The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Incredble String Band

Samples have been removed but should return after 6/8

An audio sampler track is playing when you open this post-- If it really annoys you, then pause the player at the end of the post.  However, if you are musically open-minded and adventurous then enjoy the music.


           The origins of the Country Music genre are deeply rooted in the traditional music of England, Scotland, and Ireland.  The music of these backgrounds was carried to the United States by the immigrants who were settling during the formative years of this country.

          Today I would like to focus on the music of The Incredible String Band (ISB).  ISB's album THE HANGMAN'S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER made my list of FIFTEEN FANTASY ISLAND FAVORITES and if my albums came down to five favorites this ISB album would be one of them.  Here is what I initially had to say about this album:


The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1968) The Incredible String Band -- In 1969 I was first attracted to this because of all the different musical instruments that the band members played. But when I listened to the album I did not like it very much. It sounded so weird, so alien from anything I had ever listened to before. Then I listened to it again, and then again, and then again and again, and I began to really fall in love with the intricate music and magical lyrics. The music weaves elements of old English and Irish traditional styles with Indian and other ethnic styles with a rock and blues sensibility. I'd take any one of ISB's albums, but this one is my favorite. This is music that is spell-binding and I never have gotten tired of listening to it.


            The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter was the third ISB album and met with very broad positive acclaim from critics and musicians alike.  The first two albums had been very well received, but Hangman's Beautiful Daughter is the apex of ISB's career. 

            The core musicians of ISB are Robin Williamson, who came from a folk and traditional Celtic musical background, and Mike Heron, who was primarily from a rock and roll background.  The rest of the musical accomplices are like some sort of hippie communal collective, and often that's what they were.  ISB was a true band of the sixties, with music sometimes so roughshod sounding on the surface that at times it almost sounded like a bunch of flower children high on something.  As you listen closer you can begin to realize the intricacy and skill of the craft of songwriting and performance.

              Although the songs are all written by the band members, they often sound very timeless and traditional.  Listening to ISB, one can almost imagine ancient folk music that is the root music of today's folk and country.  Even listening now forty years later, the music does not sound particularly dated like other music of that time because the music of ISB was not conforming to the sound of that time, but creating a unique sound of their own.

             As is often the case with musical collaborations, frictions of personalities and divergences of musical tastes, eventually led to the parting of ways of Williamson and Heron and they went on to solo careers.  In the nineties and into the first decade of the next century they reunited with mixed results for a series of concerts.  Among all of the members of ISB, a legacy of often interesting recorded music has been left for the enjoyment and curiosity of future generations. 


        In 1970, ISB put out what in some ways was their most ambitious undertaking-- the album titled U.   This was intended to be a theatrical musical stage production.  After a short run in England and an even shorter run in the United States, the production was canned.  This album contains some of their most bizarre work ever. After several listenings this album has grown on me and has some of my favorite songs.  I have put a few of these songs on the playlist which accompanies this post.  "The Juggler's Song" (how could I not use that one) and "Bridge Song" are two favorites from U.  Then there is "The Queen of Love", which to my taste if I were compiling a list of my favorite beautiful songs, this would probably have to be one of them.  The lyrics are sheer poetry and the orchestration almost gives it a feel of a classical art song. 

            Is this band new to you?  If you listened to the samples, did you like them?   What influences do you hear in this music?
.

8 comments:

  1. I had never heard of them but on hearing them I think they are good.
    Thought they were somewhat different but in a pleasant way,
    Loved the write you gave about them.Very interesting.

    Have a good day it's poring with rain here.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  2. sounds good. never heard of them till now. I am doing a meme called you town tuesday it's up till next tuesday when I do it all again... so if you have time and want to write a little and link up on my blog,, I would love that...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Never heard of this band. Thanks for broadening my horizons Arlee.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lee, I learned something new today. I've never heard of "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" band. And your introduction about the origins of the Country Music genre are deeply rooted in the traditional music of England, Scotland, and Ireland was new to me. Thanks for being my teacher today, Ron

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yvonne --- Thought you might had heard of them since they were somewhat popular in England. But I guess their's was more counterculture music. Wish you could send some of that rain to Los Angeles--we can always use it.

    Lisa-- I don't take many pictures so I don't know if I have anything to contribute. I did like yours and Ellie's.

    Matthew and Ron -- I'm trying to educate people about some of the music that I've learned to like. Glad to have added a little something to your knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much for promoting The Movie Dirty Dozen!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This group was totally new to me. I did listen to most of the selections. I liked them, but I am not sure I would purchase them.

    I am trying to be transparent here and yet not sound so one dimensional, though maybe I am.

    When I want to hear a song, I want to turn it up and hear a steel guitar whine in a haunting chiling fashion with a back fiddle and honky tonk piano with solid drums.

    I liked the slections but on a desert Island with limited choices I would have to have George Jones, Hargus "Pig" Robbins on piano.

    Thank God I love CCR, Elvis, and a few others or I would be one dimensional.

    By the way, thanks for your comment on today's post - I gave an answer if you have time to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yikes! Looking at these album covers is bringing back flashbacks. The colors. The colors. Think I'll lay down and enjoy the show.

    Stephen Tremp

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee