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Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.

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The Shambles 23 Jan 99 - 05:17 PM
RWilhelm 23 Jan 99 - 06:10 PM
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The Shambles 23 Jan 99 - 07:11 PM
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Subject: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 05:17 PM

I have been writing here about artists that I like or have influenced me in some way and I have been feeling a little guilty lately when I realised that for some reason, I have not mentioned the artists who were probably the single most important influence.

I refer to The Incredible String Band. Mike Heron and Robin Williamson were responsible for creating some of the most original and exciting music to come out of the 60s and 70s. Their fusion of instruments and styles from every part of the world were to influence many people and opened lots of doors for the artists that followed their ground-breaking lead.

Not everything they tried actually came off. One of the reasons for this I would suggest is they insisted in surrounding themselves with people (and partners) who didn't share their musical skills and their reach always exceeded their grasp. Although they both continue to perform and have recently played together again, it was that magic period when they seemed to spur each other to creative heights, that I remember most fondly..................... I would like to thank them.

There I feel better now. Is there anyone else out there that feels the same?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: RWilhelm
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 06:10 PM

I feel the same. It was extremely exciting for me to hear acoustic music that adventurous in the 60s. You're right that not everything worked but it was also because they were doing things that had never been done before. I think "10,000 Spirits" is still a masterpiece, I wore out one vinyl copy. I still occasionally sing and play "Gently Tender" or "First Girl I Loved."

I saw Robin Williamson solo about 10 years ago playing guitar, harp, and pipes doing mostly traditional songs and telling stories. It was mesmerising.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 06:10 PM

I loved the band, and enjoy Robin in his new career as a harp-playing storyteller. His unusual height and aggressive playing style give him an amazing presence onstage.

I and others I know were put off by his dalliance with Ron Hubbard & Co. this hits a nerve with librarians, as books critical of hubbard and Scientology tend to get trashed in libraries.

Anybody know more about this?

Mary Ann


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Helen
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 06:56 PM

Hi all,

It's funny that I was just talking to someone last night about the ISB. He has just discovered Robin Williamson's storytelling and now wants to know more about his earlier stuff. I have the double album "U" which is possibly a compilation of a few years work. Anyone know?

My favourites include the song which starts: I know you, through and through, saw you kiss the flowers, for hours & hours.

I also remember hearing the Earthspan vinyl album and loving that one.

I agree that they were groundbreakers - and maybe, for me, that's why some of their also didn't work perfectly, because they were experimenting all the time. And some things work, some don't, but it's all interesting stuff.

I have a couple of Robin Williamson's vinyl records: Winter's Turning (I think that's the name of it) and another one based on the Mabinogion, a music/drama performance in Wales, I think. (My vinyls are packed away and a bit inaccessible).

So, count me in on the fan club - I've been an admirer of theirs since the early 70's.

Also I used to be a librarian but I don't know about librarians trashing L. Ron Hubbard or his books. Some library clients would verbally trash his stuff, but other clients wouldn't, and it isn't the place of librarians to censor clients' reading material (if it isn't downright pornographic or violent) No, please, don't start the censorship discussion here.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 07:11 PM

There is a site where you may be able to find the answers to your questions Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From:
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 10:22 PM

Yes, I lived on their first three albumes. I liked the inocence of the first one but do feel The 500 layers Of The Onion will always hold the biggest place in my heart. Ah thoughs days when going for a walk with a girl was everything and no one wanted to know what a date was.Hard to discribe to anyone who didn't live thruogh it!It's amazing how meny musicions have a secret place for those records. Thanks for bringing them up. Remember THe Old Falks FRom Home by Taj Mahal ?Same time and inspired alot of peaple to find old Banjo's and national guitars.{Sorry I had to add that} Cheers...


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From:
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 11:25 PM

Yes, I lived on their first three albumes. I liked the inocence of the first one but do feel The 500 layers Of The Onion will always hold the biggest place in my heart. Ah thoughs days when going for a walk with a girl was everything and no one wanted to know what a date was.Hard to discribe to anyone who didn't live thruogh it!It's amazing how meny musicions have a secret place for those records. Thanks for bringing them up. Remember THe Old Falks FRom Home by Taj Mahal ?Same time and inspired alot of peaple to find old Banjo's and national guitars.{Sorry I had to add that} Cheers...


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Barbara
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 01:12 AM

Oh, I was an Incredible String Band fan from way back. The first album I have has a third guy, Clive? Clyde? someone on it(I could go walk inside and look). I love October Song, the Hedgehog Song, Painting Box, and I still hear pieces from The Hangman's Lovely Daughter (is that right?) Lines about Maya (dust be diamonds, water be wine, happy happy happy all the time time time), and a fine old pig, eat most anything, didn't care a fig, gone like snow on the mountain, goodbyeeee, or the lines about "who would mouse and who would lion and who would answer clearly, who would ... steal the crystallized ginger?" And what about the Minotaur? (his features are incredibull)
I bought a double compilation album, "the Best of.." and that must have been sometime in the '70s, and somehow we parted company after that. I haven't heard any of their more recent stuff.
Thanks, Shambles, for some fond memories.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Ritchie
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 05:11 AM

Nice one Shambles, I fondly remember listening to John Peel,on, I think it was, a sunday afternoon, with my old twin track reel to reel tape machine.At the time it was between 'Tyranosaurus Rex' and 'The Incredible String Band' for my affections.

Often ,when under the guise of tidying up the cellar, I get the trusty old tape m/c out and the mind floats back to those days. aargh yes it's better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick... love and happiness Ritchie


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 08:56 AM

I succumbed to the temptation a fortnight ago to replace vinyl with CD when I found The 5,000 Spirits Or The Layers of the Onion (some inflation and deflation has been going on here in the thread) and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter in the shop.

The song Maya was on the Wee Tam and the Big Huge double album, which I would also like to get hold of. I've got most of their other albums, up till "U", when I felt the acting side was taking precedence over the music. Without the visuals, the music didn't quite it, though some songs were still pretty good.

Funnily enough, I don't care for Robin Williamson as a solo artist (or with the Merry Band) in recordings, though I'm sure he's mesmerising in person. Perhaps it was the spark between Williamson and Heron that worked best. Clive (was he a Williamson too?) dropped out after that first album.

Robin's brother, the late Roy, was a member of The Corries for many, many years and of course contributed the song, Flower of Scotland.

I saw the ISB in concert back in the late 60s and was surprised at some of the people who turned out for it. Whether they look back with the same pleasure as I do, I'm not sure, but on the whole I doubt it. One singer/musician here who listened to their stuff thought they were awful.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Earl
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 11:29 AM

Right, it was 5,000 spirits. I must have doubled it because I had two copies. The third member of the original band was Clive Palmer who.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Earl
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 11:30 AM

That's Clive Palmer. Not Clive Palmer who.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 06:39 PM

Yes, I'd forgotten Clive was a Palmer, so thank's for the prompt.

I received an interesting comment from my long-suffering father this evening. It's because of my father and his collection of very varied music and his willingness to listen to anything available that my own musical awareness seems to be fairly wide.

My father loved the opera, classical and jazz records I bought, and the pop and soul records. He loved The Dubliners' records - still does - and came with me to several of their concerts. He used to love scanning the radio dial and we often sat and listened to concerts of sitar music or other world music (as they call it now).

However (there was bound to be one of those), I mentioned earlier in the thread that I'd replaced my vinyl copies of The 5,000 Spirits and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. This evening, for auld lang syne, I played "Koeeaddi There" on my programme on Manx Radio (live streaming on Real Audio!!!).

When I was in the pub with my father this evening, he remarked on the track by the singer who was slightly out of tune all the way through - but he remembered it from my inflicting it on the family when our centre of entertainment was the old Dansette. Robin Williamson, of course, who I admit was actually no great shakes as a singer, and whom I prefer in company with Mike Heron, because by himself, I have to agree with my father!!

I probably put the cat amongst the pigeons when playing Country Joe & The Fish - their song, "Sweet Lorraine", turned up in a thread recently, and Phillippa from Scotland (I assume) was surprised that I was a fan of them. I'm not sure why. After listening to one of their rambling, contemplative pieces, I remarked to my parents that it was obviously about drugs. They were worried about how I would know!

They were generally very long-suffering about my taste in music, mainly because it was (and is) so eclectic. Actually, eclectic means choosing good things. I don't think I can really claim that. I'm quite willing to concede that some of the things I like have very few redeeming features.

But the thing my father hated beyond everything was "The Gift" by The Velvet Underground, despite John Cale's Welsh accent, and my father a keen student of the Welsh language.

This probably is a switch to the thread about "The World Turned Upside Down" by now. But thanks for raising the ISB, and it's so ironic when I've just got them on vinyl in the past two weeks.

Mish, lesh firrinys,

Bobby Bob


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: walkeri@pwgsc.gc.ca
Date: 27 Jan 99 - 03:36 PM

Absolutely agree. I visited London in 1967, and my cousins were raving about the group. I heard the Incredible String Band in person in a basement joint in Soho, and I have liked their music ever since. Can't say that it always travelled - I brought the record back to Canada and my friend Dougal [the one with the stringy long blonde hair] was apt to call them the incredibly stringy band. but I still have two of their original LPs and haul them out once a year. The layers of the onion in particular hits me right here.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Jan 99 - 01:26 AM

I was one of a vast number of long-haired, bluejean clad Americans who invaded Europe in the summer of 1972,thanks to $149 round trip airfares on Icelandic airways. I first heard the music of the Incredible String Band in a sunlit courtyard in Holland. That sound will always be associated in my mind with the sunshine,smiles,hashish aromas and white wine of that afternoon...a sound that was at the same time haunting,innocent,funny and definitely exotic. I was also introduced to a band called Pentangle during my stay. Vivid memories of a beautiful young girl dancing by herself to "Basket of Light" by that group.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: howa1_97@worc.ac.uk
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 07:23 AM

please can you help me work out some of ISB's songs, please, please! I am really quite desperate you know! Alex (howa1_97@worc.ac.uk)


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 08:38 AM

I was not familiar with ISB but I had heard so many wonderful things such as have been expressed in the previous posts that I had to check them out for myself, so I bought "Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" without having heard it first. After all, so many people couldn't be wrong.

The effort struck me as an example of the dismal failure possible when psychedelia is imposed on a "free association" approach to musical structure, a "what not to do" instruction manual for chemically refreshed musicians tempted to commit to celluloid whatever pops into their head. In that is the only thing I could find of any socially redeeming value.

But then again, I am always willing to entertain the possibility that I totally missed the point. It wouldn't be the first time. Maybe I just don't get it. This coming from someone who thinks Neil Young doesn't belong in the "Neil Young Home For The Terminally Screwed," but ISB does.

If we were all the same forums like this would not be so interesting. My opinion, for the two cents it's worth.

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 01:34 PM

Each to their own Neil, but I think to be fair, it should be mentioned that the record you refer to is 30 years old and being viewed a little out of it's context.

The main part of their appeal for me is that their reach always exceeded their grasp and the influence they had of those that were to follow.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: puzzled
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 06:08 PM

I was turned on to ISB when i first started college in 1967. The man who presented them to me will forever be a friend. I love their work still. And even perform the Cousin Catepillar song from time to time
I thank them for what they gave to me through their music
Two quotes from their songs that i say frequently "happy, happy, happy all the time, time, time"
and "Amoebas are very small"


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Helen
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 12:34 AM

Neil,

My best advice, before totally giving up on ISB, is to put the record on and play it over and over in the background while you are doing something else. After a few listens you might find yourself wanting to hear a particular song again and then you might listen to the record a few more times and start getting hooked on a few more songs.

It's a lot like listening to Joni Mitchell or Tim Buckley or Jeff Buckley or Tom Waits for the first time. My first reaction to all of these was "Oh my God, what is that awful racket?" and then all of their music grew on me to the point where I either appreciate it for its innovation (analytical viewpoint) or I absolutely love it (emotional/artistic reaction).

Actually I didn't even wait for Jeff Buckley's music to grow on me before I bought the CD because I thought, being Tim's son, I would grow to like it anyway.

ISB experimented with a lot of instruments and styles from around the world and were probably "instrumental" (excuse the rather obvious pun) in getting other musicians hooked on the range of music and the enormous possiblities of what is now referred to as World music, including the fusion of World music with mainstream rock/pop music etc etc.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 09:51 AM

Okay Helen, you convinced me. Like I said in my previous post, it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about something. If I can still find it. I tried to give it away and couldn't. It's buried amongst other orphaned recordings. There was only one song that appealed to my ear out of the whole set and I don't quite remember the title, something like "Three Is A Perfect Crown" or "Green Is A Perfect Crown." And I am pretty musically diverse, I think. I have a lot of stuff that other people would not even consider music because I hear music and rhythm in everything from the washing machine to absolute silence (if you are lucky enough to experience absolute silence, you will discover it has a distinct tone).

Note to thread purists: I would've sent this person a personal e-mail response if she had had an address listed in the Mudcat e-mail list.

Regards, Neil


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Subject: Lyr Add: EMPTY POCKET BLUES (Clive Palmer)
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 05:04 PM

Neil,

I have three ISB LP's including "U". I was disappointed by two of them stopped following them. My interest was initially perked by reviews and by two songs I heard. The first is still in my repertoire "Empty Pocket Blues" (not "that one" the other one by ISB). The other was the "Smoke Shovelling Song." I enjoyed the song, but it is too drug-focused for me to sing.

There was not much else I liked or understood. Perhaps you and I didn't do enough marijuana in the '60's and '70's.

Here's the song I still do.


1. My pocket's empty, baby,
Just singing the blues for you.
My pocket's empty, baby,
You know I loved you true.
And even my old kettle,
Is whistlin' the blues for you.

CHORUS: Back again, I'm still waitin',
Back again with you.

2. Nights are lonely, baby,
And I need you all, all the time,
And I'm lonely, baby,
And I need your lips on mine,
And even my old kettle,
Is whistlin' the blues for you. CHORUS

REPEAT FIRST VERSE AND CHORUS


It has a great little tune that is bluesy but not your standard 12-bar blues.

Big RiB


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Helen
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 07:03 PM

Hi again Neil,

I can't understand why you couldn't find my e-mail: I am listed in the Mudcat e-mail list from the Send a Personal Message page. I just checked to make sure.

Besides, I don't think that your message needed to be sent personally because it is part of this discussion (in my opinion). And I can't imagine that ISB enthusiasts would react too much to BS...correct me if I am wrong, guys.

Even when you do try out my method for listening to ISB you still may not like them but that's the way that I started to appreciate their music. It's a bit like thread creep, it just crept up on me slowly and suddenly (it seemed sudden) I was aware of how much I liked them.

They are a bit erratic when you listen to lots of their stuff - some is good, some brilliant, some clever, some boring, some just a downright waste of time (for me personally) but taken on the whole that is what happens when people experiment in a wildly creative way with music and lyrics.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: John Nolan
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 07:11 PM

I agree Roger - Empty Pocket Blues is classic, but it was written by banjo player Clive Palmer, who left the ISB after the first (and probably best) album, and before Mike Heron stumbled into the Church of Scientology which had set up a base in Edinburgh in the late '60s. Clive went on to form COB (Clive's Own Band)and issued an album called Moshe McStiff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart, a record mostly remarkable for containing a song predicting the downfall of Ethiopian Emperor H.S. By the time they got to "U" the ISB were not just a huge disappointment but a gigantic embarassment on stage - e.g. Candleriggs in Glasgow. (Groans at memory)


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 08:23 PM

Just as a matter of interest. Clive Palmer and Robin Williamson have been playing again together, recently.

I think there is more on this to be found on the link to the website, to be found earlier in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 08:57 PM

Or better still click here http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/square/ac455/fountain.html


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: cathy
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 01:44 PM

wee Tam and Big Huge were found by me on a CD and they brought back wonderful memories of sitting under a blnket a at the old commune singing every note from memory. Stuck to our brains like oatmeal... rather our brains WERE oatmeal maybe. As I sing along, my younger friends just don't get it.

doot dah do-doot DaH do-doot DAH...

.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 02:52 PM

Hey, LEJ -- I remember Pentangle, too. I don't remember any of their music, just as I don't remember actual ISB songs. But I lisetened to both of them a lot. I remember the one ISB line, "And he attained enlightenment by a blow to the head," which occasionally I interject when someone has taken a bump on the noggin. People just think I'm being deeply weird, but the occasional non-sequitur never hurt nuttin.

ww


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 06:12 PM

Whilst listening to Wee Tam And The Big Huge, I was reading 'The Lord Of The Rings for the first time. I have read it many times since and when I read now I can still hear all those tunes in my head. The atmosphere created was just right somehow.

ww.

Were those lines from 'Hiram Pornitoff The Highwayman', from U?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 11:21 AM

Shambles: In response to your observation that I might have taken ISB's music out of context - most everything I listen to is thirty years old or sounds like it is at least thirty years old, so I would have been comparing ISB to most of the other stuff I listen to.

Regards, (S.I.T.S.)Neil (Stuck In The Sixties)


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Barbara
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 01:07 PM

I agree with those that say the music grows on you. I was working on an underground newspaper when I first ran into the ISB, and my first reaction was similar to Neil's, something like, "What are those awful singers -- can't even carry a tune-- nattering on about forever?"
However, some of the lyrics sort of perked down into the substrata of my mind and they seem to be irrevocably lodged there now -- if you look at Art's birthday thread, you will see I ended my post with "Happy happy happy all the time time time", which is the end of the couplet that starts "Dust be diamonds, water be wine..."
I think they appeal sort of like nursery rhymes do (nursery rhymes for 60's chronic adolescents?)
I'm not sure how many of you other musician types have your subconscious talk to you in song, but mine certainly does. I will find myself at a social gathering talking to a friend, and as I head to the buffet, I'll be humming. If I stop and pull the tune up into my conscious mind, I'll find I'm singing "You don't know, you don't know my mind, baby, baby...you may think that I'm laughin' but I'm just tryin' to keep from cryin'"
Huh, I say to myself. It hadn't occurred to me, but that was what I was feeling. The ISB is one of the main players in this concert. Lines like:
"Rulers like to lay down laws,
and rebels like to break them
The poor priests like to lie in chains
And God likes to forsake them
Or,"You know all the notes and you sing all the words,
but you never quite learned the song she sung
And I can tell by the sadness in your eyes
You never quite learned the song." Like many of the others, I listened to the first albums most, and they lost me later on with the cult stuff. And maybe it a function of the '60s and the subculture and the drugs. However, they sing to me still, in my own mind's voice.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: AndyG
Date: 15 Jul 99 - 08:00 AM

I've left this thread alone until now just browsing it as it's recurred but Barbara's post makes me want to add my bit.

I'm firmly of the opinion that the ISB's words did sink deeply into the memories of the folk who saw them at the time and in their place. This seems to be confirmed by the various postings by "persons of a certain age" above :)

Still with me now certainly; An October doesn't go by without singing October Song; I never see a hedghog but the words of The Hedgehog's Song pop into my mind.
And at other times:
Everything's Fine Right Now, First Girl I Loved, Invocation, Log Cabin Home in the Sky, Maybe Someday, Painting Box, Way Back in the 1960's, When the Music Starts to Play, You Get Brighter.
These might be my favourite ISB songs. They're the ones I can remember at the moment anyway.

