After Syd’s unceremonious departure from Pink Floyd, those in the band, particularly David Gilmour, thought he may have some potential as a solo artist. In a way, they were correct on the issue. There were a bunch of sessions done prompted by David Gilmour during 1969 and 1970 which resulted in a large amount of solo material, this being Syd Barrett’s first solo album.
It’s a mish-mash of recordings and various takes. Given that this is “post Acid Syd” we are dealing with here, you can hear the difficult nature and mixed quality of recordings here. Still, it is a monument to a great recording artist of time that would other have been lost in history. Let’s hear it, track by track.
Terrapin is a wonderfully simple and strummed acoustic piece. It doesn’t really sound professional at all, although that is not the point. It combines Syd’s oddball and eerie nature on tape and does very well indeed. A good effort. The guitars are quite catchy here too.
No Good Trying is a strange-sounding and off-kilter piece, no surprises there. Syd’s lyrics are visionary, and the drumming overdubbed here is really quite awesome. It’s likely about a lover who tries too hard to impress Syd, which is an interesting sort of subject. Syd still had the ability to make great music, which is good. It fades out gently.
Next is Love You. It’s simply delightful and has some wacky lyrics to boot. The tempo isn’t consistent, but Syd shows the ability to make great music, post-Pink Floyd. He doesn’t sound very enthusiastic here, but the song is catchy and decent in a bizarre way. Nice stuff.
After that, we enter No Man’s Land. It’s likely directed towards a lover that Syd may have had. It sounds rather dark lyrically and has fuzz guitar on it as well. It’s more of an instrumental jam than an acoustic song but still is good. Syd rambles throughout, making it wacky as anything you can think of that is strange.
Dark Globe says it all. Syd pleads with the world that he lives in to understand and respect him for who he was. It’s a very close-to-the-bone listen but is another good acoustic driven song. “Wouldn’t you miss me at all?” asks Syd.
Here I Go is a diss to a former lover that Syd Barrett had who didn’t like his music whatsoever. Seemingly, he has written a song to impress said girl and does quite well here. It’s a cool story about finding love despite all that goes on with Syd.
Next is the off-kilter sounding Octopus. It’s a trippy lyrical piece that has many references to semi-psychedelic ideas about it. A good song by Syd, and is very upbeat and poppy. Perhaps a reference to The Beatles Octopus Garden? It’s a good here anyway. Excellent lyrics, especially.
The strange acoustic-led Golden Hair comes next, perhaps a reference to the old fable of Rapunzel. It’s a deep and lovely sounding song, so representative of who Syd Barrett was. There are some subtle arrangements here as well.
Long Gone is a sad lament about losing a girl that Syd loved. It has some good production and elements of music added here as well. It’s a simple and direct tune by Syd Barrett, good stuff regardless.
She Took A Long Cold Look is another strange love song. It is difficult to understand to recognize exactly what Syd Barrett was on about here, but you can hear the pages of lyrics being turned mid-song. A good effort from our #1 madcap.
Next is Feel. It’s a quick take of another good acoustic song by Syd, and proof of the immediacy of his genius. All Syd made have needed to do at this point, it is a simple and effective piece.
Following is If It’s In You has a false start, but Syd goes right on ahead and delivers afterward. He does a good job, despite the fact he has little enthusiasm at this point for the music at hand. Syd Barrett deserves credit here for recording this album, despite his reluctance to do so in some ways.
Late Night has some cool slide guitar and sounds pretty sweet. It’s a more laidback and gentle sounding piece from Syd. This is the last complete piece before the outtakes on the rest of the album. “Inside me, I feel, alone and unreal…” Syd Barrett was being honest here.
Octopus – Takes 1 and 2 are pretty cool to hear. Good to hear some extra Syd Barrett goodness, and although it is not the main take, it is a rewarding listen.
The next piece is It’s No Good Trying – Take 5 which is more stripped back and simple without the other instrumentation on the album take. It’s good to hear these efforts regardless, even on its own.
Next is Love You – Take 1. It’s another outtake but still good to hear. Syd did his best here and delivers well.
Love You – Take 3 is a slower take of the song but is just as effective. It’s good to hear the variety of musical takes on this album.
She Took A Long Cold Look At Me – Take 4 has quite a few false starts but goes on anyway. A good effort though.
Lastly, Golden Hair – Take 5 finishes the album. It has a double-tracked vocal here and completes the music journey here nicely.
This album is not the greatest album ever. It doesn’t need to be. It is a great representation of post-Acid Syd Barrett music that you can easily find. Well done Syd for putting in the extra effort here. After he lost his way from Pink Floyd, this is an excellent exhibition of artistry that is The Madcap Laughs.