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Trotsky View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Incredible String Band
    Posted: July 05 2005 at 03:32

This totally whimsical, charming 60s outfit has been name-checked many times, but doesn't seem to have a thread of its own ... and I think it deserves one ... (BTW, I'll take my 40 lashes if somebody produces "we've discussed this ad nauseum here" evidence)

Classic albums 5000 Spirits, Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, Wee Tam and The Big Huge are surely all pretty close to prog-folk?

I think I marginally prefer the Williamson songs to the Heron ones, but even that isn't a straight-forward thing ... sometimes they can be a little too twee, but most times there's an otherworldly magic to these merry pranksters' music ...

Listening to The Big Huge's The Iron Stone now ... mmm mmm mmm ...

"Death to Utopia! Death to faith! Death to love! Death to hope?" thunders the 20th century. "Surrender, you pathetic dreamer.

"No" replies the unhumbled optimist "You are only the present."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 05 2005 at 07:51
Sorry, can't agree with you there - saw them a few years ago at the Cropredy Festival; the first guitar note played was completely out of tune, the remaining instruments followed suit, then the singing began.....

We ran & took shelter in The Brasenose Arms.

Jon Lord 1941 - 2012
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2005 at 03:24

Not a surprise that some proggers would feel that way Jim ... despite playing a wide range of instruments, ISB were certainly not known for being one of those clinical, technical, pitch-perfect outfits ...

But I do think there was a fair amount of creativity on the early classic albums in the composition/arrangement department that many far more technically gifted bands could have done with ...

"Death to Utopia! Death to faith! Death to love! Death to hope?" thunders the 20th century. "Surrender, you pathetic dreamer.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2005 at 03:47
I have to say in defense of Robin Williamson though, that around 1992 he played Cropredy solo, and we were vastly entertained by an hour of storytelling, during which he accompanied himself on harp.

Jon Lord 1941 - 2012
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 28 2006 at 11:05

I thought I'd bump this thread. Any more thoughts on whether the ISB are a prog-folk band.

Peter, you'll be familiar with them I would imagine, what are your thoughts?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 28 2006 at 14:16

ISB are a band I think are a glaring omission on the site- it's perhaps true that the whole 'prog/acid folk' genre would have been a very different beast, indeed may not have existed at all, if not for ISB. Bands that arguably followed in their wake such as Forest, Comus and Dr Strangely Strange are here- why not the founding fathers of the genre?? Either 'proto prog' or 'prog folk' is a perfect genre for this most groundbreaking of bands.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 28 2006 at 14:39

Love this band, they have somewhat of a stereotypial sound which I adore! they definitely fill out a void in my collection, nice variety of styles, instrumentation and transition from song to song on each album,

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 28 2006 at 15:02
Originally posted by salmacis salmacis wrote:

ISB are a band I think are a glaring omission on the site- it's perhaps true that the whole 'prog/acid folk' genre would have been a very different beast, indeed may not have existed at all, if not for ISB. Bands that arguably followed in their wake such as Forest, Comus and Dr Strangely Strange are here- why not the founding fathers of the genre?? Either 'proto prog' or 'prog folk' is a perfect genre for this most groundbreaking of bands.

I agree with you!!!

The sound of The Incredible String Band was an original mixture of acid/folk, psychedelic rock, avant-garde music, Celtic melodies and some blues, with exotic, North African and Indian influences. I have these albums on CD:

  1. The Incredible String Band (1966)
  2. The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1968)
  3. The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion (1967)
  4. I Looked Up (1969)

They have one of the best cover art-work of the psychedelic era:

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 29 2006 at 05:08

^^^^^^

I am not quite so positive as you areabout them neing that prog, but inb the light of other groups included, it would be hard to exclude them

they are rather difficult, dissonant ans as Jim said, out of tune

definitely not my cup of tea, but they are incredibly influential

if I like Comus , Spirigyra and Tea And Symphony's vocals, I find ISB just too much, weird and a repellant

please know that I am a Wyrd folk fan, but ISB is not for me, yet

Would not oppose their inclusion, though

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 29 2006 at 09:58
Aren't TISB the epitomy of the psychedelic folk band, and therefore perhaps tuning up still abiding to a true hippy philosophy of life, lacks important? I saw The Duotones in Sheffield about 3 years ago, with ex Beefheart player Gary Lucas with one of his psychedelic heroes Peter Stampfel on fiddle, renown as former leader of the NYC based psychedelic bluegrass band Holy Modal Rounders (check out your Easy Rider OST). Stampfel true to his old hippy roots was indulging in some powerful Dutch botany before the start of the set, and clearly hadn't bothered to tune his violin (or was that bothered) for the performance. However, TISB's Robin Williamson has had two albums released on the hallowed and occasionally perfectionist ECM labels in the last 5 years.........
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 15 2006 at 18:57
Sound like a very intresting band to me. I wanna check them out some day.
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