…While this album is a tremendous launch pad for potential enthusiasts, be aware that every Incredible String Band recording is also extremely individual and reflects the current membership of the group.
In the liner notes to these carefully packaged reissues, all four of the Incredible String Band principals– co-founder Clive Palmer, core duo Mike Heron and Robin Williamson, and Elektra records executive Joe Boyd– offer their insights in separate essays. Three of them mention the smell of patchouli. Such were the times, certainly, but the ISB are loved equally by avant-garde musicians, psychedelia enthusiasts, and those slightly dweeby young gentlemen who hang around music shops on college campuses. The reissue of their first four albums probably put to rest any notion that the ISB were a properly great band, releasing just one true classic, but they were rarely anything less than brave, inspired, and profoundly weird.
The Incredible String Band is the band's eponymous debut album. Released in 1966, it is the only Incredible String Band album to feature the original trio line-up with Clive Palmer as well as Robin Williamson and Mike Heron. The album was released in Britain in June 1966, and in the USA, and showcased their playing on a variety of instruments. It won the title of "Folk Album of the Year" in Melody Maker's annual poll, and in a 1968 Sing Out! magazine interview Bob Dylan praised Williamson's "October Song" as one of his favorite songs of that period. The original LP sleeve used in the UK showed the band holding obscure musical instruments in Boyd's office in London.
Excellent addition to any rock music collection.
Of the records that the Incredible String Band recorded for Elektra, U is easily the strangest – even by the band's standards.
Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending is the eighth album by the Incredible String Band, featuring Mike Heron, Robin Williamson, Licorice McKechnie and Rose Simpson. It is the soundtrack for a film of the same name, and was released on Island Records 1970.
One of the most engaging groups to emerge from the esoteric '60s was the Incredible String Band. Basically the duo of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson, its sound was comprised of haunting Celtic folk melodies augmented by a variety of Middle Eastern and Asian instruments. Heron was a member of several rock bands in England in the early '60s, while Williamson and Clive Palmer played as a bluegrass and Scottish folk duo. Heron was asked to join as rhythm guitarist, and the trio named itself the Incredible String Band…
Wee Tam and the Big Huge is the fourth album by the Incredible String Band, released in Europe as both a double LP and separate single LPs in November 1968. In the US, however, the two discs were released separately as Wee Tam and The Big Huge.
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter was the third album by The Incredible String Band, released in March 1968. It is regarded by many as a quintessential example of hippie culture, with its promotion of ideas such as communal living, eastern mysticism and rationalistic pantheism.
The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion is the second LP by The Incredible String Band, released in July 1967. Since recording their debut album the previous year, the original trio had been reduced to two, Mike Heron and Robin Williamson. They recorded The 5000 Spirits… in London in early 1967.