Source: Yescography

"Original Syn"

By Henry Potts

Album: Original Syn 1965-2004 / Original Syn (YesServices exclusive edition)
Artist: The Syn
2005 Umbrello Records PLC, distributed in the UK and Ireland by Nova via
Pinnacle / 2004 Syn Music Limited

Andrew Pryce Jackman: keys (1-11, 14)
Steve Nardelli: vocals (2-5, 8-10, 11i, 11iii, 14-19)
Martyn Adelman: drums (10, 13, 15-19)
Peter Banks: guitar (2-5, 7, 11, 15-19), backing vocals (15-19)
Chris Squire: bass (2-5, 7, 10-14), guitar (8), acoustic guitar (9), vocals
(11ii), backing vocals (7)
Gunnar Hákonarson: drums (2-5, 11)
Denny Ward: vocals (6)
Ayshea Brough: vocals (7)
John Painter: guitar (10)
Chris Slater: vocals (12, 13)
John Wheatley: guitar (12, 13)
John Bowring: drums (12)
Gerard Johnson: keys (15-19), backing vocals (15-19)
Steve Gee: bass (15-19)
James Nisbet: guitar (17-19)

Arranged by Jackman (6, 7)

Produced by Kenny Ball (2-5), Peter Banks (15-19)
Additional production by Gerard Johnson (17-19)
(9, 12, 13) are acetate transfers 
Engineered/mixed by Gerard Johnson (15-19)
(15-19) recorded at Strangeways Studios and The Treecastle, London

Design by Ken Ansell and Chris Bishop [YesServices edition]
Cover and CD art by Mark Bown [2005 release]
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]
8. Narsquijack: Cadillac Dreams [Nardelli] (3:22)
9. Narsquijack: Sunset Boulevard Lament [Nardelli] (2:49)
10. The Syn: Merry-Go-Round [Paul Korda] (2:59)
11. The Syn: The Gangster Opera (excerpts from the rehearsal tape)
[Nardelli/Jackman] (5:51)
i. Part 1: Chorus
ii. Part 2: Legs Diamond
iii. Part 3: Reprise
12. The Selfs: I Can't Explain [Pete Townshend] (2:09)
13. The Selfs: Love You [Jackman] (2:56)
14. The Syn: Flowerman (original recording) [Nardelli] (2:33)

15. The Syn: Illusion [Nardelli/Banks] (14:26)
i. Part 1: Illusion
ii. Part 2: Something's Going On
iii. Part 3: Illusion (Reprise)
16. Grounded 2004
17. Time and a Word: (i) Time and a Word
18. (ii) A Tide in the Affairs of Man
19. (iii) Time and a Word (reprise)

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

Notes: There are two versions of this release. The YesServices special edition version of the album, with an initial limited edition series of 300 copies signed by Nardelli and Squire, came out in 2004. (9, 14, 16-19) are missing from the YesServices version; it does have instead a 5-track interview. The album then had a full retail release in 2005 on Umbrello.

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 (8) and (9). The sound quality of tracks (8-13) is not great, as is to be expected given their provenances.

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.) Johnson, who had previously worked with Banks, was recruited on keys. Sessions in early 2004 produced two new versions of old Syn pieces ("Illusion", "Grounded 2004") and a version of Yes's "Time and a Word". However, the line-up fell apart with Banks and the rest of the band subsequently parting ways. ("Time and a Word" was not finished during these sessions, requiring extra work by Johnson and a session guitarist in 2005.) The reunion project continued with Squire joining Nardelli and Adelman and this largely archival compilation was released. (The liner notes for Can I Play You Something? credit the original "Illusion" to Nardelli/Jackman/Squire/Banks.)

The YesServices edition comes in oversized packaging 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). The retail version comes in a jewel case, but still with a fairly lengthy booklet. Artwork for the 2005 release was by Mark Bown, who is also a member of Funky Monkey with Johnson. (HP, 8 Dec 04; updated 24 Sep 2005)


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