia, as opposed to the strain found in San Francisco, was a melange of indigenous folk, traces of 1940s pop, vestiges of the blues and Mod boom of the preceding years, informed by the anarchic wail of free jazz, and a strong dose of the peculiarly English fantastical storytelling of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland', Edward Lear, J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' and 'The Wind in the Willows'. No one captured the ethos of this better than Syd Barrett.

Gian Palacios, " Beyond the Wildwood with Brother Syd", (originally published in Jakarta Program Magazine, September, 1994; hereafter 'Wildwood').

It was Dylan's and Kerouac's influence that led songwriters to tentatively branch out into personal narrative. The Beatles' 1964 'I'm a Loser' was Lennon's first stab at autobiographical lyrics, paving the way for 'Norwegian Wood' and 'Help!' in 1965, both of which were fiercely personal breakthroughs in songwriting. Barrett didn't like to use overtly autobiographical narrative, preferring to assume the guise of a storyteller. Dylan's primary influence on Barrett was in pointing the way to densely poetic images, often abstract, freed from the rhyming verse of his childhood's books.

[quoting Gilmour:] "...[Syd] was a frightening talent when it came to words, and lyrics. They just used to pour out." Roger Waters also affirmed that Syd displayed "an incredible way with words".

"Lost in the Woods", p. 2 3.

How important are lyrics to you?

S.B.: Very important. I think it's good if a song has more than one meaning. Maybe that kind of song can reach far more people, that's nice. On the other hand I like songs that are simple, I liked "Arnold Layne" because to me it was a very clear song.

Interview with Syd by Giovanni Dadomo, 1971.

What makes Barrett such a compelling songwriter lies in his accurate portrayal of childhood, alternately turbulent and exhilarating, fearful and promising. Syd's songs were tinged with a hint of foreboding, as childhood truly is; the idealised vision of childhood comes with hindsight.

"Lost in the Woods", pp. 3-4.

Syd was one of the first people to get hits with poetry-type lyrics. The first time I heard 'Arnold Layne' I thought 'Fucking hell!' It was the first truly English song about English life with a tremendous lyric. It certainly unlocked doors and made things possible that up to that point no one thought were.

Pete Brown, quoted in Crazy Diamond by Mike Watkinson and Pete Anderson, Omnibus, 1991; p. 53.

[Norman] Smith first saw Pink Floyd perform at UFO in the company of their publisher Bryan Morrison. "I didn't have a clue what Syd's songs were about and I suspect the other band members didn't either," he says. "But the amount of press coverage they were receiving helped sway me to decide EMI should have them."

Crazy Diamond; p. 64.


Syd's songs contained warnings from the beginning: he dealt with instability and the primal need for comfort via authority's fairytales ("Matilda Mother"), the desire for control of a situation and the outsider/observer role ("Flaming"). The lyrics of "Jugband Blues" (on Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets) also spelled out some of his conflicts. By the time of The Madcap Laughs and Barrett, Syd's songs clearly revealed raw spots in his psyche amid the poetically jumbled voodoo of his writing.

DiLorenzo, " Ibid.", 1978.

Peter Jenner said, "Syd was the most creative person I've ever known. It was extraordinary, in those few months at Earlham Street he wrote nearly all his songs for the Floyd and the solo albums. It was all very casual, done off the top of the head. No tortured genius sweating through his pain, as far as I could see."

"Lost in the Woods", p. 77.

[Barrett's] lyrics were original and inventive and far removed from the standard love and sex themes of his time.

Crazy Diamond, p. 144.

"I did tend to take lines from other things," said Syd, "lines I liked, and then wrote around them ... It was just writing good songs that mattered, really."

"Lost in the Woods", p. 16.

Barrett's songwriting genius was original and extremist as well. His singing was highly stylized; obscure chanting vocals, high-tension verses and explosive choruses alternating with deadpan storytelling and hypnotic drawls. He utilized fairytale technique, surrealistic juxtaposition of psychedelic detail and plain fact, childhood experience and adult confusion. Like the Beatles, Barrett combined dream imagery and irony with simple, direct tunes, strong, catchy melodic hooks with nonsense rhymes and wandering verses that sound like nothing so much as what goes on inside people's heads when their minds are running aimlessly.

Although some of Barrett's songs seem to be straightforward stories, one always discovers a twist: multiple meanings to a line that belie the childlike wonder of the words ("Gnome"), innocuous lyrics devastatingly undermined with a questing guitar or unlikely special effects ("Scarecrow," "Jugband Blues"). Certainly psychedelia asserted its influence on Barrett's writing; there are descriptions and perceptions one can attribute only to drugs or hallucinatory schizophrenia, but others are strictly the products of his unaffected imagination.

DiLorenzo, " Ibid.", 1978.

Dave Gale notes, "1967 was the year of Syd's strongest compositions. Syd's music was very different from what became the later Floyd's music. It's not anthemic, dirge-like, or protracted. His most emotional compositions were bouncy, jolly, quirky melodies with absurdist, amusing lyrics."

"Lost in the Woods", p. 103-4.

LyRic$, LyriC ShEEts, BoOKs, LITTlE bLack bOOks, Etc.!

