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5.0 out of 5 stars Extra Tracks Along a Madcap Path
Kicked out of Pink Floyd because of unstable mind, Syd Barrett dissapeared from the music scene for a couple of years. Several years later he returned, stripping down his sound, turning from experimental psychedelia to a sort of acid folk. He went into the studio to record, helped by former bandmates and very patient friends.
The Madcap Laughs is the result. The...
Published on April 10 2004 by Matt Poole

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3.0 out of 5 stars Madman at the Gates of Dawn
As most of you probably know, Syd Barrett was the leader of Pink Floyd until his mental breakdown. This is the first of his solo albums, recorded after his breakdown. These are some of the strangest songs ever written. Most of them don't make sense in a conventional sense, but they may have some inner meaning that only Syd's fragile mind can understand. From what I...
Published on Jan. 6 2004 by Johnny Heering


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4.0 out of 5 stars Syd's mish-mashed solo debut, June 20 2004
By 
Terrence J Reardon "Classic rock guru" (Lake Worth, Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett's first solo album entitled The Madcap Laughs was released in January of 1970 but would not be released in the US until the Syd Barrett double album in 1970. The album was recorded throughout 1969 with producers Malcolm Jones whom produced most of the first half and the closing Late Night. It was also produced by Roger Waters and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. By this point, the effects of Syd's drug use started to deteriorate his songwriting skills. There are some great tracks like the opening Terrapin, No Good Trying, Here I Go, Octopus, Golden Hair, Long Gone and Late Night. There is two songs on here that were not great, Dark Globe(another version of this track appeared on Opel as Wouldn't You Miss Me and buries the version on Madcap), Feel and If It's In You sound like he is going through the motions. This is a good album nonetheless if you liked Piper at the Gates of Dawn era Floyd.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad solo debut from Floyd's creator, May 13 2004
By 
Terrence J. Reardon (South Carolina and Mass., USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett's first solo album entitled The Madcap Laughs was released in January of 1970 but would not be released in the US until the Syd Barrett double album in 1970. The album was recorded throughout 1969 with producers Malcolm Jones whom produced most of the first half and the closing Late Night. It was also produced by Roger Waters and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. By this point, the effects of Syd's drug use started to deteriorate his songwriting skills. There are some great tracks like the opening Terrapin, No Good Trying, Here I Go, Octopus, Golden Hair, Long Gone and Late Night. There is two songs on here that were not great, Dark Globe(another version of this track appeared on Opel as Wouldn't You Miss Me and buries the version on Madcap), Feel and If It's In You sound like he is going through the motions. This is a good album nonetheless if you liked Piper at the Gates of Dawn era Floyd.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extra Tracks Along a Madcap Path, April 10 2004
By 
Matt Poole (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
Kicked out of Pink Floyd because of unstable mind, Syd Barrett dissapeared from the music scene for a couple of years. Several years later he returned, stripping down his sound, turning from experimental psychedelia to a sort of acid folk. He went into the studio to record, helped by former bandmates and very patient friends.
The Madcap Laughs is the result. The first (and best) of Syd's two proper studio albums.
There's not a bad track on it. There's "Terrapin" with it's hypnotic drift. There's "Love You" with its poppy melody, chirpy piano and verbal diorrhea lyrics. There's emotional moments like "Dark Globe" and "Late Night", which Syd would never have tried on Piper at the Gates of Dawn. There's guitar fuzz on "No Man's Land". "There's No Good Trying", a loud piece of psychedelia with great drum work, "Here I Go" is Syd's reaction to being kicked out of the Floyd, "Golden Hair" is poetry in motion (literally), "Long Gone" could have sat well on a Pink Floyd album, with its wailing choruses and organ. Even the out of tune "If It's In You" is loveable. It's so bad it's good. You can hear what he's trying to do and how he's doing his best. It shows how difficult it was to record Syd, given his delicate mental state.
This isn't your average pop, rock or folk music. This is a journey. A journey inside a broken mind. Syd Barrett is still whimsical, he's still kind, he's still humourous. He's just a little hurt and a little confused here. Creatively, he's as good as he was on "Piper at the Gates of Dawn", if not better.
I recommend this album to Pink Floyd fans, and those looking to try something out of the ordinary. If you are a music fan who likes every note played perfect, every word on key, an even tempo and polished production, you'd better leave this record alone. It's ragged, but such a wonderful ragged. Even though Syd isn't quite all there, he does the best he can, with humour and with honesty. Good on him!
