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The Madcap Laughs Discography

The Madcap Laughs

The Madcap Laughs is an album by Syd Barrett, released in 3 January 1970. It was his first solo album after being replaced in the band Pink Floyd by his old school friend David Gilmour.

History
The title of the album comes from a line in the song Octopus. After leaving the group, Barrett began recording sessions with former Pink Floyd-turned-Syd Barrett manager Peter Jenner in May 1968. Although the sessions were brief, 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. It is still a mystery why Jones abandoned production responsibilities, at the end of May, so soon after having assumed them. Jones’ recollections of the sessions are that he and Barrett got on well together and had in fact completed half of the album before the new producers took over. 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, “in a two-day sprint” according to Rick Sanders, author of Pink Floyd (Futura Publications, 1976).

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. However, Syd’s playing and singing were highly erratic and unpredictableā€”he skipped or added beats and bars seemingly at random, or otherwise he would strum on a single chord for a long time before unexpectedly reverting back 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 (during an interview, Robert Wyatt recounted that musicians would ask “What key is that in, Syd?” and Barrett would reply “Yeah”, or “That’s funny”). 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.

The cover shows Syd Barrett in his living room.

“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.

Track listing
All songs by Syd Barrett, except where noted.

“Terrapin” ā€“ 5:04
Take 1, recorded 11 April 1969, overdubs added 4 May
Produced by Malcolm Jones
“No Good Trying” ā€“ 3:26
Take 3, recorded 11 April 1969, overdubs added 3/4 May
Produced by Malcolm Jones
“Love You” ā€“ 2:30
Take 4, recorded 11 April 1969, overdubs added 3 May
Produced by Malcolm Jones
“No Man’s Land” ā€“ 3:03
Take 5, recorded 17 April 1969, overdubs added 4 May
Produced by Malcolm Jones
“Dark Globe” ā€“ 2:02
Take 1, recorded 5 August 1969
Produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters
“Here I Go” ā€“ 3:11
Take 5, recorded 17 April 1969
Produced by Malcolm Jones
“Octopus” ā€“ 3:47
Take 11, recorded 12 June 1969, overdubs added 13 June
Produced by Syd Barrett and David Gilmour
“Golden Hair” ā€“ 1:59 (Barrett, Joyce)
Take 11, recorded 12 June 1969
Produced by Syd Barrett and David Gilmour
“Long Gone” ā€“ 2:50
Take 1, recorded 26 July 1969
Produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters
“She Took a Long Cold Look” ā€“ 1:55
Take 5, recorded 26 July 1969
Produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters
“Feel” ā€“ 2:17
Take 1, recorded 26 July 1969
Produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters
“If It’s in You” ā€“ 2:26
Take 5, recorded 26 April 1969
Produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters
“Late Night” ā€“ 3:10
Take 2, recorded 28 May 1968, overdubs added 11 April 1969
Produced by Pete Jenner, Malcolm Jones (overdubs)

In 1993, The Madcap Laughs was reissued with several bonus tracks of alternate takes. See Crazy Diamond for track details.

Personnel
Syd Barrett – Guitar, vocals
Tony Clark – Engineer
David Gilmour – Bass, 12-string acoustic guitar, Producer
Roger Waters- Bass, Producer
Mick Rock – Photography
Hipgnosis – Cover Design
Hugh Hopper – Bass on 2 and 3 (from Soft Machine)
Jeff Jarratt – Engineer
Peter Jenner – Producer
Malcolm Jones – Producer on 1, 2, 3, 6 and 13
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)

Miscellaneous
The nude woman appearing on the inside record sleeve was Syd Barrett’s girlfriend who was part Inuit and known as Iggy The Eskimo. “When I arrived for ‘The Madcap Laughs’ photo session, Syd was still in his underpants… His lady friend of two weeks, ‘Iggy the Eskimo’ was naked in the kitchen…”

Joe Boyd (producer of “Arnold Layne”) had been looking for a follow up to the Purple Gang’s “Granny Takes a Trip” single and asked Syd for a tape of his songs – “Boom Tune” (aka “Here I Go”) was one on it the group were going to do, but unfortunately it never happened and the tape was lost (White Bicycles, Joe Boyd)

The above article is courtesy of Wikipedia.

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