Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Soft Machine : The Soft Machine 1968

Soft Machine were an English rock band from Canterbury, named after the book The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs. They were one of the central bands in the Canterbury scene, and helped pioneer the progressive rock genre.

Soft Machine (billed as The Soft Machine up to 1969) were formed in the summer of 1966 by Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals), Kevin Ayers (bass, guitar, vocals), Daevid Allen (guitar) and Mike Ratledge (organ) plus, for the first few gigs only, American guitarist Larry Nowlin. Allen, Wyatt and future bassist Hugh Hopper had first played together in the Daevid Allen Trio in 1963, occasionally accompanied by Ratledge. Wyatt, Ayers and Hopper had been founding members of the Wilde Flowers, later incarnations of which would include future members of another Canterbury band, Caravan.

This first Soft Machine line-up became involved in the early UK underground, featuring prominently at the UFO Club, and subsequently other London clubs like the Speakeasy and Middle Earth, and recorded the group's first single ' Love Makes Sweet Music', as well as some demo sessions that were released several years later. They also played in the Netherlands, Germany and on the French Riviera.

During July and August 1967, the promoter and manager Giorgio Gomelsky booked shows all along the Cote d'Azur with the band's most notorious early gig taking place in the village square of Saint-Tropez. This led to an invitation to perform at producer Eddie Barclay's trendy "Nuit Psychédélique", performing a forty minute rendition of "We Did It Again", singing the refrain over and over, achieving a Zen-like quality. This made them instant darlings of the Parisian "in" crowd, resulting in invitations to appear on leading television shows and at the Paris Biennale in October 1967.

Meanwhile, upon their return from their summer sojourn in France, Allen (an Australian) was denied re-entry to the United Kingdom, so the group continued as a trio, while he returned to Paris to found Gong.

Side one

1. Hope for Happiness (Brian Hopper, arr. Robert Wyatt / Mike Ratledge / Kevin Ayers) - 4:21
2. Joy of a Toy (Ayers / Ratledge) – 2:49
3. Hope for Happiness (reprise) (B. Hopper, arr. Wyatt / Ratledge / Ayers) – 1:38
4. Why Am I So Short? (Hugh Hopper / Wyatt) – 1:39
5. So Boot If At All (Ratlege / Ayers / Wyatt) – 7:25
6. A Certain Kind (H. Hopper) – 4:11

Side two

1. Save Yourself (Wyatt) – 2:26
2. Priscilla (Ayers / Ratledge / Wyatt) – 1:03
3. Lullabye Letter (Ayers) – 4:32
4. We Did It Again (Ayers) – :46
5. Plus Belle qu'une Poubelle" (Ayers) – 1:03
6. Why Are We Sleeping? (Ayers / Ratledge / Wyatt) – 5:30
7. Box 25/4 Lid (Ratledge / H. Hopper) – 0:49


Robert Wyatt – drums, lead vocals
Mike Ratledge – Lowrey Holiday De Luxe organ, piano (on 13)
Kevin Ayers – bass, lead vocals (on 10 and 11), backing vocals (on 7 and 9), piano (on 5)


Hugh Hopper – bass (on 13)
The Cake – backing vocals (on 12)

Why are We sleeping ?

It begins with a blessing, it ends with a curse
Making life easy by making it worse
"My mask is my master", the trumpeter weeps
But his voice is so weak, as he speaks from his sleep

Saying: "Why, why, why... Why are we sleeping?"

People are watching, people who stare
Waiting for something that's already there
"Tomorrow I'll find it", the trumpeter screams
And remembers he's hungry, and drowns in his dreams

Saying: "Why, why, why... Why are we sleeping?"

My head is a nightclub with glasses and wine
The customers dancing or just making time
While Daevid is cursing, the customers scream
Now everyone's shouting, "Get out of my dream!"

Saying: "Why, why, why... Why are we sleeping?"

Size : 96 MB
Bitrate : 320

Take it Here

This is for my friend Lorens (Στο είχα υποσχεθεί καιρό τώρα. Πάρτο!)


  1. Hello to everybody!
    Here's something that might interest those who like psychedelic prog-folk.....or heavy dope psychedelic sounds
    "Ta Paichnidia tou Iliou" LP (Tricks of the Sun), 2007 production, private greek issue in 300 copies. Here's the link to get it!!!
    Read more:

  2. ευχαριστώ Κωστάρα, θα τα συζητήσουμε περαιτέρω πάνω απο ένα καφάσι μπιροΐνη.

  3. What a great resource!

  4. The link for Soft Machine is working again .

  5. This is my first time hearing this. Great album. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is a very beautiful photos.thanks for sharing.