Founded in 1966, the original line-up was Robert Wyatt (Robert Wyatt-Ellidge, 28 January 1945, Bristol, England; drums/vocals), Kevin Ayers (b. 16 August 1944, Herne Bay, Kent, England; vocals), Daevid Allen (b. 13 January 1938, Melbourne, Australia), Mike Ratledge and, very briefly, guitarist Larry Nolan. By autumn 1967 the classic line-up of the Soft Machines art-rock period (Ayers, Wyatt and Ratledge) had settled in. They toured with Jimi Hendrix, who, along with his producer, ex-Animals member Chas Chandler, encouraged them and facilitated the recording of their first album. (There had been earlier demos for Giorgio Gomelskys Marmalade label, but these were not issued until later, and then kept reappearing in different configurations under various titles.) From the end of 1968, when Ayers left, until February 1970, the personnel was in a state of flux (Lyn Dobson, Marc Charig and Nick Evans were members for a while), and the music was evolving...
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