The Incredible String Band: an appreciation

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Incredible String Band can be seen as the ultimate hippie band of the 1960s, with their long hair, flowery clothes, whimsical mysticism, and fanciful music. But time has also proven that their inventive music and quirky virtuosity remain fresh, surprising, and ear-opening--maybe even mind-expanding! The unusual songs of Robin Williamson and Mike Heron may be a product of their time, but their spirit of daring and playfulness make them timeless. Host David Garland offers a range of the Incredible String Band's wonderful work, including a song recorded during their 2004 Spinning On Air session.

Hear The Incredible String Band on Spinning On Air in 2004

Comments [7]

Ann Ryan from Long Beach , NY

Thank you thank you thank you. I sang along with all those wonderful songs, words magically coming back to me and was transported back to a more innocent time. I agree with David Garland that the music has not aged and I could quite imagine hearing it today for the first time and being captivated by it all over again. Such sweet delight in being alive! To be young was very heaven!

Aug. 04 2008 04:53 PM
Ben from New York

Thanks for playing this. I'm 27 and I've never heard of the Incredible String Band before. It's really great stuff. I was captivated by it. I tuned in while driving and when I arrived home I just sit there listening in my drive way (don't worry, I turned the engine off...)Great stuff. I'm definately going to get there stuff to listen to. I wish there was more creative music like this made by people in my generation, instead of what they make now which seems to be just borrowing from stuff like this.

Aug. 04 2008 01:23 PM
Jay Johnson from Brooklyn

Thank you for airing the ISB again. I loved their music way "back in the 1960's" and still do, and hope new listeners are charmed by hearing it on your show and check it out. Is it too much to hope that they may tour on this side of the water again?

One aspect of their music that I don't recall your mentioning is how they fused the folk music revival with an awareness of world musics to make something completely new yet drawing on ancient roots. I liked how you then played the Joseph Spence/Pindar family "I Bid You Good Night" and went on to Pieces of Africa, a completely appropriate sequel to the ISB.


Aug. 04 2008 10:50 AM
Andrew Holliday from Brooklyn

Once again I am so thankful for Public Radio and so proud that my wife and I are members.
I am a British child of the 60's (until moving to NYC at age 21) and had the pleasure of attending
two Incredible String Band concerts back in "the day".
I have moved with the times but still (particularly in these troubled times) yearn for the unity, values and optimism of those years.
The pleasure of sharing this music, and the memories that it revived, with my wife made for a wonderful evening.

Thank you

Aug. 03 2008 09:44 PM

This made my evening, and possibly my week. Thanks.

Aug. 03 2008 08:14 PM
David Garland from WNYC studio

Here's tonight's playlist. All songs are composed by either Mike Heron or Robin Williamson, and are performed by The Incredible String Band. This list shows the song, and the album it comes from.

Painting Box – The 5000 Spirits or Layers of the Onion

Job’s Tears – Wee Tam and The Big Huge

The Hedgehog’s Song – The 5000 Spirits or Layers of the Onion

The Water Song – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter

Mercy I Cry City – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter

Air – Wee Tam and The Big Huge

Invocation – U

First Girl I Loved – The 5000 Spirits or Layers of the Onion

Way Back In the 1960s – The 5000 Spirits or Layers of the Onion

A Very Cellular Song – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter

This Moment – recorded for Spinning On Air in 2004

Aug. 03 2008 08:11 PM
John Otterness from San Pedro, CA

Great to hear the music again - back in the 70's I had painted on the valences over the windows this quote from one of their songs " May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the ....." At least I think those were most of the words. Those were hopeful times.
This and Buffy St. Marie "magic is afoot" remain as guideposts.


Aug. 03 2008 07:16 PM

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