ARTIST: Syd Barrett
TITLE: The Madcap Laughs
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #40 UK
SINGLES: Octopus (#11 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Terrapin, Dark Globe
LINEUP: Syd Barrett, David Gilmour, Jerry Shirley, Willie Wilson, Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After being excused from Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett records his first solo album in fits and starts, and it’s kind of shambolic, and charming.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Syd Barrett’s story, in fact, the recording of this album, takes a volume or two. So, in short, Barrett took about 18 months to record this, sessions here and there, and finally it took an effort from former bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour to get the thing done.
As you can imagine, the albums a bit chaotic. Sometimes, members of the Soft Machine overdubbed onto the tracks. Sometimes it was Gilmour and Jerry Shirley from Humble Pie. Sometimes, it was just Syd.
His voice is shaky at times, the songs seem to be on the verge of breaking apart, and one track shouldn’t have been included at all due to false starts and the like. Still, the songs are charming and playful at times – or at least they sound like it.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The Gilmour / Waters sessions had to be fit around their Pink Floyd obligations for touring and recording, so that was some of the delay.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, some alternate takes.
GRADE B: Syd’s solo stuff is probably an acquired taste, though there’s quality here.