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Author Topic: An Incredible String Band thread!  (Read 1443 times)
koeeoaddi there
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« on: January 24, 2006, 02:36:19 AM »

righty ho, im going start an ISB thread.

why do you need to know about them?
because they were one of the freakiest bunch hippies that ever was, and who unfortunately have been written out of history. presumably for being too hippieish.
i mean, they even started their own commune in Wales and worked with amateur dance troupes. oh dear.

so what have we got?
well a long convoluted history, which can be broken down into various stages.

1) the first album.
at first a three piece of Clive Palmer, Mike Heron and Robin Williamson, they release their eponymous debut album in 1966.   Its slightly unusual scottish folk. nothing really to suggest the weirdness that would follow.
the band split up after its release.

2) the classic period

the 5000 spirits or the layers of the onion - 1967
after reforming as a duo of Mike and Robin, they release this beaut in 1967, with a sleeve designed by The Fool.
and the wierdness creeps in, with sitars and bowed gimbris and songs about hedgehogs that follow you around singing at you.

the hangman's beautiful daughter - 1968
oh lordy, this is where the drugs really kick in.
by this stage it sounds like the band would take any drug that they could lay their hands on, play any instrument that they could find and any idea that popped into their heads could be converted into song.
there's no studio trickery, just pure unhinged acoustic/exotic freakery from two deranged scottish minds.
and sitars, shenais, water harps, dulcimers, pan pipes, ouds, gimbris, weird percussion things, harpsichords and other instruments.
robin looks like Jesus during this period.
oh, here's a good review of the wierdest album of all time:

Wee tam and the big huge - 1968.
a few months after hangman's they release a double album (also released as 2 seperate albums).
a little more relaxed than Hangman's and more stripped down but still plenty of weirdness.
the greatest album of all time.

3) the girlfriends join and the band become involved in Scientology
yep, with 1969's Changing Horses album, the girlfriends Rose and Licorice join.
still, plenty of weirdness abounds though, due mainly to the band members being genuinely weird.
the scientology element emphasised the need for more direct communication, so where before the lyrics were almost impenetrable, they become more direct and straight forward.
still, this period seems them embark on the U project - a series of shows that was half music / half performance peice from the dance troupe Stone Monkey. the U double album of 1970 is plenty weird. heck, a two hour double album that starts with an 8 minute long indian-style instrumental in 4 parts cant be bad.

4) the folk rock years.
the last 4 albums (1971-74) sees the band invlove more electric guitars, the girlfriends leave to be replaced by various friends and roadies, so that by the last album, the band is now a 6 piece electric folk-rock band, performing 20 minute prog rock songs called "Ithkos".
much maligned for the loss of the 60s/hippie exotic innocence, the later years nonetheless produced much fine music once you get over the fact that horror! theyre using electirc guitars.

so there you go.
you might not care, but i enjoy writing drivel about the ISB.
it may not be well written drivel, but its drivel nonetheless.

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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2006, 02:41:52 AM »

Thank you for your righteous drivel! High tiime to dive back into the multi-levelled onion!
mark goddard
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2006, 06:41:23 AM »

a 2 cd set was just issued on these guy's.......a lot of musicians name check this band , but i have never heard anything by them.
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2006, 08:01:49 AM »

there is a great book,published in the u.k. but available through u.s. amazon, on the is published by their fan club and is very extensive.
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