Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pow R. Toc H.

Pow R. Toc H. 4:23
     (written by Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason)


Vocalizations: Roger Waters, Syd Barrett

One of the songs recorded on 15 April, and one of the first group compositions. Skilled usage of sound effects reminiscent of various bizarre animals gives the impression of some unearthly jungle (in fact, the piece was retitled The Pink Jungle for its inclusion in The Journey song cycle two years later). In addition, the group slips in and out of a bassy, funky groove highlighting a 'jam' feel to the piece, and improvisational sections à la Interstellar Overdrive.

This song had been and continued to be a piece that was frequently played live through 1969. The title has commonly been interpreted to mean 'power touch,' as it lacks only one letter in each word; however, more drug-oriented listeners have interpreted it as 'power toke.'

(In a possibly unrelated bit of trivia, Toc H. is the name applied to 'an interdenominational Christian fellowship of men and women which seeks to promote an understanding of the meaning and purpose of life through unreserved involvement in the community.' Founded in 1915, it started its work in a soldiers' club at Talbot House, Flanders; Toc H was the army signallers' designation of the initials TH.23.)

Astronomy Domine
Lucifer Sam
Matilda Mother
Pow R. Toc H.
Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk
Interstellar Overdrive
Gnome, The
Chapter 24
Scarecrow, The


  1. It's worth bearing in mind the Toc H was a big organisation in the 40s, 50s & 60s and Syd may well have seen a sign on a Toc H Hall or read something in the paper and just liked the phrase. A colleague at Toc H did once write to the band's management company to find out why the song was thus called (and probably touch them for a donation!!) but didn't get a reply.

    Toc H Trustee

  2. Rick also sings on this one. He didn't get a vocal credit on Piper but he's all over it.

  3. I always thought of it as "power talk," as in it's supposed to sound like those words with misspelling. Like a phonetic pronunciation guide kind of thing... Of course animals can't talk... with words.