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The Madcap Laughs

Album cover

Title: The Madcap Laughs
Artist: Syd Barrett
Released: 3 January 1970
Total Length: 37:47
Label: Harvest/EMI, Capitol Records

Track listing Edit

  1. Terrapin (5:01)
  2. No Good Trying (3:21)
  3. Love You (2:24)
  4. No Man's Land (2:58)
  5. Dark Globe(Wouldn't You Miss Me?) (2:02)
  6. Here I Go (3:13)
  7. Octopus (3:43)
  8. Golden Hair (2:00)
  9. Long Gone (2:46)
  10. She Took A Long Cold Look (1:54)
  11. Feel (2:36)
  12. If It's In You (1:57)
  13. Late Night (3:12)

Credits Edit

  • Syd Barrett - Guitar, Vocals, Producer
  • Tony Clark - Engineer
  • David Gilmour - Bass, Guitar, Producer
  • Roger Waters - Bass, Producer
  • Hipgnosis - Photography, Cover Design
  • Hugh Hopper - Bass on 2 and 3 (from Soft Machine)
  • Jeff Jarratt - Engineer
  • Peter Jenner - Producer
  • Malcolm Jones - Producer
  • Phil McDonald - Engineer
  • Peter Mew - Engineer
  • Mike Ratledge - Keyboards on 2 and 3 (from Soft Machine)
  • Vic Seywell - Horn
  • Mike Sheady - Engineer
  • Jerry Shirley - Drums
  • John Wilson - Drums
  • Robert Wyatt - Drums on 2 and 3 (from Soft Machine)

Info Edit

  • After leaving his parent group, Barrett began recording sessions with former Pink Floyd-turned-Syd Barrett manager Peter Jenner in May 1968. Although the sessions were brief, and they produced some fine material, the project was abandoned for almost a year while Barrett spent much of the year as a recluse.
  • In April 1969, Malcolm Jones took over the project and Barrett began working on newer material, while reworking the 1968 recordings. Session musicians, namely, members of The Soft Machine, as well as Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley were also called in to augment Barrett's songs. His working style, which was often unfocused, proved to exasperate the production team, and after several sporadic sessions, two more producers - well known to Barrett - were called in to help.
  • Roger Waters and David Gilmour were in the process of completing Pink Floyd's ambitious Ummagumma album when they got involved with The Madcap Laughs that July and helped Barrett finish his album.
  • The album featured a rather unorthodox recording process, in which Syd would provide a backing track of his own singing accompanied by acoustic guitar, over which the session musicians would overdub the rest of the arrangement. Unfortunately, Syd's playing and singing were highly erratic and unpredictable—he skipped or added beats seemingly at random, or otherwise he would strum on a single note for a long time before unexpectedly reverting to the main portion of the song. This was all much to the frustration of the session musicians; a close listen to several tracks [in particular "No Good Trying" and "Love You"] will reveal the backing band hovering uncertainly here, or being caught off-guard by a chord change there. Even worse, Syd would not allow the musicians to rehearse or re-record their overdubs, insisting that they sounded fine. After several months of intermittent recording, the album was finally deemed complete.
  • "Octopus" was released as a single in November 1969 and the album itself followed in January 1970. It reached #40 in the UK at the time and was fairly well-reviewed, though many critics have since pointed out the nakedness of some of songs, such as "Dark Globe" and "Feel", to be somewhat despairing and reflecting Barrett's anguished mental state at the time. Most of the songs on the album are held in high regard, with the exception of "Feel", "She Took a Long Cold Look", and "If It's In You"; all of which are disjointed and sung in a near-scream from Barrett. (The take of "Dark Globe" used on the album also featured out-of-time acoustic guitar playing and an unappealing vocal from Barrett; the take that appeared on Opel is generally considered to be far superior.)
  • The nude woman appearing on the inside record sleeve was Syd Barrett's girlfriend who was known only as Iggy The Eskimo

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