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The Incredible String Band - Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending (OST) CD (album) cover


The Incredible String Band


Prog Folk

1.77 | 9 ratings

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2 stars I haven’t heard all the band’s albums, but of the ones I have this is easily the worst. ISB was always a bit uneven in their delivery, with even their best records spotted here and there with disjointed misses and sometimes useless noodling. With this offering the band succumbed to a level of self-indulgence that put off all but their most loyal fans. The joke went of course that the title should have read “By God This Song Has No Ending”, particularly when it came to the twenty-six minute rambling title track.

This is ostensibly a soundtrack to the film of the same name, and like John Phillips’ ‘Man on the Moon’ or Floyd’s ‘Tonite Let's All Make Love In London’ it benefits not at all from the lack of crisp engineering or recording restraint that a proper studio album would have. I’m a bit surprised the usually disciplined Joe Boyd actually produced this aimlessly wandering hour of drivel, a black mark in his otherwise quite impressive career. Of course, considering this was recorded in 1970 I suppose some provision must be made for the relatively lax standards employed by many artists at the time; but still….

Robin Williamson is his usual bard-like self, weaving abstract folksy poetry and acoustic strumming through oddly metered arrangements on tracks like “Veshengra” and “See All the People”, the only songs that even come close to meeting the standard set on the band’s sixties albums. But the lackluster opening “Come With Me”, combined with Licorice McKechnie’s often annoying vocals, as well as the endless and directionless meandering title track obviate any inclination to make any concessions to the band’s indulgences. By the time Heron gets done petering out Part 9 of the closing title song I’m more than ready to put this thing back on the shelf for another decade or so. You probably will be too, if you even bother picking it up in the first place. And unless you are an ardent completionist or just a hard-core collector of modern psych folk, I wouldn’t recommend you attempt this one anyway. Two stars only because the Incredible String Band still has some loyal fans and I would think they collected this one too, and also a little bit in consideration of the moderately decent “Veshengra”; otherwise this is a completely forgettable record that I’m not surprised hasn’t been reissued since Edsel saw fit to put out most of the band’s discography on CD back in the nineties. Not really recommended at all.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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