(The import release is worth it for the bonus tracks. The take of Octopus, an acoustic version, is pretty strong as far as Syd goes. The alternate "It's No Good Trying" is a lot more delicate and jangly that the fuzzy official version. Without all the drums and overdubs, you can hear the chords pretty clearly, which is good for all those musicians out there wanting to know what makes Syd tick. The two takes of "Love You" show just how very different Syd played the same song each time, and just how much of his madness was actually rehearsed. "She Took a Long Cold Look at Me" has a few false starts tacked on the front, and shows Syd struggling to keep level headed. The album ends with a ethereal four track take of "Golden Hair" that features fragile harmonies from Syd. It's better than the takes on Opel by a long shot. Hardcore fans will appreciate these tracks the most.)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Unfiltered Genius, Feb. 24 2004
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This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
It's a shame that more people don't know who this man is. He started one of the biggest rock and roll franchises of the seventies, and even today he is revered in circles of musicians that are educated on the history of Pink Floyd. This album shows his songcrafting abilities and his undeniable guitar skills. Even under a haze of LSD, the man can deliver a song as good as anything that was on the radio back in the day, but his reputation preceded him and his music remains in obscurity.
This isn't a Pink Floyd album. It's full of little ditties about being lost in the woods, girls that don't like his songs, and dresses. The whole album has a "sit right here, I'm gonna play you a song" vibe to it, and the lack of a dedicated backing band makes it almost folky...but those are the qualities that I like about it. It's a little disjointed at times, but an unpolished gem is still a gem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Syd Bobs to the Surface for a Little While, Feb. 15 2004
By 
Mark D Burgh "Music, Writing, Art, Film, Hist... (Fort Smith, AR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
The legend is that Syd was tossed out of Pink Floyd because his epic consumption of LSD has rendered him unable to perform in any comprehensible manner. This is mostly true, unfortunately for Pink Floyd and for us fans. The lightness and humor of Syd's work was lost when he was left Pink Floyd.
This album, put together with some of Pink Floyd and some of the members of Soft Machine, is weird, wonderful, and at times, heartbreaking. Syd's songs are, as in his hey day with Pink Floyd, child-like, but the wonder has turned to confusion in many of the songs. The first song "Terrapin" is a case in point. A simple Blues progression becomes a dirge of strummed electric guitars and Syd's words, a sort of mimimalist psychedelic masterpiece with the refain "oh, baby, my hair's on end about you." The emptiness surrounding this song is frightening.
This music is utter chaos, but it works for me. Recorded in 1970, however, this mid-60's flower-child feeling, sounds archaic, and you must be willing to forgo any sense of time to enjoy this music - sort of like being on the drugs that rendered Syd into basket case.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Madcap Journey, Jan. 8 2004
By 
Matt Poole (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
Welcome to Syd Barrett's fractured little world. Kicked out of Pink Floyd because of unstable mind, he dissapeared from the music scene for a couple of years. Then he returned, stripping down his sound, turning from experimental psychedelia to a sort of acid folk and went into the studio, helped by his former bandmates and the Soft Machine.
The Madcap Laughs is the result. The first (and best) of Syd's two whole studio albums.
There's not a bad track on it. There's "Terrapin" with it's hypnotic drift. There's "Love You" with its poppy melody, chirpy piano and verbal diorrhea lyrics. There's emotional moments like "Dark Globe" and "Late Night", which Syd would never have tried on Piper at the Gates of Dawn. There's guitar fuzz on "No Man's Land". "There's No Good Trying", a loud piece of psychedelia with great drum work, "Here I Go" is Syd's reaction to being kicked out of the Floyd, "Golden Hair" is poetry in motion (literally), "Long Gone" could have sat well on a Pink Floyd album, with its wailing choruses and organ. Even the out of tune "If It's In You" is loveable. It's so bad it's good. You can hear what he's trying to do and how he's doing his best. It shows how difficult it was to record Syd, given his delicate mental state.
This is a journey. A journey inside the mind of a broken mind. Syd Barrett is still whimsical, he's still kind, he's still humourous. He's just a little hurt and a little confused here. Creatively, he's as good as he was on "Piper at the Gates of Dawn", if not better.
I recommend this album to Pink Floyd fans, and those looking to try something out of the ordinary. If you are a music fan who likes every note played perfect, every word on key, an even tempo and polished production, you'd better leave this record alone. It's ragged. Deliciously ragged!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Madman at the Gates of Dawn, Jan. 6 2004
By 
Johnny Heering "trivia buff" (Bethel, CT United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
As most of you probably know, Syd Barrett was the leader of Pink Floyd until his mental breakdown. This is the first of his solo albums, recorded after his breakdown. These are some of the strangest songs ever written. Most of them don't make sense in a conventional sense, but they may have some inner meaning that only Syd's fragile mind can understand. From what I understand, Syd was recorded solo, just singing and playing acoustic guitar, and then other instruments were overdubbed onto the tapes. The results work fairly well, although Syd's singing and guitar playing sometimes are a bit shaky. In fact, there is a false start before "If It's in You" where he hits an awful note. I found this album to be only moderately interesting, but then again, I am not a Pink Floyd fan.