I believe that the songs stay with us because they have such gentle lyrics combined with a good level of humour.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: John Nolan
Date: 24 Jul 99 - 10:56 AM

Shambles - many thanks. Following your link above led to http://www.thebeesknees.com which is Pig's Whisker Music in Chesterfield, England. I ordered "At The Pure Fountain" (April 1999)by Robin and Clive - it arrived in New Hampshire about a week later, and has all traditional tracks like Tramps and Hawkers, Rise When the Rooster Crows and Wae's Me for Prince Chairlie. The best ISB recording in 30 years! Highly recommended.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Pete Curry
Date: 24 Jul 99 - 08:57 PM

Most of their "mythico-shmithico" stuff was wasted on me but their straight-ahead "First Girl I Loved" is a classic and remains one of my all-time favorite songs.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Feb 00 - 09:50 AM

They are re-forming for The UK Cropedy (Fairport) Festival in August!

More details here. Be Glad etc


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Jorn Barger
Date: 12 Feb 00 - 07:14 PM

I have a page with links to almost everything ISB-related on the Net:

ISB resources


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,artnsole1?@aol.com
Date: 13 Feb 00 - 10:56 AM

can recomend "smiling men with bad reputations"by mike heron does anyone know what happened to the ladies who sang with them? one became a mayoress in wales-the other?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 13 Feb 00 - 11:53 PM

What wonderfull music to grow up to. I did love there first three records the most. I still sing "Oh lord how happy I am" though I dont drink wiskey anymore. "The first Girl I loved" still hits me hard. They gave us all a sence of intuitive, open music that was about much more then the drug culture.A friend of mine who is a wonderfull fiddle player often remenices with me about the inspiratin these guys brought to our early musical awakening.. Lots of thanks to I.S.B.and thanks Shambles for bringing up the memories!!!.I saw them in Cambridge Mass. with a beautiful blond to week I got back to Boston from Wales, in the sring of 1971. What a time!!! Peace and Love , Guy


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Brendy
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 12:37 AM

"You get brighter every day, and every time I see you"
It's been a long time.

But how come ANON up there don't have a guest in front of his name. Quite a neat little trick!!


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 10:08 AM

Brendy, ANON posted last century when Mudcat had no GUESTs yet.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Peg
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 10:30 AM

Neil; that song you are trying to recall is "Three is a Green Crown." I actually sing occasionally with a band called Green Crown! and when we perform that song it is in a very psychedelic, slow, sensual arrangment which does not sound all that much like the original... The members of the group live far and wide and usually converge in the summers to perform the pagan festival circuit...the band's founder is a huge ISB fan...

peg


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: voyager
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 07:46 PM


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: voyager
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 07:51 PM

Lay down my dear sister Won't you lay and take your rest Won't you lay you head Upon your savior's breast.

'Cause I love you But Jesus loves you the best And I wish you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

One of these mornings bright and early and fine Goodnight, Goodnight Not a cricket nor a spirit gonna shout me down Goodnight, Goodnight

And I'll go walking thru the shadow of the valley of death Goodnight, Goodnight And I'll go walking thru Jerusalem just like John Goodnight, Goodnight

My rod and my staff shall comfort me Goodnight, Goodnight John the wise, he's so divine

et cetra

A PERSONAL FAVORITE, FOR MANY YEARS SUNG AS A LULLABY TO MY KIDS IF I COULD ONLY REMEMBER THE SEQUENCE OF LYRICS (sigh!)

voyager FSGW Ghetto East Silver Spring, MD.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 01:22 PM

Incredible String Band Lyrics


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Lanfranc
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 01:57 PM

Thanx, shambles. I was wondering why Empty Pocket Blues didn't appear, but, as it was written by Clive Palmer not Heron or Williamson, that could be why.

Scope here for a few more revivals.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: john c
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 03:02 PM

Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate!!!!>
Nothing - but absolutely nothing - has even come close to capturing the originality, inventivness and, the only word for it, magic of the first five Increds albums.
They certainly arent easy-listening - and the only way really to get into them is to give them a fair chance and listen to them a few times with an exceptionally open mind.
But then, slowly but surely, if you´re lucky, very small amoebas, cousin catarpillars, witches hats, minotaurs, not to mention assorted puppies and hedgehogs, will start following you around too. Believe me - its worth it!!
See ya,
John


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Wolfgang
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 07:19 AM

great link indeed. I have waited for a long time that someone would start that work.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 08:31 AM

My older sister put The Hedgehog Song on the turntable to help soothe me through a high school unrequited love, back in 1970. I played it over and over that week. In 1975, I played the album for a friend who thought it was awful, and then said, "listen to this - it's much better" - and put on Steeleye Span's "Below The Salt" LP. After that, there was no looking back at the ISB for me. An unfair comparison, I know, but back then I tended to think of the ISB as a largely pseudo-kinda-medieval group, and naturally, listening to Steeleye Span for me was a major step up, and a revelation.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Michael the tenor with the Chancers
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 01:30 PM

Thanks for the posts about ISB. To this day, when I approach a river or a stream, I sing to myself:"Water, water, heaven's daughter. Teach me the lesson of flowing."m.littwin@comcast.net
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 01:48 AM

A few years ago - I was driving along singing the merry ditty 'My Name Is Death' to find that I had Barnes Cemetary on both sides of me............The dead centre of London.

Since then it has always been a cemetary song.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 12:47 PM

I always thought that Clive Palmer kept the other two's feet on the ground and after he moved on they went a bit too aery faery.I still do a lot of stuff off the first album,along with Hedghog,the only one I do off 5000 spirits.The reunion the other year sadly didnt fly at all.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,BUTTERFLY
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 11:01 AM

Amazingly, since I am a major ISB Fan, I only now noticed this thread which began in early 1999. Unfortunately I didn't follow the ISB from the beginning, and I first bought one of their LPs ("Liquid Acrobat as Regards the Air" in December 1971 because I liked the look of the album cover, I believe (I was pretty experimental, or naive, then!). I thought it was pretty good in a standard sort of light rock way. Then a friend played his copy of "Wee Tam and the Big Huge" in summer 1972 and I thought it was tremendous. That autumn I started buying up their albums. Of course they only kept going until 1974. No Ruinous Feud was the only album I didn't like and I later sold it.

They say that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren't there; well I can and I was, but some of the people posting to this thread sound like they weren't (ONLY JOKING); being of a pedantic nature I can't resist pointing out these errors:

(1) The title of their 2nd album was "5000 Spirits or Layers of Onions" and Clive is Clive Palmer (as someone has already pointed out).
(2) The late Roy Williamson of the Corries was NOT Robin's brother, though I think they may have lived near each other in Edinburgh. Apparently Robin's father was originally from Co. Armagh in Northern Ireland (where I live) and once or twice I think I can hear an Ulster pronunciation of a word or two). When the ISB started I thought Robin had a fairly "posh" accent but as he has got older it has become more Scottish.
(3) It's the Hangman's Beautiful (not Lovely) Daughter). This seems to be generally regarded as their finest album, the equivalent of the Beatles "Sergeant Pepper". Naturally, since I prefer "Abbey Road" to the latter, I prefer "Wee Tam and The Big Huge" (which I first heard as a double album in 1972 although they were originally released separately as "Wee Tam" and "The Big Huge".

The 2nd album is called "The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion" and marks a transition to more psychedlic stuff. Although I prefer WT&TBH and also "U" this is still a great album.

(4) On "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" "A Very Cellular Song" has the lyrics "Who would mouse and who would lion, and who would be the tamer". There is a track called "Three is a Green Crown" on this which at first I thought was a misprint for "There is a Green Crown". Maya is a long "song"(9+ minutes; they used to do quite a lot of these, which because of the variety never bored me) on "The Big Huge". "Dust Be Diamonds" was on "Changing Horses", as was "Big Ted" (the lyrics were "He'd eat most anything, never wore a wig" and "He's gone like snow on the water, Goodbyeee").

(4) On "The Hedgehog's Song" on 5000 Spirits, etc, the lyrics are:

"Oh you know all the WORDS and you SUNG all the notes,
but you never quite learned the song she sung
I can tell by the sadness in your eyes
That you never quite learned the song."


My own favourite songs are "October Song" from the 1st album (not just because I was born in October - I think I bought it in February 1973) but because of the great guitar accompaniment and the lyrics:

"I used to search for happiness
And I used to follow pleasure
But I found a door behind my mind
And that's the greatest treasure

For rulers like to lay down laws
And rebels like to break them
And the poor priests like to walk in chains
And God likes to forsake them"

If pressed, I would nominate this as the best song of all time (not just by the ISB) but of course that's just my opinion. Dandelion Blues on the same album though more upbeat has a great guitar accompaniment. However "Ducks on a Pond", the last track on "Wee Tam" is perhaps even more moving than "October Song"; I think if one was given the choice of a song to die to (assuming that the passage was peaceful) this is the one I would choose (Not just yet folks!).

The mandolin break on "A very Cellular Song" is just divine. There is a whole side of great instrumentals on "Be Glad for the Song has No Ending". In a way, if I can avoid being quoted in Private Eye magazine's "Pseuds Corner", all their songs are "love" songs, in that they are generally done with such love and care. Aery Faery they are not - they might be ethereal but have a pretty definite and distinctive feel.

I suppose I could recommend all their albums up to their break except No Ruinous Feud, although after 1970 they got less original. The albums are: 1st; 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion; The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter; Wee Tam and The Big Huge; Changing Horses; I Looked Up; U; Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending. The latter is also the name of a film starring members of the ISB which was made into a Video a few years back though I don't know if they are still available. It was produced by Austin John Marshall, ex (I think) husband of Shirley Collins.

I don't think people who haven't heard them should get the idea they are musically undisciplined; don't confuse complexity with laziness. They don't paly out of tune/key/rhythm, although these can often be deliberately varied. Some of their best songs can be quite simple, eg Mike Heron's "Greatest Friend" on "The Big Huge" with just acoustic guitar and harmonica, which is very reminscent of the style of early Bob Dylan.

I may be wrong, but I think Smoke Shovelling Song should be taken at face value as light hearted song rather than being "drug-focused" etc. Not only do you not have to take drugs to appreciate them (as an unrepentant "square" I can say this honestly) but I think also the affect of drugs on musical creativity is over-rated. Obviously you need the basic talent. If I was to get high on cocaine or marijuana or whatecver it certainly wouldn't turn me into a brilliant song writer or performer. Robin Williamson was obviously steeped in the traditional music of the British Isles and Mike Heron was into Rhythm and Blues, etc, before they teamed up.

Criticisms of Robin Williamson's voice amaze me. I suspect 90% of folk and rock singers may not bear comparison technically with Pavorotti (Surprised there wasn't a joke in Hale and Pace: "I hate Pavorotti". "I hate all Italian food") but that's not the point. Imagine Pavarotti trying ISB Stuff. I don't think many people could have carried sonsg like October song, Womankind (from 1st album) or My Name is Death, from 5000 Spirits, the way Robin did.

The 2 (main) females associated with ISB were Rose Simpson and Christina (Licorice/Likky) McKechnie. The former was I think the partner of a Liberal or Liberal Democrat Mayor of Aberystwyth (I don't think they were married) and as a result became known as the Lady Mayor, some years ago. Licorice unfortunately went missing without trace some years ago in the USA and no-one knows whether she is alive or not (I think she had bouts of depression). Her sister has been appealing over the Internet, etc, for news but I think so far nothing has come up.

Most of the information above not available on the albums I got from reading the ISB fanzine "Be Glad" which came out for a few years before ceasing publication about a year or two ago. I think that there is a website for Be Glad as well as an offical and no doubt some unofficial ISB websites.

The ISB reformed with the 3 original personnel (Robin williamson, Mike Heron and Clive Palmer) about 2 years ago and have already iosued an album. I think Clive's choice of aongs and playing is among the best bits of their recent stuff album, though I also like the new arrangements of old songs like "Just Like the Ivy". I remember being stuck in a car park due to the volume of traffic for about 30 minutes after a fireowrk display on the Millennium Eve evening (31st December 1999) and having my sanity saved by listening to Just Like the Ivy in the car. The banjo accompaniment (which I later found out was "Whistling Rufus") is just great.

In summary, the ISB is not everyone's cup of tea, though you don't need to be a hippy (ageing or otherwise) to appreciate them; probably few if any of them are immediately appealing to a majority. Conversely the best of their songs are the sort which one can still greatly enjoy many years later. In a way the person who suggested their songs were like children's songs was on the right track; I suppose Robin in particular might say we are all grown up children (and why should adults lose the child's sense of wonder?).

Quite a few better known performers have acknowledged influence by the ISB. Sorry I can't name them at present, just trust me that this is true according to what I have read.

Like the Beatles and so many other artists, musical or otherwise, they produced their best work in the early or mid years. I don't think they will ever hit the same highs but with luck they will continue to surprise me at least, eg with interesting arrangements of traditional or old time music hall type songs, etc.

Just to finish with the cliche that I have no connection with the band except as a satisfied customer, sorry lifelong fan. Oh, and I once got a postcard from Robin Williamson in response to a letter from me.

P.S. Unauthorised reproduction of any part of this masterpiece outside the Mudcat Forum will result in your grandmother being taken mysteriously ill. You will also receive a letter from my solicitors BASTARD, BASTARD, BASTARD & BASTARD.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Doktor Doktor
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 11:05 AM

Anyone know what became of David Porter?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 07:36 AM

Bless you, Butterfly.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 03:26 PM

Love the Merry Band stuff as well.......


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: belfast
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 10:40 AM

That's a great posting by Butterfly. A lovely bit of work. Here's a little snippet of information. Someone back there quotes 'The Goodnight Song' – Lay down, my dear sister etc. As most of you will already know they got it from the Pindar Family who recorded it on a great, great album, 'The Real Bahamas'.

I once had their first album on vinyl. It has long since disappeared but I recall an instrumental track on it by Clive Palmer, 'Jazzbo's Holiday'. Recently I got the album again, CD format, and I find that the track has been retitled rather offensively. Is my memory playing tricks?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 10:59 AM

No idea where 'Jazbo's Holiday' came from.

I assume that the instrumental referred to was the banjo tune that I had on vinyl here in the UK. This appeared - way back in the 1960s - (offensive or not) as 'Niggertown'. I am pretty sure that it is still called this on the CD that I have.

If it is the same tune - could it be that 'Jazbo's Holiday' is the re-title?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 11:05 AM

The Incredible String Band (1966)

Robin: October Song, Womankind, Dandelion Blues, Smoke Shovelling Song, Good As Gone
Mike: Maybe Someday, When the Music Starts To Play, The Tree, Oh Lord How Happy I Am, Can't Keep Me Here, Footsteps of the Heron, Everything's Fine Right Now
Clive: Empty Pocket Blues
Traditionals: Schaeffer's Jig, Whistle Tune, Niggertown


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Bloke in the Corner
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 02:06 PM

'October Song' is certainly one of the most beautifully melancholy songs ever written, I'd sing it myself but I just break down each time. Voltaire took loads more pages to say similar in 'Candide'. Robin Williamson came to a village hall in Lincolnshire about ten years ago and spellbound us all with tales and songs. And at the end he sang it. I'll never forget it - nor do I want to.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Andrew
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 03:32 PM

Shambles : On the John James Album I have Jazzbo's Holiday is attributed to 'Berryman' which I assume is Pete Berryman.

Its a song though not an instrumental. Would it be the same one ?

Weary wheatstraw took his bride
By the tender hand asked her without pride ..

etc




Andrew


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,big jake
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 02:45 AM

Its been mentioned above that one member of the ISB from the late 60´s period, Chistina `Licorice´McKechnie, has been officialy missing without trace since around 1990. She was last heard of in the Los Angeles area and was reportedly having some pretty bad personal problems. I dont suppose any LA ´catters know any more........the royalties must be mounting.........and she was a very, very magical singer.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 07:35 AM

Magical, ethereal...Likky's voice was certainly special..I'm sure many of us are concerned about her welfare..


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: belfast
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 09:07 AM

I was just about convinced that my memory had totally invented "Jazzbo's Holiday". Unfortunately my memory is not creative, merely incompetent. I did a quick search and came across this site Famous Jug Band
It seems that " Jazzbo's Holiday" a banjo/guitar duet was recorded by Clive Palmer and Robin Williamson on an LP "Edinburgh Folk Festival Vol. 1". (I wonder where my copy of that album went.) My memory, useless but plausible, shifted this track onto the first ISB album. Sorry about that.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 01:02 PM

I have the vinyl 1st Edinburg Folk Festival album and was going to post re Jazzbos Holiday , but as always was too late.I keep having a little dabble at it but get lost in the complexities of the banjo part far too early in the piece. All my friends agree that it would be a lot better if I learned how to PLAY the banjo,or preferably STOPPED playing the banjo.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: belfast
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 02:14 PM

Cherish that album. It's a collector's item, I'm sure. Mind you, I can barely remember what else is on it. Owen Hand singing "Going out for the First time". I remember that one. Is Ray Fisher on it? Archie? And why was Edinburgh producing so much great stuff at that time?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,BUTTERFLY
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 07:03 AM

As Andrew (Guest) has pointed out, Jazzbo's holiday is a song by Peter Berryman but sung by John James on his 1971 album called simply John James. However it is a fortuitous slip that brought to our attention another LP on which Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer play together. Despite getting and reading all the copies of "Be Glad", the ISB fanzine, I cannot remember hearing about this Edinburgh Folk Club Vol. 1 album. Does anyone know whether it is still obtainable?

Thanks to the people who appreciated my last posting about the ISB.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: belfast
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:03 AM

There's a copy on sale here Secondhand LPsfor about twenty quid. Maybe it's just me, but that seems a wee bit excessive.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,big jake
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:08 PM

Just refreshing this to see if there is any response to my posting (about 6 from the bottom), looking for any information about the missing Licorice....


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 06:52 PM

Some of the poetry of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson have helped me through toughest times in my life, particularily "White Bird", off Changing Horse, "October Song", and "The Tree" off their debut album. Although I haven't heard that album played in twenty years I can still hear it quite clearly. I also delight in singing the amusing "Amoebas are very small" section of Mike's "A Very Cellular Song".
I was recently pleased to find a website where the laddie has tried to write down many lyrics but he's got it not quite right in a few places in my opinion.
I was sad to find he gave up on The Tree by Mike Heron. He only wrote down this bit:
"I had a Tree, in the dream hills where my childhood lay.
And I'd go there in the wide, long days,
And my Tree would listen to all that I'd say.
And the sun was shining brightly,
and the sky was smiling."

But I 'm sure it went on something like:
"And then one day when the world had got me in its gloom,
And my life was just an empty tomb,
And the sky was fading dimly and the skies were crying
And then my tree bent its branches down low down to the ground....."

then tree'y made everything better again. Who knows the words?
I wish I could work out the chords to my favourite tunes October Song and the Tree. Can anybody give me a hint?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 07:10 PM

re 02 Nov 03 "Owen Hand singing...And why was Edinburgh producing so much great stuff at that time?"

It was so GREAT because I WAS THERE of course! Owen Hand was a great friend to all of us. One evening when we was visiting him Bert Jansch and John Renbourne dropped in on Owen and we sat around shovelling smoke. Tales were about when Robin Williamson and Bert Jansch toured the London folk scene together in the sixties. Then Clive Palmer, Owen Hand and Alan Jackson worked up a set of great new numbers together. But Clive did a runner and performed them with Robin Williamson and Mike Heron instead! Owen couldn't forgive Clive. So sadly the scene was divided between Owen Hand's friends and the friends of Clive, Robin and Mike. I was heart-torn on the borderline between them. It was sad that artists suffered in a time of Love and Peace. Perhaps time has healed wounds.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: BanjoRay
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 07:18 PM

October Song has a pretty simple sequence. I think Williamson used to use an open G tuning on his guitar (but don't quote me on that)
You, of course, would have to use the key you're comfortable singing with.
Cheers
Ray
G             C    G C    G
I'll sing you this october song
G    D            G
There is no song before it
G             C    G   C          G
The words and tune are none of my own
G      D                G
But my joys and sorrows bore it

G          G7      C       G
Beside the sea the brambly briar
D               G
In the shade of evening
G         C   G C       G
Birds fly out behind the sun
G   D                G
And with them I'll be leaving


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 05:33 AM

I think that it was open D for this song. Then the twiddly bit can be played on the top E string.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: belfast
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 07:41 AM

Interesting to hear the stories about Edinburgh. And,yes, October Song is played in open D though you can most of it in a dropped D tuning. There's a book by Happy Traum giving transcriptions and tablature for a lot of their stuff.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: BanjoRay
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:00 AM

Yes - you're right. I used to do it in open D many years ago. I just worked out the chords on the banjo - hence the confusion. Chords easily transposed to D from G. (think 1,4,5)
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 03:40 PM

Re the stories about Edinburgh, if this is going down in history I regret I made a mistake, when I said that in the sixties "Clive Palmer, Owen Hand and Alan Jackson worked up a set of great new numbers together". It wasn't Alan Jackson the poet, no it was Alan Mc...., er- Alan McAcannaeremember. But Alan was a big fan of "Death chants Blues and breakdowns". Alan gave up professional folk too and went into teaching. He became the headmaster of a school somewhere in the Borders.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 05:22 AM

Yes - you're right. I used to do it in open D many years ago. I just worked out the chords on the banjo - hence the confusion. Chords easily transposed to D from G. (think 1,4,5)

I think that the original recording was in G, in open D tuning but with the capo on the 5th fret.

Thanks to you posting the song - I was doodling along and played the song (and the twiddly bit) on the bouzouki. This was tuned GDAE. I was finger-picking and I found that it works very well.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:16 PM

Hey Banjo Ray, in D do you mean like this?:

OCTOBER SONG by Robin Williamson
D             G    D    G   
I'll sing you this October song
D          A             D
For there is no song before it.
D             G       D         G      
The words and tune are none of my own
D       A                D
For my joys and sorrows bore it.
D             D7    G       D
Beside the sea grows brambly briars
A                  D
In the still of evening.
D          G    D      G   
Birds fly out behind the sun
D       A             D
And with them I'll be leaving.

The fallen leaves that jewel the ground,
They know the art of dying,
And leave with joy their glad gold hearts
In the scarlet shadows lying.

When hunger calls my footsteps home,
And the morning follows after,
I'll swim the seas within my mind
And the pine-trees laugh green laughter.

I used to search for happiness
And I used to follow pleasure,
But I found a door behind my mind,
And that's the greatest treasure.

For rulers like to lay down laws
And rebels like to break them,
The poor priests like to walk in chains
And God likes to forsake them.

I met a man whose name was Time
And he said I must be going,
But just how long that was
I have no way of knowing.

Sometimes I'd like to murder time
Sometimes when my heart's aching,
But mostly I just stroll along
The path that he is taking.
_______________________________


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:51 PM

So Ray worked out October in open G banjo then D on guitar in open D; But Shambles thinks perhaps its key is G in open D + capo 5th. I think Banjo playing may have damaged my health too because I started on banjo then tried to play it slide guitar in C but in open G starting at 5th fret. It was kinda fun cos all the slides were like upside down. Then I decided it might be better if I just got a job.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 07:42 AM

Interesting to hear the stories about Edinburgh. And,yes, October Song is played in open D though you can most of it in a dropped D tuning. There's a book by Happy Traum giving transcriptions and tablature for a lot of their stuff.

I dug out a dusty copy of Happy Traum's book and this gives open D with capo on the 5th fret.

This also reminded me that I borrowed this book and should have really returned a long long time ago. Is it still possible to get this book?

Produced and distributed by Music Sales Corporation 33 West Street, New York 10023.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 09:21 PM

There is/are at least one (perhaps 2) books published about the ISB; I got a leaflet advertising one recently (probably from Pigs Whisker Music). Though I cannot find it at present, if anyone is interested I may be able to get hold of it. However if you look for "Incredible String Band" on the Internet and hence find the official websites, you can probably find out all about this. Sorry I have to break off as it is after 2 am.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Joybell
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 02:17 AM

These songs got me through some hard times too. "Good as Gone" and "October Song" still give me goose bumps. Joy


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 05:52 PM

1. belfast says "There's a book by Happy Traum giving transcriptions and tablature for a lot of their stuff", and The Shambles adds "I dug out a dusty copy of Happy Traum's book and this gives open D with capo on the 5th fret. Is it still possible to get this book? Produced and distributed by Music Sales Corporation 33 West Street, New York 10023.

3. On the web the only reference I can find is on that repeats "The Incredible String Band Songbook. Happy Traum, editor, published by Music Sales Corp., contains music from the first three albums and great photos plus"

however I can't find this book anywhere. Lists of Happy Traum's many books don't include it. Also Music Sales website doesn't include it. Was it published so long ago that it's out of print?

Hey Man, whose name was Time, have you seen copies for sale anywhere?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 10:03 AM

I used to play something even simpler, but Banjo Ray's GCGCG line made me look into the twiddley bits. So I bought a new CD of ISB on March 26 and studied it. However by looking up chord progressions and cadences, instead of GCGCG I get G C Em Am Em G.

October Song
by Robin Williamson

Instrumental opening of 24 beats:

1 [G] 2 [D7] 3 [G] 2 4 5 [D7] 6 [D] 7 8
9 10 [C] 11 12 13 [G] 14
15 16 17 18 19 [D7]
20 [G] 21 22 13 24

[G] I'll sing you [C] this [Em] Oct[Am]o[Em]ber [G] song
For there [D] is no song before [G] it.
The words and [C] tune [Em] are [Am] none [Em] of my [G] own
For my [D] joys and sorrows [G] bore it
Be[C]side the [G7] sea [G] grow [C] bram[Em]bly [G] briars
[D] In the still of eve[G]ning.
Birds fly [C] out [Em] be[Am]hind [Em] the [G] sun
And [D] with them [D7] I'll be [G] leaving

Those quick Em Am chords may look too complex but they're the music you're making already because you're singing some of the notes of those chords at the same time. Also they are what you're really playing in your twiddley bits.

After the Instrumental the second an fourth verse open with G G7 C G

[G] The fallen [G7] leaves [G] that [C] jewel the [G] ground,
They know the art of dying,
And leave with joy their glad gold hearts
In the scarlet shadows lying.
When hunger calls my footsteps home,
The morning follows after,
I swim the seas within my mind
And the pine-trees laugh green laughter.

After the Instrumental first and third verse open with G C Em G

[G] I used to [C] search for [Em] happi[G]ness
And I used to follow pleasure,
But I've found a door behind my mind,
And that's the greatest treasure.
For rulers like to lay down laws
And rebels like to break them,
And the poor priests like to walk in chains
And God likes to forsake them.

After the Instrumental second and fourth verse open with G G7 C G

I met a [G7] man [G] whose [C] name was [G] Time
And he said I must be going,
But just how long ago that was
I have no way of knowing.
Sometimes I want to murder time
Sometimes when my heart's aching,
But mostly I just stroll along
The path that he is taking.

END

__________________________________________________________________________


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 03:48 PM

"Is it still possible to get this book?:
The Incredible String Band Songbook. Happy Traum, editor, published by Music Sales Corp."
_____________________________

I found that Music Sales Corporation are now part of        
G. Schirmer Inc, 257 Park Ave South, New York, NY 10010, USA.
http://www.schirmer.com        
mailto:schirmer@schirmer.com

so I e-mailed this on 3/25/04
"On the Mudcat Web Forum many members are discussing music of The Incredible String Band (circa 1970) and some members have seen a book: The Incredible String Band Songbook. Happy Traum, editor, Band (circa 1970) published by Music Sales Corporation 33 West Street, New York 10023. Was that you? The book contains music from the bands first three albums and photos. However none of us can find this book anywhere. Lists of Happy Traum's many books don't include it. Neither the Music Sales international webite nor your website include it. Is it out of print? Is it still possible to get this book? Suggestions?"
_______________________________________________________

REPLY
They will not admit they ever even HAD the book, you have to fill-in the form below to even get them to LOOK for it:
In short their reply is just ask the person who has a copy [The Shambles] to photocopy it with their permission.
I wonder if Shambles could get permission to put it on the Mudcat website? Do like: "Oh! Oops, when I was making a copy on my scanner/copier I accidentally pressed the wrong button and it must have gone online by mistake. Oh deary -me, I'm terribly sorry mister Shirmer"

I live in the USA at the moment but you could try the UK adress at the bottom of this message
_____________________________________________________

Music Sales Corporation/G. Schirmer Inc.
Thank you for your interest in G. Schirmer's composers and publications. We have designed this FAQ to provide you with the most efficient answers to many questions. An HTML version of this FAQ can be found on our website at If you don't find the answers to your questions here, please contact our offices via mail, phone, fax or e-mail at the address below: G. Schirmer Promotion Department 257 Park Avenue South New York, NY 10010 phone: (212) 254-2100 fax: (212) 254-2013. E-mail: schirmer@schirmer.com (be sure to include the phrase Schirmer Promotion Department spelled exactly this way in the subject line of your e-mail)

Frequently Asked Question 1
I need music formerly published by G. Schirmer or AMP that is out of print. How do I get it?

