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The Incredible String Band

Prog Folk

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The Incredible String Band The Big Huge album cover
3.77 | 29 ratings | 3 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Maya (9:24)
2. Greatest Friend (3:30)
3. The Son Of Noah's Brother (0:16)
4. Lordly Nightshade (5:13)
5. The Mountain Of God (1:51)
6. Cousin Caterpillar (5:15)
7. The Iron Stone (6:33)
8. Douglas Traherne Harding (6:15)
9. The Circle Is Unbroken (4:47)

Total time 43:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Robin Williamson / acoustic guitar (1,3,4,7), violin (8), piano (4), organ (5), bass (1,6), whistle (4,8,9), percussion (8), drums (4), Irish harp (9), lead vocals (1,3-5,7,9)
- Mike Heron / acoustic guitar (2,6,8), sitar (1,7), organ (3,9), percussion (4), harmonica (2), lead vocals (2,6,8)

- Christina "Licorice" McKechnie / Irish harp (7), percussion (1,7), backing vocals
- Rose Simpson / percussion (1,6,7), backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Elaine Gongora with Guy Webster (photo)

LP Elektra ‎- EKL 4037 (1968, UK) Mono audio
LP Elektra ‎- EKS 74037 (1968, UK) Stereo audio
LP Elektra ‎- EKS 74037 (1969, US)
2xLP Elektra ‎- EKL 4036/37 (1968, UK) Mono; Bundled with "Wee Tam" album, only for Europe
2xLP Elektra ‎- EKS 74036/37 (1968, UK) Stereo; Bundled with "Wee Tam" album, only for Europe

CD Elektra ‎- 7559-61548-2 (1993, Europe)
2xCD Collectors' Choice Music ‎- CCM-290-2 (2002, UK) Bundled w/ "Wee Tam"; New cover
2xCD Fledg'ling Records ‎- FLED 3079 (2010, UK) Remastered (?); Bundled w/ "Wee Tam" album
2xCD Hannibal Records ‎- HNCD 4802 (2010, US) Bundled with "Wee Tam" album

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND The Big Huge ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Originally released as a double album Wee Tam & The Big Huge for some reasons gets commercialized as two separate Cds, the first called Wee Tam and the next being The Big Huge. Again the Boyd/Elektra connection is present, the pastoral setting of artwork (both albums photos taken from the same shoot (same clothes)

By this time, ISB had become a quartet by adding vocalist/percussionist Licorice (Williamson's girlfriend) and Rose Simpson (Heron's English girlfriend although apparently met through Williamson) on bass. According to producer/discoverer Joe Boyd, this was more of a tit for tat move, when Williamson declared Licorice a member, Heron went out to buy a bass and told Rose Simpson to learn it quickly, which although not gifted for that, she learn with a 300 % will and actually managed it to the point that Winwood once enquired about using her for his first solo album (which turned out to be Traffic's Barleycorn album) but he was quickly booted from the studio away from Rose by Heron.

If Wee Tam is a soporific album, TBH is a pretty good successor to Hangman, it's partly due to the quality of the songs spared for this half-double album. Besides starting on the lengthy Maya and its thoughtful lyrics, it contains the 16-seconds mega epic Son Of Noah's Brother (really worth at least 20 times its actual duration), the liturgical Mountain Of God (a bit annoying, but not overstaying its welcome), the semi- comic Cousin Caterpillar with the group's silly chorus line, the corner-cutting Iron Stone and the astounding Circle Is Unbroken, one of the definitive and seminal prog folk song, also one of their most influential.

Theoretically this Cd reissue should stand as side 3 and 4 of the double vinyl album release, but Big Huge easily surpasses Wee Tam, on all counts. From the compositions and songwriting point of view, to the execution of the music including a more varied instrument used and offering a more ethnic side, TBH simply dwarfs its twin release WT and doesn't leave it a chance.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Williamson's composition "Maya" starting this album is probably the best song of the band for me. Beautiful lyrics are sung over freely and charmingly evolving and shimmering song for guitar and enigmatic sitar licks, crystallizing glimpses of eternal spiritual truth and pureness. Song ends to singing of birds, from where "Greatest Friend" continues, being more simpler song for acoustic guitar, singer and accordion. It has slightly Irish sounding melody, and is a very good song too. Next "Lordly Nightshade" is a decent piano, pipe, guitar and voice song, followed by a short "avant-joke". "The Mountain of God" is then a short organ and voice Christian-oriented hymn. Next happy playful guitar & vocal song strengthened by tablas is "Cousin Caterpillar", quite nice. "The Iron Stone" is another gem here, a sad, dramatic and mystical song. Sitar and tablas are supporting this beautiful guitar & voice composition, which has a strong oriental load and interesting lyrics, a raga sequence in the middle part which leads to a hopeful and happy conclusion. Next "Douglas Traherne Harding" is euphoric, happy song full of joy and faith of spiritual religious salvation. The last song "The Circle Is Unbroken" starts slowly with Incan sounding flute and voice singing over quiet organs, closing the album wonderfully.

So, a deeply spiritual record full of healing elements for a troubled mind for those open for the stylistic elements of the group. The double album formed with "Wee Tam" is the most successful of the classic experimental records of this group, though I like yet little more the two first records.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The Incredible String Band followed up The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter with a double album (Wee Tam and the Big Huge) which was also released as two single albums - again following a trail blazed by Donovan, who'd taken a similar marketing route with A Gift From a Flower To a Garden.

Whilst Wee Tam showed a gentler side of the String Band than The 5000 Spirits or Hangman's Beautiful Daughter had showcased, things perk up on The Big Huge. The sound is livelier, more varied, and the diverse religious content more apparent, from the opening Maya providing a long sitar-laden exploration of the Buddhist concept to the concluding The Circle Is Unbroken, a sort of response to the classic spiritual Will The Circle Be Unbroken?, whilst along the way it visits quirky territory like Cousin Caterpillar. If Wee Tam was presenting a distinct sound of its own, separate from 5000 Layers and Hangman's Daughter, The Big Huge ends up blending the sound all three together to present a final, definitive statement of the band's most consistent years.

In general, both halves of the double album are more or less on a par with each other; shortly after recording the material the String Band would go on the fateful US tour during which they would be introduced to Scientology, prompting a shift in their worldview which coincided with a shift in their artistic approach and more mixed results.

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