Candy and a Currant Bun by Pink Floyd: Great B-Sides

As I wrote in an earlier Syd Barrett post: When people talk about wasted potential in rock and roll, it’s usually premature deaths like Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, or Kurt Cobain. But Pink Floyd’s original leader Syd Barrett also belongs on the list – although Barrett lived into his sixties, his musical career was effectively over by his mid-twenties, burned out by a combination of LSD and schizophrenia.

Not all 1960s psychedelia holds up for me – some bands forgot to write songs to go with the trendy textures. But Barrett always excelled at writing hooks, and because his discography is so scant it’s worth hunting down his rarities. ‘Candy and a Currant Bun’ was the b-side to Pink Floyd’s very first single ‘Arnold Layne’, released in 1967 before debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Piper was the only Floyd record with Barrett as leader – he contributed ‘Jugband Blues’ for their next record but was ousted from the band as David Gilmour was drafted in.

Produced by Joe Boyd, the song was originally known as ‘Let’s Roll Another One’ but the record company insisted that Barrett tone down the drug references (although the song still clearly is about drugs). Humorously though, they somehow missed the obvious f-bomb in the song, making Pink Floyd one of the first rock bands to record a song with the then-kosher word. According to Google, they were beaten to the punch by The Fugs in 1965.

‘Candy and a Currant Bun’ isn’t easy to find – frustratingly it wasn’t included on the 1971 compilation Relics (although my weird bootlegged copy of Relics that I bought from the local second-hand record store does thankfully include it). But as with other Barrett rarities like ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ and ‘Vegetable Man’, it’s worth tracking down. Barrett’s first solo album, The Madcap Laughs, is excellent, but the decline had affected his musical gifts by the time of his second, 1970’s Barrett.

21st century prog band The Mars Volta covered ‘Candy and a Currant Bun’ as a promo single in 2008.

Candy and a Currant Bun Lyrics

Oh, my girl sitting in the sky
Go buy candy and a currant bun
I like to see you run
Lay back

Don’t talk to me
Please, just f*** with me
Please, you know I’m feeling frail

It’s true, sun shining very bright
It’s you, I’m gonna love tonight
Ice cream tastes good in the afternoon
Ice cream tastes good if you eat it soon

Don’t touch me child
Please, know you drive me wild
Please you know, I’m feeling frail

Don’t try another cat
Don’t go where other you must know why
Very, very, very frail

Oh, my girl sitting in the sun
Go buy candy and a currant bun
I like to see you run
Like that

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  1. Cool tune I had never heard before! Did you notice there’s actually a music snippet from Arnold Layne in there, starting at about 1:23 minutes?
    While the early Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett were an acquired taste in my case, I’ve really come to dig their music. Barrett undoubtedly was a gifted musician, and one wonders what else we may have heard from him, had drugs and mental illness not taken over his life.

    • I didn’t notice the Arnold Layne thing, but it does sound like they’re quoting it. Barrett-era Pink Floyd is like a different band really – I count five different Pink Floyd eras:
      – Barrett years
      – experimental years (1968-1970)
      – huge AOR years (1971-1977)
      – Waters is in charge years (1979-1982)
      – Gilmour is in charge years

  2. Great B sided. This is one I haven’t heard before. Like I’ve said…this is like discovering a new band in the Syd Barrett era.

  3. It’s weird and I’m sure I’ve bored plenty of people with this before but I don’t get on with the Barrett-era Floyd and it doesn’t even feel like Pink Floyd for me, more like Syd accompanied by his mates who went on to form Pink Floyd. He was the driver in terms of style and lyrics that I think they struggled for a while without the direction as Gilmour was still very much ‘just play like Syd / play his parts’ for a while after…. but this is a pretty nice tune (and one of like, only half a dozen or so Pink Floyd songs to have any swearing on it).

    • I think the most notable swearing is on Not Now John. It took me a while to warm to Piper, and some of the albums immediately after feel a little rudderless. But Barrett is a really good pop writer, maybe best heard on his solo debut The Madcap Laughs.

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