As Hem Syrup were like a rock/pop band with a free jazz drummer. The tunes were quite complex and unusual as well, but Ray’s drumming sort of defined the band. To change to using a drum machine which gave a uniform if slightly uneventful backing obviously made a big change to the sound although the sense of adventure was still there. The artificial drum beats can age things a bit.
We didn’t do many gigs (probably less than 10) but there were 4 recording sessions. The first session was a trial run for the more expensive 2nd session. There is an example of a track from this session on this post. This was recorded at EMS studios in Putney by Robin Wood.
Our 2nd session took 2 of the songs we recorded at EMS and spent much more time and money on them. I didn’t find out until many years later that these songs were nearly released by Creation Records, which was in its very early days. I had written a load of new songs for the band and as I generally have more music than lyrics I tried to use poems as words for some of the songs, inspired principally no doubt by Syd Barrett’s use of a James Joyce poem. I had a song which used the DH Lawrence poem, Wages as lyrics. Then I translated a Lorca poem into English which was Mute Child. But the most successful used a poem by Malcolm Lowry, Men With Coats Thrashing. This was recorded at RMS studios in South London by Andy Le Vien. Musicians involved were myself, Lindsay Lancaster, Edward Ball, Ray Kent and Richard Hutchings.
Men With Coats Thrashing
Our 3rd session was at yet another studio. Not sure why. Funnily it was where we used to rehearse when we started out with Dry Rib. This time the line up was me, Lindsay, Ray and Doug Alexander on bass. The young engineer was excellent. 3 songs were recorded including one of the old as,hem,syrup songs – Wound.
The final session was at Paul Kendall‘s home studio in Plumstead. This time the musicians were just me on guitar and also playing keyboard on one of the tracks, Doug on bass guitar and Lindsay singing. Paul as usual added greatly with his engineering and production.
Her Emigrant Thoughts