If you already have access to a copy of an out-of-print work, it will be simpler, faster, and possibly cheaper to obtain permission to make your own photocopies, rather than asking us for archival photocopies (as long as it is a G. Schirmer/AMP publication). For this permission, please write to "Permissions" at the address below. You can also print our "Permission Request: Copy Out-of-Print Music" form () and fax it to the number on the form.
___________________________________________
Permission Request to Copy Out-of-Print Music
Please mail or fax this form to:
Aida Garcia-Cole, Print Licensing Manager
G. Schirmer, Inc.
257 Park Ave South, 20th floor
New York, NY 10010
Fax: 212 254-2013
Thank you for requesting permission to use our copyrighted material. Before we consider your request, please supply us with the following information:

_____________________________________________________________________
Your Name

_____________________________________________________________________
Organization

_____________________________________________________________________
Address

_____________________________________________________________________
City, State, Zip/Postal Code, Country

__________________________________   ________________________________
Phone Number                         E-mail address / Fax Number

_____________________________________________________________________
Title of the Composition
Mike Heron, Robin Williamson
_____________________________________________________________________
Name of Composer

"The Incredible String Band Songbook" edited by Happy Traum
published by Music Sales Corporation about 1970
_____________________________________________________________________
Title of Collective Work (if applicable)

_____________________________________________
Number of Copies to be Made

____________________________________________________________________
For Use In
Please attach additional pages for comments and clarifications. Your request will be considered for the necessary license. Our reply will include the acknowledgement which must appear under each copy made. Thank you for your interest in our music.
G. Schirmer/AMP Home Page
_____________________________________________________________________

Frequently Asked Question 2
I need music formerly published by G. Schirmer or AMP that is out of print. How do I get it?

If you are fairly sure that the music you need was published by G. Schirmer or AMP and that it is out of print, please make your request for archival photocopies in writing, by letter or fax (no phone calls or E-mail messages, please), to: Archive Dept. G. Schirmer, Inc. 257 Park Ave. South New York, NY 10010 fax (212) 254-2013
Please include as much identifying detail as possible: composer, title, publisher(s), instrumentation, date, plate numbers, catalog numbers, etc. If you are not certain that the music was published by G. Schirmer or AMP, please indicate your reasons for thinking that it might have been (this will help us locate the music).
In your request, please include your mailing address, an e-mail address and/or fax number if possible, and the number of copies you require.
If a copy can be located, a confirmation will be sent to you with a price quote for the music. Shorter items will typically cost $5.00 to $12.00 per copy; longer items will be more expensive. In addition, there will be copying & shipping charges usually between $3.50 and $5.00 (more for overseas shipping or heavier packages). Any additional questions about pricing should be addressed to the Archives Department in your written request.
Once you have responded to the confirmation, photocopies will be shipped to you along with an invoice. You may then pay by check or credit card (Visa/MasterCard only). Please note:
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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,davidkiddnet
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 06:53 PM

Well I see my last message put everybody off;
that was too much for a chat.
Sorry, I'll keep it more concise instead:
If anybody speaks to me again.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 04:15 AM

I've just acquired a CD called "O for Summer" by The Famous Jug Band which includes Clive Palmer on banjo.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,davidkiddnet
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 01:43 PM

It looks like I'm going to have to get photocopies of Happy Traum's book from the publishers archives, but since the publishers won't even tell me what the Contents are, I have to somehow tell them intuitively which pages to copy.
Back in March The Shambles dug out a dusty copy of Happy Traum's book: Which pages should I ask for? Like which pages actualy have scores on them. I don't want to have to pay for tables of chords or photos or advertisements. So which?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Dita
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 06:32 PM

There were in fact two books produced by this company.

The first used the cover of "Hangman" and contained all the songs from the first three albums.

A second edition of this was released with three of the songs from the first album replaced (including "Empty pocket Blues"), by three from "Wee Tam & the Big Huge" (including "Cousin Caterpiller").

The second had a green cover with ?four small pictures of band ? "Changing Horses" shoot. It contained songs up to "I Looked Up" (including "Black Jack Davy").

I'm afraid my copies of the first edition and the second book were "borrowed", in the seventies. I did however manage to buy a copy of the second edition in the 70s which I still have.(I got wise).

Given that a copy of Fairport Convention's first songbook, of the same vintage, sold on ebay for around £130.00 last year, your best bet is secondhand bookshops with a music section.

Cheers, Dita


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 08:44 PM

My book was the first one but the one I 'have' now seems to be the second edition of the first book.

A second edition of this was released with three of the songs from the first album replaced (including "Empty pocket Blues"), by three from "Wee Tam & the Big Huge" (including "Cousin Caterpiller").

Pages 18 - 112 of this book contain the songs.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Bentley
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 05:34 AM

An amazing Band!I last saw Robin and Mike at the Anvil in Basingstoke a couple of years ago and was still mesmerised. I have all their albums and still play them now,though I've burnt them onto CDs. I drive a taxi here in Basingstoke so you can imagine the comments I get! Hedgehog Song,Amoeba etc,pure magic.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,ShoeMole
Date: 17 Nov 05 - 09:57 AM

Ahh, the wonderful ISB. They are probably my favourite band and I have good fun working out my favourite songs. I can nearly play Ducks on a Pond now.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Bentley
Date: 18 Nov 05 - 08:32 AM

My girlfriend at the time thought that the ISB were definitely not of this planet. I took her to see them at the Rainbow at Finsbury,thinking that she would understand what they were about,and what do you know,she thought they were awful! Now,however,she plays them through choice.Sometimes.Life is weird.Long may the song have no ending. Thank you for the music ISB.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Scotus
Date: 18 Nov 05 - 10:10 AM

I remember Robin and Clive when they were just 'Robin and Clive' and shared a gig or two with them 'way back in the 1960s'. They were doing a mixture of celtic and old time music then - hadn't started writing their own stuff. It must have been about 1964 or 1965 because I was singing with Barbara at the time.

Jack beck


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 11:59 PM

WHITE BIRD LYRICS
I have been fascinated by White Bird by Mike Heron on Changing Horses because it sounds to me like an account of true religious experience with a mystical death. So much fascinated that I have got all the words sorted out except one.
And feels his heart sucked to his hizurvd
Sucked to his what? It sounds like hizurvd.
And feels his heart sucked to his served is possible but it doesn't make sense.
The sucked to his head version at http://isb.bakkevold.com and at http://www.lyrics007.com is obviously wrong because it doesn't even rhyme.

Are the Lyrics on the original record sleve? I know Creation was, but White Bird's words are not on the CD sleve. Could somebody have a look for that precious word for me?
I hear that in beGlad-The Anthology Mike Heron talks about White Bird being from an obscure Pakistani or Indian film alluding to Lata Mangeshkars breakthrough.

Are the lyrics in the book Gently Tender by Ken Brooks?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
White Bird
By Mike Heron

Who among you, who has not laid his head
beneath some holy awning,
would think that such a night of tortured travelling
could bring such a glory morning?

And feel his heart sucked to his .............
His head so wide that all life serves
as room to live, and breathe, and have its being
and more, for such a scene of beauty.
For such a scene of beauty.
Encompassers
see the white bird
on the water
In beauty calm and still

White bird, white bird, white bird
of the morning.
White bird, white bird.

See he watches the white bird of the morning.
White bird, white bird.

Warm in his ecstasy
a shimmering gentle backward fall
He leaves his body there so small and mirror black against the sun
with deities for strength.
He sees his body wracked with pain
and hears his voice so stained with sadness deep
it asks the day to weep away

Loved her so strong now
she is gone.
My heart will break for ever

Sun and moon change around me
The games seem so strange
Walk in the light I shall never.
Walk in the light I will never.
White bird, white bird, white bird
of the morning.
White bird, white bird,

Oh speak to me with your beauty
Oh white bird of the morning
Oh he cried. Oh he cried,
but stopped short,
seeing not water but ice
death not life.
Dead white bird. Dead white bird.

Walking onward every day
Sunshine in our faces
Sun knows what grows on below
But still our faces graces
No disgraces
No distastes
Nothing wasted at all.

White bird, white bird, white bird
Of the morning
White bird, white bird

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 02:41 AM

I have always heard it as 'head'.........


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Richard Brandenburg
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 02:56 AM

How fine, adding to a thread from seven years ago; it seems just right, when I can hear the woman's voice, 36 years later.

"Amoebas are very small..."

This was the music we would put on when winding deeper into a night of tripping, when we finished running around the campus in the Missouri fall air. Taj Mahal, John Fahey, The Kweskin Jug Band, Hot Tuna, the Dead's "American Beauty", Fairport's "Leige & Lief", were all perfect earlier in the evening, when we were getting off, and heading into the night.

But we'd return to the dorm, (more than once from the astonishing illuminated William Blake edition at Lindenwood's library, which we could take from the stacks and open out on the table before us). We'd light candles, and know when it was time to put "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" onto the record player. The Incredible String Band, with their free sense of time, was the aural environment for opening to one another on a cellular level, which I am blessed to recall was the point of swallowing acid in the first place.

