Jugband Blues

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Jugband Blues"
Song by Pink Floyd from the album A Saucerful of Secrets
Published Magdalene Music
Released 29 June 1968 (UK)
27 July 1968 (US)
Recorded 19 October 1967 at De Lane Lea Studios, London
Genre Psychedelic folk
Length 3:01
Label EMI Columbia (UK)
Tower (US)
Writer Syd Barrett
Producer Norman Smith
A Saucerful of Secrets track listing
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd track listing

"Jugband Blues" is a song by the English psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd, and is featured on their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, released in 1968.[1][2] Written by Syd Barrett, it was his sole compositional contribution to the album, as well as his last published for the band. Barrett and Pink Floyd's management wanted the song to be released as a single, but were vetoed by the rest of the band and producer Norman Smith. "Jugband Blues" is directed towards anyone within Barrett's proximity.[3] A video was filmed for the song for the Central Office of Information.

Background and recording[edit]

"Jugband Blues" was written around the same time as "Vegetable Man".[4] Both songs contain the same cynical humour, but while on "Vegetable Man" Barrett focuses his humour on himself, on "Jugband Blues" it is directed towards those around him.[3] "Jugband Blues" was recorded on 19 October 1967 at De Lane Lea Studios.[5] Barrett wanted a Salvation Army band to play on the track.[4] He told them he wanted them to simply "play whatever they want" regardless of the rest of the group,[4] while Norman Smith insisted on recorded parts.[3] Eventually both versions were recorded and used.[5] About The Salvation Army, band manager Andrew King said that Barrett "wanted a massive Salvation Army freak-out, but that's the only time I can remember Norman [Smith] putting his foot down."[5] The song features a distinctive three-tiered structure: starting off in 3/4 meter, then into 2/4 and finishing off in 4/4.[6]

Video[edit]

The promotional video for the song was filmed in December 1967,[7] for the Central Office of Information in London.[8] The video was supposed to be about Britain, and was meant to be distributed in the US and Canada.[9] The video features Barrett (shown with an acoustic guitar for the first time) and the group miming to the song in a more conventional stage setting, with psychedelic projections in the background.[6] The original audio to the promo is lost, and most versions use the BBC recording from late 1967,[nb 1] consequently causing sync issues most evident as Barrett sings the opening verse.[8] Barrett and Waters first watched the promo video during the second week of December 1967.[11]

Legacy[edit]

Barrett,[4] along with Pink Floyd's managers, Peter Jenner and King, wanted to release the song as a single in the new year,[11] before being vetoed by both the band and Norman Smith.[5] Jenner said that "Jugband Blues", along with two others that he wrote around this time, ("Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegetable Man") were "amazing songs."[12] When compared to "Bike" and "The Scarecrow", Jenner said "You think, 'Well, OK, those are all right, but these are powerful disturbing art.' I wouldn't want anyone to have to go as mad and disturbed as Syd did to get that, but if you are going to go that disturbed give me something like that. That's great art."[12] Jenner had also called "Jugband Blues" "an extraordinary song, the ultimate self-diagnosis on a state of schizophrenia, [and] the portrait of a nervous breakdown."[12][13]

Barrett, by the beginning of the recording sessions for A Saucerful of Secrets, was already shrinking into a delirious state of mind, exacerbated by his feelings of alienation from the rest of the band.[14] The common interpretation of the lyrics is that they reflect his schizophrenia[4] and it has been argued that they could also be read as a criticism of the other band members for forcing him out.[3] King said of the song: "The most alienated, extraordinary lyrics. It's not addressed to the band, it's addressed to the whole world. He was completely cut off."[5] Jenner said "I think every psychiatrist should be made to listen to those songs ["Jugband Blues", "Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegetable Man"]. I think they should be part of the curriculum of every medical college along with those Van Gogh paintings like The Crows."[12]

"Jugband Blues" is one of two songs (the other being "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun") from A Saucerful of Secrets that were later included on the compilation album Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.[9] The song was followed on the compilation by "Wish You Were Here", a song written by the rest of the band in 1975 in tribute to Barrett.[15] The band Opal released a cover of the song on the Barrett tribute album Beyond the Wildwood in 1987.[16]

Personnel[edit]

with:

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ The band recorded a performance on 20 December 1967, broadcast on the 31st, for BBC Radio's Top Gear, presented by John Peel and Tommy Vance.[10] The version of "Jugband Blues" recorded here, differs from the Saucerful version: The radio version features harmonies in the final section, Wright using a church sound-alike organ, and the band loses The Salvation Army but retains the kazoo.[8]
Citations
  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5. 
  2. ^ Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X. 
  3. ^ a b c d Chapman, Rob (2010). "His Head Did No Thinking: His Arms Didn't Move". Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Schaffner, Nicholas (2005). "The Thin Ice". Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey (New ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 112. ISBN 1-905139-09-8. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Manning, Toby (2006). "The Underground". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 41. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  6. ^ a b Palacios, Julian (2010). "Vegetable Man". Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. p. 286. ISBN 0-85965-431-1. 
  7. ^ Chapman, Rob (2010). "His Head Did No Thinking: His Arms Didn't Move". Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2. 
  8. ^ a b c Chapman, Rob (2010). "His Head Did No Thinking: His Arms Didn't Move". Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2. 
  9. ^ a b Manning, Toby (2006). "Floyd's Finest 50". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 187. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  10. ^ Chapman, Rob (2010). "His Head Did No Thinking: His Arms Didn't Move". Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. pp. 205–206. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2. 
  11. ^ a b Palacios, Julian (2010). "Vegetable Man". Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. p. 305. ISBN 0-85965-431-1. 
  12. ^ a b c d Chapman, Rob (2010). "His Head Did No Thinking: His Arms Didn't Move". Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2. 
  13. ^ Palacios, Julian (1998). "The River Bank (1946–1965)". Lost in the Woods: Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Boxtree. p. 4. ISBN 0-7522-2328-3. 
  14. ^ Chapman, Rob (2010). "His Head Did No Thinking: His Arms Didn't Move". Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2. 
  15. ^ Schaffner, Nicholas (2005). "Prologue – Wish You Were Here". Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey (New ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 18. ISBN 1-905139-09-8. 
  16. ^ Schaffner, Nicholas (2005). "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey (New ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 133. ISBN 1-905139-09-8.