Dateline: December 8, 2004

Notes: Original Syn

Source: Yescography

By Henry Potts

Album: Original Syn (YesServices exclusive edition)
Artist: The Syn
2004 Syn Music Limited

Andrew Pryce Jackman: keys (1-12)
Steve Nardelli: vocals (2-5, 8, 9, 10a, 10c, 13)
Martyn Adelman: drums (9, 12, 13)
Peter Banks: guitar (2-5, 7, 10, 13), backing vocals (13)
Chris Squire: bass (2-5, 7, 9-12), guitar (8), vocals (10b)
Gunnar Hákonarson: drums (2-5, 10)
Denny Ward: vocals (6)
Ayshea: vocals (7)
John Painter: guitar (9)
Chris Slater: vocals (11, 12)
John Wheatley: guitar (11, 12)
John Bowring: drums (11)
Gerard Johnson: keys (13), backing vocals (13)
Steve Gee: bass (13)

Produced by Kenny Ball (2-5), Peter Banks (13)
(9, 11, 12) are acetate transfers
Engineered/mixed by Gerard Johnson (13)
(13) recorded at Strangeways Studios and The Treecastle, London

Design by Ken Ansell and Chris Bishop
Additional photography by Martyn J Adelman

1. Andrew Jackman: Mallard Way [Jackman] (0:45)
2. The Syn: Grounded [Nardelli] (2:22)
3. The Syn: 14 Hour Technicolor Dream [Nardelli/Jackman] (2:55)
4. The Syn: Created by Clive [Hubert Pattison] (2:30)
5. The Syn: Flowerman [Nardelli/Jackman] (2:36)
6. The Syn with a 24-piece orchestra: The Last Performance of the Royal Regimental, Very Victorious and Valiant Band [Nardelli/Jackman] (3:25)
7. Ayshea with the Syn: Mr White's White Flying Machine [Nardelli/Jackman] (5:16)
8. Narsquijack: Cadillac Dreams [Nardelli] (3:22)
9. The Syn: Merry-Go-Round [Paul Korda] (2:59)
10. The Syn: The Gangster Opera (excerpts from the rehearsal tape) [Nardelli/Jackman] (5:51)
       a. Part 1: Chorus
       b. Part 2: Legs Diamond
       c. Part 3: Reprise
11. The Selfs: I Can't Explain [Pete Townshend] (2:09)
12. The Selfs: Love You [Jackman] (2:56)

13. The Syn: Illusion [Nardelli/Banks] (14:26)
       a. Part 1: Illusion
       b. Part 2: Something's Going On
       c. Part 3: Illusion (Reprise)

The Chris Squire Interview with Steve Nardelli­interviewed by Michele Moore
14. Part 1: Original Syn
15. Part 2: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
16. Part 3: Mod Days and Nights
17. Part 4: Syn Progressions
18. Part 5: New Beginnings

Notes: This is the YesServices special edition release of the album, with an initial limited edition series of 300 copies signed by Nardelli and Squire.

The Syn was, in some ways, a predecessor to Yes. It was in Syn that two members-to-be of Yes first worked together (Squire and Banks) and one could say that Yes's distinctive style began with the extended pieces Syn played live like "The Gangster Opera". As well as Squire and Banks, Syn also included Andrew Jackman, who would later work on TORMATO, Squire's FISH OUT OF WATER and albums by Steve Howe.

"Flowerman", "Created by Clive", "14 Hour Technicolor Dream" and "Grounded" are the four contemporarily released Syn songs. "I Can't Explain" is a cover of The Who song, a demo by The Selfs. These two pieces by The Selfs are Squire's first-ever recordings. "Merry-go-round" is the Syn's first-ever recording. "Gangster Opera" has been assembled by Johnson from a 40-minute rehearsal tape Banks had. "The Last Performance of the Royal Regimental, Very Victorious and Valiant Band" is a piece recorded not long after the band split up. "Mr White's White Flying Machine" was released by Ayshea in 1970 and was produced by Jackman.

After Syn broke up, Nardelli, Squire and Jackman formed Narsquijack Productions and, among other things, they demo'd a set of songs by Nardelli. Nardelli and Jackman's widow located a tape of 7 Narsquijack songwriting demos from the late 1960s and this is the origin of "Cadillac Dreams". The sound quality of tracks (8-12) is not great, as is to be expected given their provenances.

"Illusion" is a new recording of the old Syn piece. In mid-2003, Martyn Adelman contacted me through my Yes news website "Where Are They Now". I asked and he agreed to do an interview by e-mail. Stephen Nardelli saw that interview and also contacted me. I did an interview with him, too, and was able to put the two back in touch. (So, that's why I'm mentioned in the liner notes!)

Adelman, Nardelli and Banks met up at the end of 2004 and decided upon a Syn reunion, although sadly original keyboardist Andrew Jackman had died earlier in the year (this release is dedicated to his memory). (Gunnar Hákonarson is also no longer with us.) Sessions in early 2004 produced "Illusion" among other recordings, although Banks and the rest of the band subsequently parted ways. Johnson, who had previously worked with Banks, was recruited on keys.

The reunion project continued with Squire joining Nardelli and Adelman and this largely archival compilation was released. Tracks (14-18) are an interview with Squire and Nardelli. (The liner notes for CAN I PLAY YOU SOMETHING? credit the original "Illusion" to Nardelli/Jackman/Squire/Banks.)

Original Syn comes with a booklet of rare photos and other material assembled by Stuart Batsford (former head of compilations at Warner Brothers International) and including a contribution from Phil Collins. The project manager was Jon Webster (former head of Virgin Records).

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