I can imagine how difficult it might be for someone today to "get" what the Incredible String Band might have meant to someone back then, with that sort of context of introduction; in my case, freshly away from home, opening out and inwardly, with like-minded musician friends - and feeling that Heron and Williamson were just friends we hadn't yet met. Drugs weren't strictly necessary to enjoy them, but our briefly benign world of psychedelics was profoundly enhanced by their music.

Thanks to Butterfly for her lovely post, three years ago, and the other posters who helped me refire some glorious synapses, tonight.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 06:18 AM

Magic, indeed...the most potent ever made, of its type.

To some extent, for those who don't get the Incredibles, you had to be there. They were (and still are, on record, for those who make the connection back into the mists of time) extraordinarily in the spirit of the mystical-magical 60s.

Their unfocused, wayward sound on many pieces was the epitome of the era's exploratory, adventurous, improvisatory approach to life. That approach came a cropper sometimes, but also produced miracles. Safer, sounder approaches reach neither extreme.

Amba and I saw the ISB in concert in Boston sometime in,I think, '68. Mike, Robin, Rose and Likky wandering about the instrument-and-fabric-littered stage, picking up this or that oud or kantele or sitar...making soaring music. Tim Buckley opened for them, a difficult artist capable of magic himself, but also capable of bombast. Of course the theater was choking with fragrant smoke... We came out into the night street addled with delight. The records barely capture what was a total life experience. We feel lucky to have been there. But it was not anything anyone today would recognize as a concert. "Love-fests" are very out of fashion nowadays, aren't they.

The "60s" ( = roughly '67-73 in mood and spirit) have been roundly damned by those with political antiagendas. But they were a new dawn, and for those of us lucky enough to sense it, the dawn keeps on dawning toward revelation (caveat: that has nothing to do with the standard meaning of the term). Nobody expressed that sense of wonder as well as the Incredible String Band.

Trivia note, I remember seeing an article on Arlo Guthrie as just a kid, Woody's boy, long before he ever recorded. He was quoted as saying the Incredible String Band were among his favorite listens at the time. No clue if they still are. But they still are for me. Their sounds grow and change and wreathe and twist with the passing years into new radiances forever.

Glad to see quoted the refrain to Mike's wonderful Hedghog...an anthem for us all.

They are not just part of Amba's and my lives. They helped create it.   In tribute... Bob.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 07:26 AM

Send me a PM if you want anything out of the First Song Book (1st Edition) - Bought it more than thirty years ago !!


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 08:00 AM

Ok, I will. Oh, 99 by the way.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Hedgehog
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 10:47 AM

GREAT


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: woodsie
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 03:11 PM

I have recently purchased 2 double CDs at very reasonable prices from amazon 5000 spirits/hangmans beautiful & wee tam/big Huge. All four albums are now copied to my IPOD. I am seen walking around London with a smile on my face listening to this wonderful music. Great stuff!


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Ragman
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 07:46 PM

Can't believe that after all this time, no one has mentioned "The First Girl I Loved", and only one comment about "Good As Gone".

Good as Gone to me sums up the way Robin was in the early 60s. In the album notes, Mike talks about how Robin sometimes just seemed to need to "get on the road" and get away from everything for a while.


Good As Gone - Robin Williamson

A strange thought just crossed my mind
Paid the rains back in kind
Was the thought of sweet May coming on...
The days are running so slow
My heart is aching to go
And my feet surely itch for the road...

Oh now, the long, hot summer
Mm mm mm, the summer long

I have been tied to this land
Since the days I was planned
By the need to feed my body and my soul...
Look you can work to your grave
Waste your whole life away
What security then do you find...

Oh now, the long, hot summer
Mm mm mm, the summer long

I don't have no one to beat
Don't have no one to cheat
No I just need some room to uncurl...
I don't have no aim in view
Just some things to pursue
As I wallow around in the world...


Things I must do...
Places to see...
Things I must do
Now there's nothing left
To hold me here...
And I'll take the Southward road...


The first time I heard The First Girl I Loved was in the Folk Centre in a folk club in the upstairs flat of a condemned tenement building in Montrose Street in Glasgow, probably in late 1966, or early 1977. Robin started to play, and all the guitarists, or those who thought themselves to be so (including me), leaned forward to try to see what on earth he was doing. Robin turned sideways whenever he began those fantastic riffs in open G. We argued about how to play this for years after. The song was so powerful, and the guitar accompaniment was so different, and delivered with such authority, that like one of the previous writers, I still have goosebumps thinking about the event.

I was 18 at the time. I desperately wanted to sing that song in public, but never found the courage until 2002, because I was terrified to make a mess of it, so powerful and beautiful I felt it was.

Strangely, in more than 30 years this song seems to have been seldom sung and recorded by others, possibly because like me, it simply blows away the listener, and poses a real challenge for the imitator.

I play it in open G. (I still have arguments with my brother-in-law about how it is played, but I think I have just about got it now!)


The First Girk I Loved - Robin Williamson

The first girl I loved
Time has come I will sing you this sad goodbye song
When I was seventeen
I used to know you
I haven't seen you now since many short years
And the last time I'd seen you you'd joined the Church Of Jesus
But me, I remember your long red hair
Falling in our faces as I kissed you.

Well I want you to know, we just had to grow
I want you to know, I just had to go.

And you're probably married now
House and car and all
And you'll have turned into
A grown up female stranger
If I was lying near you now
I wouldn't be here at all.

Well we parted so hard
Me rushing round Britain with a guitar
Making love to people
That I didn't even like to see
Well I would think of you
Yes I mean in the sick sad mornings
And in the lonely midnights
Try to hold your face before me.

Well I want you to know, we just had to grow
I want you to know, I just had to go.

And you're probably married now
Kids and all
And you'll have turned into
A grown up female stranger
And If I was lying near you now
I'd just have to fall.

Well I never slept with you
Though we must have made love a thousand times
We were just young
Didn't have no place to go
But in the wide hill
And beside many a long water
You have gathered flowers
And they do not smell for me.

Well I want you to know, we just had to grow
I want you to know, I just had to go.

So it's goodbye, first love
And I hope you're fine
Well I have this sweet woman
Maybe someday to have babies by me
She is pretty
And a true friend of mine.

To finish this note off I must point out that I haven't forgotten Mike Heron either. I still sing his "Can't Keep Me Here". It simply hasn't dated. I loved Mike's quirky guitar playing and gentle lyrics.

I think the ISB were at their best from 1965 until about 1971. Their style was different, their early songs seemed to me to make very meaningful observations, and many still do even 40 years on. I don't think they were the same after Woodstock, where they simply weren't understood, and the setting wasn't right for their songs. It seemed to me that almost as a reaction to Woodstock, they became more and more mystical and strange, and I personally didn't understand them anymore. Maybe I was changing too, thinking about marriage and settling down etc. I just moved away from that scene. Throughout the years however I have come across many people who remember ISB when they first appeared on the scene. Many a long conversation followed...

"But hey, you young people,
I just do not know
I can't even understand you
When you try to talk slow....

That was way, way, back before World War Three
When England went missing,
And we moved to Paruguay-e-e-e-e"

From "Back in the 1960s" - ISB first album 1965

Keep this thread going, please...


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Margaret V
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 11:21 PM

White Bird Guest,

I just dug out my vinyl and have the words from the inside cover of Changing Horses. I don't have a turntable now so I can't listen and see if what he's singing is the same as what's written, but assuming it is, the words are:

And feel his heart sucked to his head
His head so wide that all life says
Has room to live and breathe and have its being--and more
For such a scene of beauty encompasses

Margaret


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,chinaman
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 09:48 AM

Good Band man.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 10:32 AM

I didn't discover them until quite recently - around 2 years ago. I saw them in Brighton while I was there at a trade show (boring computer stuff!) and they bowled me over. Been hooked ever since. I knew the new fiddler (Fluff) from a couple of visits I made to Keele uni folk club when Gnomeson #1 was there. I knew she was destined for big things:-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,DG
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 10:38 AM

I saw Robin Williamson on harp last night with John Renbourn. They were both in good spirits and it certainly made me want to listen to some of the Incredible String Band stuff, which I intend to do when I get chance.
During the course of the gig Robin played harp, fiddle, mandolin and flute- he is a really talented guy... The fiddle especially was brilliant with Renbourn on guitar duties.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,William Pint
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 01:55 PM

How wonderful to see such a huge response to this thread.

I was turned on to the ISB around 1970 and the experience changed my entire world.
While it was Mike Heron's songs that first grabbed me, I came to appreciate Robin's meandering singing and his spacey songs even more as years went by.

I had the chance to see them perform in Chicago (a club called the Quiet Knight) around 1972 or so. What struck me most was standing in line for hours and discovering that all of us in line were "String Band People". It was nothing like standing in any other concert line -- we were all so similar in attitude, interests, politics -- any topic that came up. By the time we got through the doors, we were all best of friends, sharing food, jokes, anecdotes. An amazing experience.

The band I was in at the time -- a Milwaukee folk group called Silmaril -- was so very influenced by the ISB. (By the way -- if there's anyonbe who remembers that band -- the Silmaril LP (Given Time or the Several Roads) is actually being re-released by a Midwest label that found it in a used record bin.

I doubt that I'd be playing folk music now, if it hadn't been for ISB and a few others.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Bloke in the Corner
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 11:15 AM

God bless the ISB, they were THE definitive group for my years at Cardiff Uni, 1967 -70. I just have to read the lyrics of 'first girl I loved' and it all comes flooding back.... shiver, shiver...


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,davidkiddnet
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 12:16 PM

String band Guitar Tunings
EADGBE
DADGBE
CFCFCF
EEBEBE
DGDGBD
And they often used slack strings with capos


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 06:15 PM

Welcome aboard William (Pint)! Felicia too?? Wouldn't be surprised, I wonder...
Didn't get the chance to chat to you at Birdsedge but said hi to Felicia briefly.
As R says, constant in String... be glad, for the song has no ending.
MM


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 03:30 AM

Many groups cite the ISB's influence, including the Beatles. They were so very original (and talented) in an era rife with originality.

