Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jugband Blues

Jugband Blues 2:58
     (written by Syd Barrett)

Lyrics:
It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here
And I'm most obliged to you for making it clear
That I'm not here
And I never knew the moon could be so big
And I never knew the moon could be so blue
And I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes
And brought me here instead dressed in red
And I'm wondering who could be writing this song


I don't care if the sun don't shine
And I don't care if nothing is mine
And I don't care if I'm nervous with you
I'll do my loving in the winter


And the sea isn't green
And I love the queen
And what exactly is a dream?
And what exactly is a joke?


Lead vocals: Syd Barrett
Acoustic and electric guitar: Syd Barrett

Jugband Blues was seemingly recorded in August of 1967, though some sources have indicated October; regardless, in order of recording for this album, it was second (after Remember a Day). Originally recorded for possible single release, it was supplanted by Apples and Oranges (in November 1967) when it was decided that the song was more album than single fare. This is the only song on the LP written by Syd.

Definitely a song from Syd's later period of creativity, Jugband Blues has no real cohesion, lyrically or musically. Each lyric line seems to be a non sequitur, making sense on its own but not in context of the song. And yet there is certainly a pronounced and powerful feel to the song, unsettling and intriguing at the same time.

Peter Jenner: "Y'see, even at that point, Syd actually knew what was happening to him. I mean Jugband
Blues is ultimate self-diagnosis on a state of schizophrenia."

A number of session musicians were brought in to help Syd execute his ideas for the song, most notably a Salvation Army brass band. They play the middle section of the song, first an orchestrated section and then a free-form section for which Syd told them, "Play what you want."1 There also appears to be a flute or piccolo player making an appearance, most noticeably at the beginning of the song.

One of the reasons Jugband Blues is unsettling is that it is a spectre: Syd had already been gone three months when the album was released, and his song, which seems so out of kilter with everything else on the album, gets the last word in from 'beyond the grave' as it were. Syd certainly wasn't dead, but his total withdrawal from the band and from communication with others almost gives this song the feeling of a suicide note.

TRACK LISTING
Let There Be More Light
Remember a Day
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Corporal Clegg
Saucerful of Secrets, A
See-Saw
Jugband Blues

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