Recorded in Studio Three of London's famous Abbey Road Studios, the first session began with just Syd Barrett and producer Malcolm Jones, on April 10th 1969.
Malcolm Jones (pictured, second left, in 1971) had his own record label, Harvest Records, which had been bought out by E.M.I.
He tended to sign up the more alternative bands and artists, who were big on the London underground scene at the time. He was also a big Syd Barrett fan.
It was this which had already seen him approaching his E.M.I. colleagues about bringing Syd back into the studio. They had been wary. While Syd was still under contract to them, his mental fragility had nearly cost them Pink Floyd. There was understandably some reluctance to risk unproductive and costly sessions on him.
Malcolm had let it drop, but then was prompted into rekindling the idea when he received a call from Syd himself. Fresh out of rehab, the artist seemed utterly together. The fan in Malcolm rose to the fore, desperate to hear another album. He contacted E.M.I. again offering to produce it.
There was a plan B too. If E.M.I. had said no, then Malcolm would have pointed out that they couldn't morally keep Syd bound to his Pink Floyd contract. Once freed, Malcolm would have simply signed him to Harvest Records and all risk would have been on his own head.
It never came to that. E.M.I. were willing to give their errant genius a chance. After the third session, with so many amazing tracks coming out, they were also willing to give him all of the time that he needed. This is what Malcolm Jones knew, because he negotiated the deal.
It runs contrary to later stories that E.M.I. were frustrated with progress and had to call the remaining members of Pink Floyd in to save the day. That story didn't even surface until seven years later; and it's rumor retrospectively applied as fact.
The list of songs, as they appeared on The Madcap Laughs, is below. I'm going to introduce them chronologically, in the order that they were recorded. This is for narrative coherency, so I can tell the story through them.
This is slightly more difficult than it looks, because songs may be revisited in later sessions. Backing tracks and dubs are created to polish them for public listening. I've opted for when the master take was first made in discussing it here.