According to Marianne Faithful, when she called Roger Waters to ask if he might have a song for her latest album, she expected something recent. Instead he turned round and handed her a number that had escaped the attentions of even the most devout Pink Floyd archivist, a 1968 opus that, dating from the months immediately after the departure of founder Syd Barrett, had simply been passed over in the band’s haste to reinvent its own identity.
Not that ”Incarceration Of A Flower Child” sounds much like anything one would expect from the Floyd of the era. Neither playful pop, a la their singles of the age, nor deep experimentation in the spirit of the forthcoming Saucerful Of Secrets album, its lyric and delivery would have been better suited to the group’s Meddle era, as one of Water’s most effective ever lyrics picks over the nostalgic detritus of the psychedelic era. Faithful herself then skews the imagery even further, by adopting an emotive tone more in keeping with The Wall, even as an impassioned vocal relives period horrors of her own. It’s a remarkable performance, one of several highlights drawn from 2000’s Vagabond Ways, and so powerful that the punch- line that closes each verse had not dated a day in more than 30 years. It would indeed “be cold in the 1970s.”