syd barrett: the madcap laughs

syd barrett and a girl called eskimo, 1969.

golden fish by paul klee, 1925.

While Roger Waters convinced the rest of the Pink Floyd to give up on Syd during the recording of \”A Saucerful Of Secrets\” at Abbey Road Studios in 1968 – again more than ably produced by Norman Smith – Floyd\’s manager, Peter Jenner was not so easily swayed.

Jenner immediately engaged the erratic Barrett in a series of solo recording sessions from May of the same year, but the project stalled and was eventually sidelined over the next twelve months in a bid to allow the increasingly reclusive former hit maker to regain his \”focus\”.

\”Get your shit together, Syd !\” was not so much the battle cry as a gently cajoling whisper.

In April 1969, Malcolm Jones replaced Jenner on production duties, but while Syd was throwing out sufficient ideas or germs of songs to warrant the protracted studio time, the musicians contracted to work alongside him – members of the Soft Machine and Humble Pie – were at a loss as to how best to work up that raw material and present it as a cohesive whole. The pervading mood was one of frustration and that alone must surely have exacerbated the already fragile sessions.

Cast adrift from the very group he was instrumental in founding, Syd Barrett – understandably mistrustful and alienated – could scarcely have been comfortable working under such forced and counter-productive conditions. In his (then) current state of mind it must have felt akin to stepping into a ring in front of an audience of strangers with the expectation to perform like a circus seal.

Pressure ? Given the trying circumstances, it\’s a wonder the finished product bears up so well.

Its a good deal better than \”The Final Cu(*)t\”, that\’s for sure.

Having heard Roger Waters drone on for years now about how much of a fuck-up Syd was, I\’d dearly like to see him auditioning on an endless loop for the Sex Pistols. Fucking deluded architectural arsehole.

At least David Gilmour had the temerity to kick a few bricks out \”The Wall\”.

SYD BARRETT: TERRAPIN from \”The Madcap Laughs\” LP (Harvest EMI) 1970 (UK)

SYD BARRETT: GOLDEN HAIR from \”The Madcap Laughs\” LP (Harvest EMI) 1970 (UK)



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