I saw/heard the ISB play in the late sixties, when it consisted of Robin, Mike, Rose and Licorice. I remember that they politely refused to play requests from the audience, explaining that they wanted to present some new songs. I loved the wide range of their material, from the mystical "Dust Be Diamonds" and "A Very Cellular Song," to goofy romps, such as "The Minotaur Song" and "Big Ted," to love songs like "Gently Tender," "The First Girl I Loved" and the wistful "Hedgehog Song."

"May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the clear light within you guide your way home." What a lovely blessing!

Elmer


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,davidkiddnet
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 01:04 PM

It is a lovely blessing because the incrdible s String Band was a form of religion.

What is the title of that song? "May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the clear light within you guide your way home."


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 01:09 PM

A Very Cellular Song.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,davidkiddnet
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 03:09 PM

I just wanted to look up the tune. Someone on Mudcat sent me a xerox of a Music Sales Corporation book that has that as:

[G]May the long time [C]sun shine upon
[D]you. All love [G]surround you.
[G]And the pure light [C]within you
[D]Guide you all the way [G]on."

But I always sang "your way home" too. It seems that transcriptions of songs vary according to the listener. I heard a story of a fan asking some rock singer what his words said and the singer replied "what would you like them to say?"


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 05:45 PM

Ah. Your version of the lyrics are most probably correct. I was always just singing along with what I thought I heard on the LP. So are urban legends made, even with the ISB, apparently!

E.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 01 May 06 - 12:02 PM

The Tree
by Mike Heron

TUNING: Open G   D G D G B D

To play with record Capo II and play chords in parenthesis

A(G)             D(C)                                                         A(G)
I had a Tree,    in the dream hills where my childhood lay.

And I'd go there in the wide, long days,
D(C)                                                         A(G)
       And my Tree would listen to all that I'd say.

E(D)                         A(G)
    And the sun was shining brightly,
E(D)                  A(G)
and the sky was smiling,
E(D)                   A(G)            
and the sun was shining brightly,
E(D)                  A(G)
and the sky was smiling.

This is from http://www.angelfire.com/biz3/ISB/ISB4.html but he only has one verse

From my memory the rest of the words are something like this:


2. Then one day when the world had got me in its tomb
and my mind was just an empty room
And I would stand there in my gloom
and the light was fading dimly and the sky was crying

3. Then my tree bent its branches low down to the ground.
and the green leaves shrouded up my mind
and I felt I'd left something behind...

and I cant remember any more except it ends happily


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 01 May 06 - 01:39 PM

The Tree
by Mike Heron

I had a Tree, in the dream hills where my childhood lay.
and I'd go there in the wide, long days,
and my Tree would listen to all that I'd say.
and the sun was shining brightly, and the sky was smiling,
and the sun was shining brightly, and the sky was smiling.

Then one day when the world had put me in its tomb,
and my life was just an empty room,
I went to my tree and sat there in my gloom,
and the light was fading dimly, and the sky was crying,
and the light was fading dimly, and the sky was crying.

Then my tree bent its branches low down to the ground,
and its green leaves shrouded up my mind,
and I left the world somewhere behind,
and I did not know what I would find,
but the sun was shining brightly, and the sky was smiling,
Oh the sun was shining brightly, and the sky was smiling.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Ragman
Date: 02 May 06 - 08:10 AM

William Pint wrote on 27 Apr 06:

"The band I was in at the time -- a Milwaukee folk group called Silmaril -- was so very influenced by the ISB..."

A shameless plug for your band and album, but it makes me wonder how many ISB fans are also Tolkien anoraks...   I am!

Apologies for going off the thread soewhat, but maybe this is partly due to the influence the ISB had on me in my formative years...


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST
Date: 16 May 06 - 07:43 AM

A FEW RANDOM COMMENTS

"Thanks to Butterfly for HER lovely post, three years ago, and the other posters who helped me refire some glorious synapses, tonight."

Ahem, I am not now or have I ever been a member of the female sex; I just posted as "Butterfly" in the past as Butterfly spotting is a hobby of mine! Perhaps I should have thrown in a few references to Football or Beer (though with the rise of the "Ladette" I suppose that is not much help these days) to remove any doubt about my gender.

I always thought the lyrics of "White Bird" included "And feel his heart sucked to his HEAD
His head so wide that all life serves (or possibly "says")
Has room to live, and breathe, and have its being.."

I am sure the ISB wouldn't have worried about the odd bit that doesn't rhyme in those days.

Such a pity that since they reformed a few years ago with the original 3 personnel, they split up again not long afterwards. I have a CD with just Clive Palmer and Mike Heron on it, but sadly when they do songs on which Robin Williamson was the original singer, some of the excitement is lacking.

I would recommend all the ISB LPs except "No Ruinous Feud", but though The Hangmans Beautiful Daughter seems to be the overall favourite, I preferred Wee Tam and the Big Huge (but then I prefer Abbey Road to Sergeant Pepper).

"First GIRK I Loved" - typo or Mondegreen (presumably the former; on the other hand possibly a variation song by Mrs. Bill Gates ("First Geek I Loved")? Funny this is not one of my favourites (October Song if you are interested, not just because I was born in October - I first heard it in February 1973).


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 16 May 06 - 04:30 PM

So, I now have the first 5 albums. What do you recommend next?

They've got a CD called The Chelsea Sessions. Any good?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 06 - 01:52 PM

Aye!


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: Scotus
Date: 17 May 06 - 10:05 PM

Oh, Oh -

Hearing Robin and Clive in Kirkcaldy around 1964 (Mike was in a rock band then!) - even earlier, Robin and Clive at Dunfermline Howff waiting until the end of the night to play after most people had gone (too nervous).

Later at the Crown pub in Edinburgh - they had been joined by Mike. Then Clive started the Folk Club in Glasgow (was it Sauchiehall Street?). Oh, Oh!!

Then later, after he'd left the group, Clive driving down the main street in Comrie (Perthshire) in a white mini-moke.

By then the others had been helicoptered into Woodstock - the rest is history.

I've always loved them - and my favourite is 'Chinese white'.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Scotch Pussy
Date: 19 May 06 - 11:38 AM

Aye


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 05:58 AM

I consider that "my work here is done" in the classic B-movie phrase.

Please now close his thread?


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 09:57 AM

But before any such closing, could anyone please suggest chords for "Empty Pocket Blues" and/or "Good Dog"?

I have the lyrics. I know ISB used other than standard tunings and such (I'm a beginner guitarist, everything is non-standard!) but I'd really like to play these songs someday.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 10:03 AM

No.

You must now start a new thread for each of these requests - with a thread title that makes it clear what exactly you are asking for - otherwise you will be punished.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 10:46 AM

Empty Pocket Blues, Clive Palmer's adaptation of Teapot Blues by Brian Kennedy (words by Wizz Jones). I think Clive and Wizz still disagree over whose tune it actually is. I think you start off in A and progress from C to A flat but I haven't actually listened to it for nigh on 40 years.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 10:57 AM

http://cgi.ebay.com/INCREDIBLE-STRING-BAND-FIRST-SONGBOOK-1969_W0QQitemZ7415490372QQihZ016QQcategoryZ38104QQcmdZViewItem


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 11:40 AM

Thank you Shambles (eep!) and Countess.

I was used to forums where creating yet more topics is a bit frowned on, especially if you are new.

E-bay, however.... rural dialup + old computer + loading any E-bay page = freeze/crash/meltdown.

Knowing such a thing exists, though, means the next city trip can include second hand bookstores.
    Shambles is wrong. Generally, we try to encourage people to ADD to existing threads, and start new topics only when they have a new subject to talk about.
    -Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 01:23 PM

Shambles is wrong. Generally, we try to encourage people to ADD to existing threads, and start new topics only when they have a new subject to talk about.
-Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


Generally this undefined 'WE' can't stop themselves at the slightest excuse to close threads and prevent other posters from posting what and where they may wish to.

In line with current policy and practice can you please respect the thread originator's wishes and now close this thread?
    Sorry, friends. Roger has been out of sorts today. Please ignore him and go on with the discussion.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: woodsie
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 03:43 PM

As somebody who has only recently (re)discovered ISB I have enjoyed this thread and would like to see it alive for a bit more!


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 06:45 PM

................And of course see them in Birmingham (UK) at the Moseley Folk Festival 2&3rd September along with Pentangle, Renbourn, Lakeman, Gibbons , Harper et al.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,BigTed
Date: 15 Jul 06 - 09:03 AM

.......And, if you ever get the chance to see Robin Williamson doing one of his rare solo shows - GO!!
I saw him in a little church on the border between Austria and Czechoslovakia (or what its called now...) recently and he was magnificent!


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Subject: Hopeful
From: GUEST,moose jaw
Date: 28 Mar 13 - 09:04 PM

Could any of you post the chords to ducks on a pond? That is pretty much my favorite song ever.

Thank in advance


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 05:19 AM

ISB on Youtube- all sorts of interesting stuff old and new, including a tv (BBC?) documentary.

Whilst a lot of their texts are obtuse, the tunes often have earworm quality. I just read the posting with the text to "White bird" and I found I was singing the refrain- I haven't head the song for years!

As I recall it, "Wee Tam....." was originally issued as a double LP and was then split into single LPs in an effort to improve sales.


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Subject: RE: Incredible String Band: An Appreciation.
From: GUEST,moose jaw
Date: 05 May 13 - 12:22 AM

Could anyone post the chords to ducks on a pond? I would be forever in your debt.


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