By 1963, inspired by The Beatles, Syd was writing his own lyrics, storing them in a ring-binder marked "Roger's songs". His early attempts often amounted to little more than snatched ideas, single verses with a simple melody over a few guitar chords, but he gradually developed a strong style: catchy tunes and humorous rhymes inspired by his love of Edward Lear, English folk balladry and the storytelling tradition of the American Delta bluesmen....

Nearly all the songs Pink Floyd recorded with Syd Barrett were written over the six month period before they turned professional in January 1967. Peter Wynnne-Wilson remembers this as Syd's creative peak. "Those were halcyon days. He'd sit around [the flat in Earlham Street] with copious amounts of hash and grass and write these incredible songs. There's no doubt they were crafted very carefully and deliberately."...

"Anything that fell within his orbit would end up recycled into something else," says Peter Jenner. "It would get written down or tucked away in his folder of lyrics and then reappear in a song a week later." One particular influence was a book of French symbolist poetry. As Andrew King points ous, "Many of [Syd's] songs actually had the slightly dislocated metre of poetry in translation.

C. Jones, "Ibid.", 1996.

Syd returned from the [busking holiday in the South of France with David Gilmour] refreshed and full of ideas, a budding guitarist carrying a notebook crammed with potential lyrics.

C. Jones, "Ibid.", 1996.

Syd to Mick Rock:

"'I'll show you a book of all my songs before you go. I think it's so exciting. I'm glad you're here.' He produces a folder containing all his recorded songs to date, neatly typed, with no music. Most of them stand alone as written pieces. Sometimes simple, lyrical, though never without some touch of irony. Sometimes surreal, images weaving dreamily, echoes of a mindscape that defies traditional analysis."

-- Mick Rock, "The Madcap Who Named Pink Floyd", Rolling Stone Magazine, December 1971.


[quoting Peter Jenner]

"The strongest image I have of Syd is of him sitting in his flat with a guitar and his book of songs, which he represented by paintings with different coloured circles. You'd go 'round to Syd's and you'd see him write a song. It just poured out. ... He wrote all his songs, including the ones on his solo LP's, in an eighteen month period....

"Syd was an exceptional figure, far and away the most important in the band. He wrote the songs, he was the singer, he played most of the solos, he was the lead guitarist, it was his band. He was much the most interesting, much the most creative: the others were just students. I always think that it's really important that Syd was an artist whereas the other two were architects, and that really showed in the music. Syd did this wild, impossible drawing and they turned it into the Pink Floyd. Syd was a good artist too. And it was a time when you just expressed yourself away -- if you were good at painting then you could be good at writing songs. Why not?"

Gian Palacios, " Ibid.", 1994.

...during one of his short visits to London that summer, the perservering Pete Jenner whisked him into Abbey Road Studios for another crack at the third album. One Jenner associate described the exercise as an abortion as Syd repeatedly overdubbed guitar part on guitar part creating a chaotic wall of noise. "He also wouldn't show anyone his lyrics, I fear, because he hadn't actually written any."

Crazy Diamond, pp. 110-1.

This April 17th session was the first that we did in Studio Two instead of Studio Three. Whereas the April 11th session had been mainly voice and guitar tracks, with no backings, this one was to employ Jerry Shirley and John 'Willie' Wilson (who also lived in Earls Court!). The greater scope afforded by the 8 track machine in No. 2 (Studio three was 4 track) would allow us to do more overdubs if necessary, particularly on 'No Man's Land'. No. 2 also had a much better drum sound (it is a larger studio) and it isn't hard to tell that Jerry Shirley plays extremely loudly in the studio, especially on 'Here I Go'. Compare the drum sound on this to Ringo's Beatles work of the time. They are very similar. 'Here I Go', the second song of the session, was also the 51 lines more (you've seen 66%) Message 1/1 From EArHEAd! Page 5 'Here I Go', the second song of the session, was also the second 'old-tymey' song Syd did on the album -- that is using a music hall style chord structure. With its unusual introduction and overall theme, it shows Syd at his relaxed best. He wrote it, I seem to remember, in a matter of minutes. [MJones note:] *(1) Syd nearly always had his lyrics in front of him on a stand, in case of the occasional lapse of memory. This song was the only one I remember him needing no cue sheet at all.* The whole recording was done absolutely 'live', with no overdubs at all. Syd changed from playing rhythm to lead guitar at the very end, and the change is noticeable. (Syd, however, would change like that often. Whereas it was accepted practice to record, say, the rhythm guitar 33 lines more (you've seen 78%) Message 1/1 From EArHEAd! Page 6 was accepted practice to record, say, the rhythm guitar for the whole duration of the song and then to go back later and overdub the solo. To Syd this was an unnecessary procedure! He'd mix them together. That accounts for the 'drop' during the solo, as Syd's rhythm guitar is no longer there!) The whole session lasted for just three hours (in the afternoon).
-- Malcolm Jones, "The Making of The Madcap Laughs"

Floyd biographer Miles described how the proceedings degenerated into a grim charade: "When everything seemed in order they began. Syd had asked someone to type his lyrics to his new songs for him. This they had done using the red ribbon of the typewriter. When the sheet was handed to Syd he thought it was a bill, grabbed the guy's hand and tried to bite his fingers off.

Crazy Diamond, p. 116.





copyright authors cited and nagasiva and catherine yronwode 2002
VERSION 030228 -- graphics collected surfing internet, except for
"SYD THE BEET" and "VEGETABLE MAN", which were created by eArHeAd!