[Rock Generation Vol 8 FRONT COVER]

Original LP-album releases as part of a series named 'Rock Generation": Volume 7 (one side Soft Machine  - the other with Gary Farr & the T-Bones) and Volume 8 (one side Soft Machine - the other with Mark Leeman 5 and Davy Graham)

Jet Propelled Photographs
CD-version, choosen for this site, with the now established title and most common in Europe


1. That's How Much I Need You Now
2. Save Yourself
3. I Should've Known
4. Jet Propelled Photograph (aka Shooting at the Moon)
5. When I don't Want You
6. Memories
7. You Don't Remember
8. She's Gone
9. I'd Rather Be With You

Recorded: april 1967 at De Lane Lea Studios, London
Released: 1972 (lp-version)

Robert Wyatt: drums, vocals
Mike Ratledge: piano, organ
Daevid Allen: guitar, vocals
Kevin Ayers: bass, vocals

Below other versions of this session on lp and cd, often with a wrong picture and/or pictures of the band and other titles...

Faces and Places, Vol. 7 (lp - BYG -1972 - France)
Soft Machine (lp - Metronome - 1970 - Germany)

At the Beginning (lp - Charly Records, 1977-  France)
At the Beginning (lp - Charly Records 1977 - Eruope)

Soft Machine (lp - Charly Records, 1980 - Europe)
Soft Machine (lp - Picc-A-Dilly, 1980 - USA)

Memories (lp - Accord, 1982 - USA)
Jet Propelled Photographs (lp - Decal, 1988 - Europe)

Jet Propelled Photographs (cd - Charly, 1989 - UK)
At the Beginning (cd - Editions Atlas, 1993 - France)

Jet Propelled (cd - Spalax Music, 1995 - France)
Jet Propelled Photographs (cd - Charly, 1997 - Germany)

Jet Propelled Photographs (lp - Get Back, 1989 - Italy)
The Soft Machine (cd - Neon, 1999 - Germany)

Soft Machine (cd - Metrodome, 2000 - UK)
Jet Propelled Photographs (cd - Varese, 2002 - USA)

Jet Propelled Photographs (cd - Charly, 2003 - UK)
Shooting at the Moon (cd - Brook, 2006 - Germany)

At the Beginning (lp - Bellaphon, ? - Germany)
The Soft Machine (mp3 - Charly Digital, 2013)
Somewhere around 1966 Mike Ratledge decided that he had enough of studying and rather would start a band. He returned home and asked his friends, most of them playing in The Wilde Flowers, if they were interested. They were! Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt and Daevid Allen formed Soft Machine; the other half of The Wilde Flowers searched for other new members and became Caravan in 1968. In the beginning Soft Machine wasn’t that different, actually it was rather a band playing in Wilde Flowers style; a mixture of soul, blues, jazz and pop songs. But all members started composing new numbers, all in their own style. Ratledge pushed the group into a more jazz orientated direction; the songs grew longer and more and more improvised parts were squeezed in. During the year they developed their own style, which was rather different from most other groups around. Daevid Allen, the freakiest member of the group, had all sorts of contacts, so the group was invited to play at UFO and became regulars. Their music mirrored the lifestyle of the young people, young, wild(e), exotic, new, fresh, vibrant, colourful. Together with friend musicians of the Pink Floyd they played in lots of venues and became even more popular. In April 1967 Giorgio Gomelsky, a filmmaker, impresario, music manager, songwriter and record producer was looking for new bands. The Soft Machine was interesting enough, so he asked them if they would like to record some of their numbers. He paid it all and so, as they discovered later on, had the rights for those tracks and could do as he wished with them. The story at this point as a little bit foggy. Robert Wyatt remembers that the recordings were intended as demo-recordings, but Gomelsky told another version: these were real recordings, meant to be released on a record. Soft Machine played the numbers they had written at the time, but about half of them were written by Hugh Hopper, who wasn’t even in the band. The other tracks were written by Wyatt and Ayers; Ratledge hadn’t even written a number yet. Remarkable is the fact that they choose to use real songs and not an impression of the way they were playing live at that time. Robert thought the songs were too weak to be released at all, but nevertheless played a good part and sang great. Daevid thought Robert parts were ‘magnificent’. That couldn’t be said of his guitar playing, which was sloppy and out of tune. In a way he blew the recording. Guitar player Kevin Ayers took the bass parts, as he did live and also worth mentioning is the fact that this version of the band had three (!) lead singers: Kevin, Daevid and Robert. Looking back, the Gomelsky recordings were important as demo recordings, because most of the tracks were used again on later recordings. ‘She’s Gone’ in a newer version released as a single (1967) and two songs: ‘That’s How Much I Need You’ and ‘You don’t Remember’ were re-written by Robert and used in some way for ‘Moon in June’; ‘I Should Have Known’ was also re-written and got another title: ‘Why am I so Short’. Except for ‘I’d Rather be with You’ every song was used again, but most of them in the future and not on Soft Machine records. After the recording session the band went on tour with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gomelsky didn’t do anything with the recorded tracks, but in the meantime Probe offered them a record contract for two records. The group recorded their first album in 1968 at the Record Plant in New York. Two tracks reappear: “Save Yourself’ and ‘I Should Have Known’. In 1972 (Soft Machine had released Fifth already) the Gomelsky sessions were released after all. He had the right to do so, but nevertheless it seemed a curious action and kind of weird was the way he released them: on two albums, half of the session on half the record; the other half had other bands and musicians. The records were part of a series ‘Rock Generation’ and contained all Gomelsky recordings. The sound was awful, Soft Machine wasn’t pleased with this release and Daevid was ashamed once again. BYG released the two sessions on one album in France as part of a series named ‘Places and Faces’, but used a photograph of the more recent Soft Machine with Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper who hadn’t even attended the Gomelsky-sessions. This was just one of the many releases of this specific session. As you can see on the left it goes on and on and on. Everyone seems to have the possibility to release them. One thing is clear, most record companies don’t care much about the music and the fans, they’re in the world for the money after all, isn’t it and who cares about the right design anyway. The first cd-edition was released in 1989 under the name ‘Jet Propelled Photographs’, but after that one another deluge came over us; sometimes using the title ‘Soft Machine’, sometimes Jet Propelled, and so on. An important record? The Gomelsky sessions are just another step on Soft Machine’s way to their first proper record, Volume One, and have to be seen in that way; a band learning to compose, create and record music and in is fact only interesting for real aficionados, as it is with old pictures, you remember the scene and smile, memories past, but the future lingers on.

Paul Lemmens © 2014