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3.0 out of 5 stars El comienzo del fin para Syd, Dec 17 2003
By 
"jaimeurrutia" (MIAMI, FLORIDA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
La corta carrera solista de Syd siempre va a sufrir la peligrosa comparación con lo hecho por su también breve paso por Pink Floyd. Lo cual es justo en cierto modo ya que Piper es en su mayoría creación de Syd, pero al mismo tiempo demuestra un hecho claro, el que por mucha genialidad individual que demuestre un integrante, Piper es un disco Pink Floyd. Más allá de todas las dificultades que se presentaron para grabar este disco, hay que decir que el potencial creativo y las ideas de Syd ya no eran las mismas que en 1967, por ello los fans de Piper no necesariamente tendrán a Madcap en el mismo pedestal. De partida el sonido aquí es muy sombrío, casi no hay participación de guitarras eléctricas y cuando la hay en No Good Trying y No Man's Land, los resulatados no impresionan. En vez de eso, Syd prefiere el minimalismo y se conforma con cancioncillas pop que pudieron ser hechas tres años atrás, como Love You o Here I Go, agradables pero no más que eso. La sicodelia aparece tenuemente en Golden Hair, Long Gone y Terrapin, los dos primeros oníricos y reposados, el último un hipnótico tema de 5 minutos en el que Syd repite la misma estructura logrando un buen efecto, mientras Octopus, la mejor canción, muestra a un inspirado Barrett, lo que no es de extrañar considerando que se editó en single antes del álbum. En los temas restantes Syd solamente se acompaña con la guitarra acústica, experimento no del todo exitoso para una perturbada mente que lo que menos necesitaba entonces era cantar extraños y desaliñados temas folk, en búsqueda de sus tormentosos fantasmas interiores.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Disintigration On Vinyl, Dec 11 2003
By 
Matthew Comegys (Ueda, Nagano, Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
Ok, so it's more like disintigration on CD these days. Syd Barrett's first solo album is the work of a man completely falling apart. As the founder of Pink Floyd, Barrett ingested enough LSD to drive a medium sized country mad, and by 1968 and 1969 (when this album was recorded) his mental state was very schizophrenic. Even with these problematic mental disorders (or maybe becasue of), Barrett managed to create a classic.
Following Barrett's dismissal from Pink Floyd in early 1968, the band's managers followed Barrett, assuming that the band could not survive without their creative light (oops). While time has obviously proved them wrong, they soon set Barrett to work with producer Malcomb Jones and the trippy combo The Soft Machine to create a pop album. Barrett's performances soon proved to be erratic and strange, and it was soon apparent that the music was not going to set the teen scene on fire. The sessions were shelved (although temporarily as many tracks are included on the album) and "Octopus" was unleashed as a single. It unsurprisingly did not go far.
Cut forward a few months and former bandmate Roger Waters and Syd's own replacement David Gilmore wheel Barrett back into the studio for some more fun and games. These sessions were acoustically based, and allowed Barrett to do pretty much whatever he wanted to do, even if it was endlessly strange.
The final album is a somewhat daunting listen, but quite phenomenal if you can get your mind into Syd's world, where things like rhythm are rather amorphous. "No Good Trying," "No Man's Land," "Octopus," and "Late Night" are strange but amazing masterpieces of psychedelic rock. On the first two especially, the backing musicians sound like they're furiously trying to keep up with Syd (no good trying?) and the music is always on the verge of flying apart at the seams in a wonderful and interesting sort of way. "Terrapin," "Dark Globe," and "Golden Hair" are the more acoustic classics.
Now I'm guilty of a bit of blasphemous resequencing in regards to my own copy of "The Madcap Laughs." I've taken out "Feel" and "If It's In You," which I think qualify as acoustic shambles, and replace them with "Opel" and "Silas Lang." These are outtakes from the Malcomb Jones sessions that I think are amazing (especially "Opel") and bewilderingly left off the album. They can be found on the otherwise hit or miss odds-and-sods complation "Opel."
Although more expensive, I heartily recommend the EMI reissue of this disc. The remastering is far superior to Capitol's disc, and the alternate takes are illuminating. Barrett never played a song the same way twice; that was likely part of his madness. Better yet, get all of Barrett's remastered studio legacy in the "Shine On Crazy Diamond" box set (which may be a bit difficult as I think it's out of print).
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to write home about, but worth a listen, Dec 6 2003
This review is from: The Madcap Laughs (Audio CD)
If anything, "The Madcap Laughs" is aptly titled. It's just that...mad! Syd Barrett was most certainly dancing on that thin line between reality and delusion when he wrote and recorded his 1970 album as evident in his monotonous voice, lazy guitar picking, inconsistent rhythm playing and (at times) incoherent lyrics.
On most of the tracks, the inconsistency and delusion makes for some pretty groovy lava lamp listening (the haunting "Golden Hair" and melancholy "Long Gone" for instance). On others, it's just plain stupid (Love You being the perfect example
Psychedelic and (in particular) Pink Floyd fans should, by all means check it out. But I warn you, don't expect Piper At The Gates of Dawn.
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